Monthly Archives: March 2016

In the gentle dawn, happy birthday Canberra.

Canberra is 103 years old in March 2016 ….a young city just finding its place in the world.

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There are many birthday celebrations through the month of March, and one of the biggest events is ”Balloons Afloat”

Here we are at dawn waiting for the giant balloons to fill with air and be fired up into the sky..

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Some balloons are taking off without any trouble, but there is not much wind this morning…

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….and some of the cuter ones are having trouble floating off.

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and some stayed up just long enough to give the kids a thrill…

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Looking at all the families around enjoying this early morning start to Canberra day I can’t help thinking of all the turmoil in the world at the moment, and yet, how much ordinary people all over the world really just want to be able to live peacefully with their families and communities.

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The dawn on the lake is very gentle this morning, as the poet Mary Oliver says ” softest of mornings, hello.”

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We are off to our favourite little café in the city for breakfast. This café has a healthy herb garden and even a pumpkin vine heading out and over to the road. You can’t trust a pumpkin to behave well in a garden bed, never mind a city bed!

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I think the Chicago planners, Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony would have been happy to see a garden in the city, that was part of their dream.

What great good fortune to live in a peaceful city.

Happy birthday Canberra!

 

 

 

 

From a rainforest gully …to some Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos..

I’ve come back to the National Botanic gardens of Canberra on a beautiful summer morning, and all the more sparkling because we’ve had some steady rain last night for the first time in a month.

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The Rainforest fern gully was created in 1960 from a naturally occurring dry gully with a few eucalypts, shrubs and grasses….and as I step into the cool shaded area today it is hard to believe it was ever dry..

IMG_0365 (1024x727)The lower end of the gully begins with Tasmanian cool temperate rainforest plants..and gradually changes to the warm temperate rainforest of northern NSW and south eastern Queensland

…as I follow this path I’m effectively walking the entire east coast rainforest of Australia in ten minutes!

IMG_0776 (1024x932)To create this gully, fast growing wattles and eucalypts were grown, and 2000 fine mist sprays installed to keep the humidity high…

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the understory has small trees, fallen branches and ferns..

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Macrozamia miquelii

Now a canopy of tall plants, like an enormous umbrella protects the ferns below from the direct sun, heavy rain, drying winds and frost…all of which can happen in Canberra.

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Blackwood tree Acacia Melanoxylon

I expected to find some birds in the gully, but the rain and soft sunshine has sent them out to the Banksia and Grevillea bushes….a little bird flew into the ground cover and stayed there, forever it seemed, I guess a whole small world of activity is going on in there…

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Hakea minyma Proteaceae

Here is a New Holland Honeyeater having breakfast at the Banksia café..

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As good luck would have it, just as I headed for the car park, some noisy Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos arrived..

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Unperterbed by cars and people nearby, one of them began burrowing into the tree, possibly looking for grubs to eat..

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In no time at all he has almost disappeared into that hole….

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… so his mate is coming over to see what it is all about

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While the ”Boss Cocky” watches on…

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..A lovely way to spend the morning…