Sunday, February 28, 2010

Archidendron lucyi - Salmon Bean

Flowering in December

Seed pod formed in January

Split seed pod in April

Salmon Bean forms a striking display of flowers and seed pods that emerge on short stalks directly from the tree trunk. For the remainder of the year you can enjoy the canopy of large glossy green leaves.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seed Collection - Redlands

Today I joined a volunteer seed collection group for the Redlands Community Bushcare Program. We met at Days Road Conservation Reserve an area of open eucalypt forest rich in diversity. Eucalyptus seed was our main target for the morning, which meant we got to see the large string sling shot put into action.
The sling shot being prepared.

Angophora seed, one of the species being collected.

There is a vast reserve of knowledge held within the members of a group like this, botanical names are passed around, reference pages and books consulted until the species is clearly identified.

Identification and collection.

A tiny ground lichen with bright red bracts.

The reserve has a large range of ground covers, grasses and native herbaceous plants. I must admit I tend to overlook many of these small ground hugging plants, mainly because I know so little about them. Today was great with many identified by members of the group, one of the benefits of exploring an area with so many active eyes; characteristics such as scent, petal formation and leaf structure were discussed. Towards the end of the walk we passed through an area densely occupied with grass trees. Towering spikes of mature seed were collected and with reference to the book, Mangroves to Mountains, and some analysis of cut leaf profile, a couple of different species were identified.
I am loving these site visits, particularly in the company of bushcare groups where knowledge is shared freely and willingly. Thanks for a great morning.
Beautiful grass trees at Days Road Conservation Reserve.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fitzroy Falls - Morton National Park

In January I visited a friend and colleague, Susan Buret, at her home in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. We worked on a collaborative video project but we also had some time to visit a couple of National Park sites in the surrounding area. The highlands are an area of striking landscape, a mix of mist shrowded rolling green farmland hills and little villages close to large areas of National Parks and reserves. Knowing my love of native flora, Susan kindly took me for a slow drive in one park where we saw what looked like ancient Banksias with gnarled moss laden bark, vibrant wildflowers and the skeletal remains of a wombat.

The next day we took a walk along the escarpment edge of Fitzroy Falls pictured above. Again we saw some amazing wildflowers, banksia and a male lyre bird doing his song and feather display dance. It is difficult to show in just a few images the amazing diversity of flora and fauna in this area. I hope to return in the not too distant future to spend more time exploring this wonderful region.

Acacia elata

Banksia spinulosa

Lambertia formosa Mountain Devil

tiny native orchid spotted by Susan.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Blue Quandong - Elaeocarpus grandis

Flowers forming - February.


Fruit formed and ripening - September.

The electric blue shades of fallen ripe fruit with knobbly seed inside - October.
The Blue Quandong, Elaeocarpus grandis, was one of the first trees I began recognising in the canopies of the Australian Plant Communities at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha. Through out the year whole branches of leaves will turn scarlet red and fall to the ground. Finding these red leaves on paths was a good indication of a Blue Quandong being nearby. In February/March small sprigs of cream flowers develop and slowly drop their petals carpeting areas below in confetti like showers. Later in September the fruit/seed has developed and by October creates vibrant drifts of fallen seed on the ground. These large trees have wonderful wide shady canopies and running truss roots. If you have a garden large enough it makes a very striking feature tree all year round.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fodder Forest - Redlands

On Sunday I joined a group of volunteers at Victoria Point Fodder Forest. The group meets once a month to work on maintaining a eucalyptus plantation used by wildlife carers to collect fodder for injured and orphaned wildlife. For a couple of hours we trimmed lower growth and tidied up stubble from previous prunings. The fodder forest provides food (foliage) that wildlife carers can access for a range of animals in their care, including flying foxes, brush tail possums, koalas and short-eared brushtails.

I am finding as I meet with groups of bushcare volunteers a great wealth of knowledge, a willingness to share it and a strong sense of camaraderie. Thank you for an enjoyable and insightful morning.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fabulous foliage in February at the APC

Syzygium erythrocalyx Red Bud Satin Ash

Banksia plagiocarpa

There is some beautiful foliage and bright new growth this month at the Australian Plant Communities, Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha. I have developed a strong liking for Banksias during my visits to the gardens. The leaves have intricate zig-zag edges and striking form, especially when new growth sprouts in rich rust red. In my recent visits to nature reserves and national parks I have seen many banksia species in their natural habitat. They have a distinct sculptural quality which I love; no surprise then that their form keeps appearing in my artwork at the moment.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bushcare Birders - Redlands

Ring-tailed Possum

Amazing camouflage, striped legs to match the striped casuarina bark.

Yellow-faced Honeyeater.

Coolnwynpin Nature Refuge.

Native Orchid.

Once a month a group of bushcare birders meet at various locations in Redlands to learn and identify birds present. I joined the group this week at Coolnwynpin Nature Refuge, where we were lead by Boyd, Bushcare team leader, on a great walk around the creek refuge. I have been keeping records of birds I see in my home garden for the past few years, but being in a group of avid watchers who could recognise calls and spot tiny movements made it a wonderful learning experience. Over thirty different bird species were identified during the two hour walk.
I was a little distracted at times by the surrounds of the refuge, this is a beautiful area of native vegetation with casuarinas and young scribbly gums densely flanking creek bank areas. One watcher spotted the delicate orchid above. I marvelled at the striped camouflage of a spider blending with casuarina bark and a ring-tailed possum was spotted, perched in the fork of a tree. These areas are rich with connected life, I feel fortunate to be able to experience them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New papercut works

Nicola Moss, ‘Family Traits - Proteaceae VI’. ©2010.
Acid free papers cut and acrylic on Montval Fine Art Paper, 770x570mm unframed.

Two new works in my Family Traits papercut series will be included in a curated group exhibition - Paperworks, at Brenda May Gallery, Sydney. The exhibition runs from 23rd March to 11th April 2010.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bombax ceiba

This is the first of my posts looking an individual plants seasonal change over a year at the Australian Plant Communities in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha. I have started with Bombax ceiba, a plant with striking features. Bombax has a very structured form with branches departing the trunk at regular intervals, the symmetry is aesthetically pleasing to me, this is what first drew my attention to the plant. (above, May). It's soft slightly grey-green leaf gives a feeling of coolness on hot days. Below flowers are beginning to form in clusters of spheres. (July).

Bombax ceiba has a wonderful textured trunk that can be appreciated all year round. By early September the tree had dropped most of it's leaves and flowers were in full bloom.

In November the flowers that had pollinated were dry and dispersing tiny black seed in cotton wool like puffs that drifted on a breeze.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Marked Territory at the APC

'Marked Territory' is a title I used for a series of artworks last year, looking at how species leave markers of claim on an environment. This may take the form of fences, bird call, scent or estate signage; each divides, segments or apportions an area of landscape, establishing it's use or occupant. In my visits to several conservation areas in the last year I have noted that no place is completely devoid of human markers, in some proportion elements of vegetation and human activity are combined in just about every environment. The two are completely connected.
In the Australian Plant Communities area at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha, elements such as paths, botanical plant labels and sprinklers sit amongst an amazing collection of Australian native plants established in 1984 with special emphasis on rare and endangered species. In 2010 a new element appeared in the form of surveyors pegs, lines of white posts topped in pink and lemon, sit amongst grevillea and kangaroo paw in one area, and through rainforest trees in another.
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha is bordered by the Western Freeway on one side and a quarry on the other. Development of plans for the Northern Link Tunnel includes proposals for an enclosed conveyor system to take construction spoil from the tunnels to the Mt.Coot-tha Quarry. Indicative conveyor drawings show approximate location of proposed conveyor belts running through the botanic gardens.
Lines drawn on a map mean so much more on the ground. I have hugged many trees during my life, but I am not the type of person who chains myself to them. I am saddened at the thought of how these belts may impact on the Australian Plant Communities area if they go ahead. There are many trees situated between the lines of white posts. How to replace twenty five years of growth?
Only people/society can weigh up the costs and values to decide what is appropriate. Where does the balance lie?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Creek Crew Redlands

Today I had the pleasure of joining volunteers Peter, Ken, Will, Marion and Kylie, a Community Bushcare Officer with Redland City Council, on a Creek Crew water monitoring outing. We started at Redlands Indigiscapes Centre, taking readings in Coolnwynpin Creek. Water quality indicators such as pH, conductivity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, temperature and salinity were recorded. Aquatic species, weather, rainfall and water flow conditions were also noted. The quality data recorded assists in identifying trends through time and is also used by SEQ Catchments and Redland City Council for the Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program. It will be interesting to see how seasonal changes of water flow over a year alters water quality in the creeks.

Our second monitoring site was Tingalpa Creek, Capalaba. A local bushcare group maintains the beautiful surrounding creek bank area, with weeding and bank stabilisation. My eye was drawn to piles of dead weed dangling in the forks of trees, a rather nifty form of eradication.

Above the Horiba U-10 equipment used to take analytical quality data.

Some images of the wonderful vegetation surrounding Tingalpa and Coolnwynpin Creeks. A stand out for me on this visit are the luminous green Mangrove Ferns Achrostichum speciosum, you can see them in the lower areas of the two images above.
Thank you Kylie, Peter, Ken, Will and Marion for a lovely afternoon, your conversation and sharing of knowledge of the area added much to the experience.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Seeding in February at the APC

Toechima sp.

Evodiella muelleri

Aleurites moluccana

Salmon Bean Archidendron vaillanti

There is a wonderful selection of plants producing seed and seed pods in the Australian Plant Communities area at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha this month. A small selection of images above shows some of the diversity in seed form. February will complete my year of recording highlights in the APC area. It has been an amazing experience to observe one place throughout a whole year, witnessing the cycle of change in flower, seed, and foliage. Every plant is different, even within the same species factors such as aspect influence their appearance. This individuality of each plant has become increasingly evident during my time at the gardens. If you haven't had a chance to visit the APC area yet, it's a beautiful walk, well worth the effort.

Monday, February 1, 2010

That's my clothes line tan

I have been in the New South Wales Southern Highlands during the last week visiting my friend and fellow artist Susan Buret. In 2009 we started working on a collaborative video featuring images and sounds of laundry. We had a fun few days finalising the editing and packaging the video for exhibition at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery, 'That's my clothes line tan' will be on show from June 5th to August 1st 2010. This work evolved from a larger collaborative project focused on weather and how people interact with it in day to day living.

On the weekend I had a conversation describing the video work with friends who are a couple, it developed into a solid conversation about who does the laundry, (and who doesn't). It was a brilliant play out of gender roles, chore delegation and underlying I think an association with who is the bread winner.

Laundry is an activity that often involves the people we love, but at the same time is also often a solitary time. A meditative process or repetitive drudgery?

How do you feel about doing laundry?