Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nectar feeding in December

Screeches from Rainbow Lorikeets alerted me to the stunning flowers of Mango Pine, Barringtonia calyptrata, as I walked around the Australian Plant Communities this month. The flowers hang in large shaggy cream tendrils, which the birds gradually worked their way down. I had to marvel at the wonderful synergy in green between feather and leaf.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Seeding in December

Snow Wood Pararchidendron pruinosum

Cassia sp.
Robert's Tuckeroo Rhysotoechia robertsonii
These plants flowered over the last couple of months and now have wonderful displays of seed pods. These capsules of new life vary as wonderfully as the flowers do. It continues to amaze me how nature packages life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Flowering in the APC

Salmon Bean Archidendron vaillantii

Freshwater Mangrove Barringtonia acutangula

Syzygium tierneyanum

Homalium circumpinnatum
It didn't take me long to head back to the Australian Plant Communities at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha. Although my residency is finished there now, I plan to continue recording observations from my walks over the next few months to have a full year record of the seasonal changes and plant highlights. I enjoyed the walk so much I wondered if I would ever stop going.
There are many plants in flower this month, just a selection above. The continuing dry spell is making it tough for some plants, others seem to revel in it. I saw several plants that were in flower a couple of months ago, now full of seed pods. I plan to post some images of individual plant species showing their cycle of change throughout a year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Redlands Indigiscapes Centre Bushland

I visited Indigiscapes at Capalaba today to see the bushland area that surrounds its visitor centre and native plant nursery. It was a grey and overcast day, but I found this drew my eye to the textural qualities of vegetation. There are walks on either side of a lagoon that forms part of Coolnwynpin Creek. As you can see from the images above, vegetation is varied in a relatively small area. Giant scribbly gums with recently peeled bark give a warm golden hue to an otherwise subtle grey-green palette. This subtle background is punctuated with details in knobbly textured bark, dark seed cones and dense leaf and bark litter. I observed water dragons, moor hens, butterflies and birds within the reserve. On sections of the walks nearby housing that surrounds the bush area becomes visible. I enjoy seeing these pockets of natural habitat that sit within suburban surrounds.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Venman Bushland National Park

Notes from my site visit to Venman Bushland National Park, West Mount Cotton Road, Redland; in October 2009.

"The first thing I noticed when I stepped out of the car was the distinctive smell. A delightful warm aroma of eucalyptus leaves and dry earthy smell, that tells you, you are outdoors in the Australian bush. I headed along part of Tingalpa Creek circuit. Many trees are sprouting new growth, lush green foliage sparkles in the sunlight. It is interesting to see how quickly the 'view' of the landscape alters with every few steps on the track. A constant new perspective emerges as foreground, middle ground and distant elements layer and alter with each step presenting a fresh panorama. Wonderful bark diversity - spotted gums, casuarinas, wattles, others in ribbons, flaking and discarding.

Towards the creek some paperbarks appear, beautiful pale pealing layers on trunks. The water is still, a deep silent pool in the landscape. Lush green undergrowth grows along the edges - bracken, lomandra, dianella and other grasses. The underlayers throughout the track are quite a feature. Grasses of various species, some in open patches, others amongst dense tree trunks. Others flattened by wind, rain and native animals, flop in clumps upon itself. More with dry upright seed stems blow in a gentle breeze.

I feel a warm happiness each time I spot a really large tree amongst the bush. They are often broken from years of storm and fire; top missing with giant hollows flowing through their trunks. Everything has a place in the cycle of life in this environment. Several trees have the mark of death; fungi steps up the branches and tree trunks signify that life has passed on and a new phase of decomposition and rebirth is beginning. The Australian bush holds many treasures, for me it is often the textures and subtle shades combined with punctuation marks of highlight that give it a special beauty of its own."

What next?

As one project draws to an end another begins.

I have started work on a new phase of my Greenbelt Project. For the next six months I will focus on the biodiversity values of natural heritage sites in Redland City.

In exploring the vital role plants play as the foundation of life, I am interested in attributing a sense of valuing in my representations of vegetation. Works reject any thoughts of a monotonous view implied at times by the term 'bush' in Australia. Each site is unique; I seek out the beauty, intricate detail, unique qualities, textures and colours that characterise and identify each environment. Nothing is superfluous in nature; every species has a role to play in an interconnected web of life.

What role do people play in shaping habitat? How do we find balance between conservation and development to maintain biodiversity values?

If you have any thoughts on this I would love to see your comments. Thank you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Flowering in December

With the residency exhibition finishing on Sunday, my time as Artist-in-Residence at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens is now complete. I have decided to continue recording seasonal highlights on monthly walks in the Australian Plant Communities area during December, January and February. With my residency beginning in March this year I missed the three months of Summer and would like to have a full year of records to reference. It will be a nice way to continue visiting the gardens over the next couple of months.
I only had a short time today to visit the subtropical area. Two plants are standing out strongly at the moment with wonderful flowers - The Lacebark, at top, and Flame Tree below.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thank you

'Mimosaceae Family Traits' 2009. Nicola Moss.

'No Two Days are the Same - Araliaceae Family Traits' ©2009. Nicola Moss.

Botanica opened on Thursday night, showing works developed from my nine month residency at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt. Coot-tha. I would like to send a huge Thank you to all my friends who were able to attend the exhibition opening and to many unable to make it who sent me messages of support and best wishes. THANK YOU.
A big Thank you to Margot MacManus, Visitor Services Officer at the gardens, who kindly spoke at the opening about the residency and my involvement at the gardens. The residency has been a wonderful opportunity to develop my arts practice through focused observation and skills development.
Thank you to all the staff, volunteer guides, education officers and gardeners who made me feel so welcome at the gardens and enthusiastically shared their knowledge of the wonderful world of plants.