Tag Archives: Bougainvillea

Sydney: Neutral Bay and a trip down memory lane..

Sydney in summer…beautiful one day, and gorgeous the next!

The day I took these photos a sea mist was coming in, consequently the photos are slightly hazy.

National Geographic tells me that a sea mist can form when warm air from land suddenly encounters cool air over the ocean.

We overheard some early morning joggers say that this usually means a hot steamy day ahead…and that was true.

Sydney is about a four hour drive from our home in Canberra, and it is a trip we do often because we have many relatives and friends living in this beautiful city.

Neutral Bay

The aerial  photo below shows Sydney’s inlets and bays, and those who are lucky enough to live around the bays, can take a ferry into the city.

We stayed in Neutral Bay on the right in the photo below..

Sydney Routes and Tours Maps Big Bus Tours

This is a trip down memory lane for me because I began my teaching career in Sydney, and l lived in a shared house in Neutral Bay….

Isn’t it grand? I shared the ground floor of this house with three other people, and a couple lived upstairs.

it seems amazing to think, in the ’70s, there were many large houses, (I lived in two) that were relatively cheap to rent…this is now one of the most expensive suburbs in Sydney.

The name Neutral Bay comes from the early colonial period of Australia when Governor Arthur Phillip declared this bay as a neutral bay where foreign ships could anchor and take on water and supplies, but far enough away from the settlement to avoid trouble!

We did a family walk back to my lovely rented accommodation, but it is now surrounded by high walls and is hardly recognisable.

Never mind, I have wonderful memories of sitting on the ferry to go to work, and there is no better way to de-stress from a noisy class than to come home on a ferry in the afternoon and feel the cool breeze from the harbour.

the sea mist across Sydney..

We went for plenty of early morning walks and I was reminded of how important trees are in  all cities, but especially those with long hot summers.

In summer Sydney is full of incidental colour, plants love the climate..

Hibiscus

 

Bougainvillea

 

Penstemon

 

Perhaps it wouldn’t be too bad living in a unit (apartment) if you looked out on these tranquil gardens..

We passed this Uniting Church every day. They had a flourishing vegetable garden

and this little  Internet garden with free Wi-Fi and two comfy chairs… so thoughtful!

In some ways the suburb hasn’t changed since my relaxed days living here.

It still has a village feel, with locals enjoying the warm night air, sitting outside small restaurants eating good food and drinking wine and craft beers. (well, we were anyway)

The Uniting church street library.

Since our trip to Sydney the weather has deteriorated, and we are now experiencing a heatwave across the country.

….so I hope you are keeping cool or warm where ever you are in the world..

Thanks for going down memory lane with me!

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sydney, Bondi Beach and hidden treasures..

Sydney has a population of about 4 million people, and nearly as many tourists in summer. Almost everyone is looking for a beach… and Bondi Beach is the most famous.

… the best kept secret is dawn on a summer’s day on Bondi Beach………the soft sky and pearl-coloured beach make this a magical time….and so few people see it..

I came to Australia, from Central Africa  when I was 19 years old, and very briefly spent some time in Bondi with my brother before I went to University to train to be a teacher…

In those days, the beach seemed wide and empty most of the time…

One of my brothers, Neil, has lived in the Bondi area all of his adult life. Walking along the beach and swimming in this lovely Icebergs pool is a routine he has continued into retirement.

He now walks and/or swims every day  with the same group he has known for years.  They have lived through all the ups and downs of life together, and, Neil says, can almost finish each others’ sentences.

(My Dad walked with a similar group in Port Macquarie, and they called themselves ”Dad’s Army”)

Neil and his lovely wife Jo very generously lend us their house during the Christmas period.  This means our two daughters, our son-in-law, and new granddaughter have a comfortable home in Sydney for Christmas, and we can visit Paul’s big exended family.

On Christmas morning we get a smoothie inside the Bondi Pavilion. The morning is warming up and the people are gathering in swimmers and Santa Hats…

Inside the Pavilion are some wonderful old photos of Bondi beach..

and it looks as if it was always popular and crowded with cars…today you need  a special permit to park here..

Paul always says Sydney has a special kind of blue sky, and here it is…

Good to see Sydney is using the sun for recycling… the small print on the rubbish bin says..” I use the sun to squash your rubbish and fit five times more in…'”

 

 

These days Bondi has suntanned locals, backpackers, European travellers escaping the winter, movie stars and celebrity chefs….Bill Granger’s restaurant in Bondi is lovely for coffee and cake.

Despite the mix, Bondi still has a kind of casual friendliness that I like…perhaps it is the combination of sun and space and colour….

The bougainvillea winds itself around garden fences as we walk back up the hill

 

Morning glory spills over the edge of the cliff and onto the footpaths that we walk on…

Our daughters look out for the Frangipani, and always remind me that my Mum used to make necklaces for them out of the flowers in their home, the equally beautiful Port Macquarie.

My neighbour often says she gets ”postcards”  (memories) from her mother…same here..

 

The sheer tenacity of some flowers blowing off the cliffs around Sydney is amazing..

Sea Hibiscus Hibiscus tiliaceus

This one has a mix of yellow and pink blossoms, and they all flower away, while weathering the blowing winds and storms that are felt in these exposed coastal parts of Sydney..

Even the beetles in Sydney are pretty cool…

Cotton Harlequin Beetle

and of course the cliffs around Bondi are a real delight..

… it is possible to walk along most of the coastline and enjoy the same views seen for centuries…without noticing the crowds in shops and on beaches…. don’t be fooled, Sydney has lots of hidden gems…

These cliffs deserve their own post, one day soon!

I hope you can visit Canberra’s Green Spaces for my next post, which is our visit to the exhibition of Pollination in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sicilian Garden from a Golden Age

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Before Canberra bursts into spring, I have a couple of posts to show of our trip to Italy in May……so welcome to Villa Giulia, the first public park in Palermo, opened in 1778.

On a warm morning, after a long walk through the city, we decided to stroll around this inviting shady park rather than go to the Botanical Gardens, right next door. Botanical gardens need stamina, and more time than we had that day.

Sicily was first settled by the Phoenicans in the 8th century, then conquered by the Romans, the Arabs and the Normans. The buildings and gardens reflect this rich history.

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The wide avenues and tall palms made this park seem cool, inviting and exotic, full of flowers and shrubs reminiscent of my childhood in Central Africa, where the climate is equally hot in summer.

I loved the Lantana Cultivar, the blaze of orange flowers making a a colourful hedge. Some red Hibiscus flowers are growing between the palms, and in the background the seemingly ever flowering purple Bougainvillea.

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Parks in the 1700s were considered a reflection of the city’s wealth and prosperity, and were designed by artists, architects, scholars and dreamers of a golden age.

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These are exedra, and they were intended for musical performances. The colours and the mosiacs have no doubt been restored, but it still withstands the test of time, and looks wonderful.IMG_3355 (1024x693)The site is near the seafront and the park is based on a square, geometrically designed. The Dodecahedron fountain is at the heart of the garden, and the marble clock created by mathematician Lorenzo Federici – each face of the dodecahedron featuring a sundial.

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The statue of Atlas is set in the centre of a circular fountain. Atlas was the god of endurance and astronomy.

Imagine an astronomer and a mathematican being consulted on the design of a park today!

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Over time some of the plants have been renewed and the trees lining this path below look quite young and healthy.  They are known as Judas trees, and  can also be found in the National Arboretum in Canberra. The name possibly came from the French common name, Arbre de Judee, meaning the tree of Judea, the region where the tree is commonly grown, on stony arid slopes.

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The flat ripening pods turn from green to bright red, giving extra colour to the park.

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On the left hand-side of this path is the Italian pine (pino domestic) which is very common in Palermo and gives welcome shade in the summer.

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Villa Giulia is an oasis in the teeming city of Palermo, and a lasting legacy to the enlightened times of its Golden Age.

…and, as we leave, another tree to remind me of Africa and Australia…

Who could resist stopping to take a photo of a flowering Jacaranda tree?

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Copyright Geraldine  Mackey. All rights reserved