Canberra, the bush capital, sun, storms, and season’s greetings

This  wonderful Sturt Desert Pea, from the desert of  Central Australia, seems to be singing..

‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas..

Canberra is nowhere near the desert in Central Australia, but the Sturt Desert Pea grows here in the Desert Garden of the Australian National Botanical Gardens.


Desert garden in the Australian National Botanic Gardens

Canberra usually becomes very hot, and dry-looking the closer we get to Christmas, but this year we’ve had unexpected rain, and the Brindabella Mountains stayed blue for a long time.

The development of the Arboretum in Canberra was very controversial at first….one hundred forests of trees from all over the world were planted.

This was an act of faith really because a ten year drought had not long ended. However, we have had regular rain since then, and despite the difficulties there may be, the Arboretum looks stunning now,  and is a great tourist attraction….

Not far from the south side of Canberra, (where I live) is Namadgi National Park…

These last couple of years, with abundant grasses and vegetation, there has been an explosion of babies in spring….

a young female Kangaroo with her joey

On the edge of Namadgi is  Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve…used by bushwalkers, and families alike, and it is a joy to see all the animals and birds around after a rainy day..

Kookaburra at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve


baby koala Ghambi (meaning fire) and his mother..

I believe two new koala babies have been born since our visit…

…closer to home, one kindly gardener has planted red hot pokers, red geraniums, and blue agapanthus along the verge next to her house…it looks wonderful in the morning sunshine, and the red hot pokers are stunning against the white trunk of the Eucalypt tree.

I often walk along the backtracks (fire trails) with Paul and also with friends and neighbours..

Paul had just finished painting the deck  (luckily it was dry) when an unexpected hail storm occurred.

It only lasted about 15 minutes but caused some damage around the neighbourhood.

Luckily no damage for us, but most of the plants looked a bit bedraggled….. one minute it is 33 degrees Celsius and the next minute there are pieces of ice in pot plants!


These Liliums and the Gazanias get the prize for resilience….they began flowering again the next day.









The Gazanias  must wonder what is going on here….one day a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is lopping its flowers, the next….pieces of ice are landing in the pot!


My favourite part of summer is sitting on the deck having breakfast, the sound of sprinklers and happy birds flying in and out of the water.

So much fresh stone fruit to add to our breakfast… the birds eat from our fruit trees and we buy ours from the markets…something seems wrong with that equation….but where would be we without them?

yes…its beginning to look a lot like Christmas….

This photo was taken last summer, we read papers online now!

The Good Food website has this variation on a Pavlova (an Australian/New Zealand favourite summer dessert) …and there is another one with honeycomb…they are worth looking at…

slablova …the perfect crowd friendly pavola..

Season’s greeting to everyone, and thank you for your company this year, I’ve enjoyed writing about Canberra’s Green Spaces, and travelling the world through blogs I read, and the people I’ve met.

…best wishes to you all, and may you have enough time to enjoy family and friends and green spaces (or snowy white spaces from the comfort of your warm fire..) where ever you are in the world.

Copyright: Geraldine Mackey All Rights Reserved.




23 Replies to “Canberra, the bush capital, sun, storms, and season’s greetings”

  1. I think we have all enjoyed travelling with you this year, Geraldine. I have left the tropical heat & humidity behind for a breeze change in New Zealand. I’m looking forward to getting my fill of Queenstown roses.

    1. Roses at old Parliament House are at their best in Nov and I think NZ is a month or two later … So perfect timing … Enjoy & take some pics…we’ll do a date for your bush bees sometime soon.

  2. A great treat to scroll through your fascinating post looking at the beautiful pictures and enjoying your text. You surely live in a beautiful and interesting place, thanks for sharing it with us and Happy Christmas.

  3. It looks so lush and colorful there. You do live in a beautiful place and your breakfast spot is sublime. I still enjoy sitting down with an old-fashioned newspaper, even though I get much of my news online. There’s just something about spreading out that paper and browsing about the pages that pleases me.
    The slablova variations look amazing. But I’m not sure how many people will have bee pollen, elderberry cordial and crystallized violets handy in their pantry! I love reading the Aussie terms for food that are totally unfamiliar to me–“punnet” berries, and “gaytime” crumbs!

    1. Yes, the honeycomb pavlova is high maintance indeed, I do wonder with some recipes…especially since sprinkled chocolate would work just as well! I’ll have to do a post on Aussie terms for food and sayings generally…usually very funny. I agree with you about reading the paper, and we have compromised and get the weekend papers.

      Season’s greetings to you and your family, and lovely dogs! We are very much looking forward to time with our family, and lovely granddaughter at Christmas.

  4. Lovely to see the roos, kookaburra and koalas. I’m struggling a bit with the cold and wet after last year’s wonderful trip Down Under!
    Have a very Happy Christmas Gerrie.

    1. There’s nothing for it, you’ll have to plan another holiday to Australia! In the meanwhile, perhaps I could send a recording of Cockatoos screeching overhead in the morning, to remind you of what you are NOT missing! Best wishes for Christmas.

  5. A lovely post Gerry. I did love the arboretum when we visited, I thought it was a magical place. What strange weather everywhere is getting this year. Canberra is certainly an underrated place and seems to slip under the tourist radar, Your posts make me think it is time I revisited it again. Wishing you a very happy Christmas and best wishes for 2018

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you are thinking of visiting Canberra, and the Arboretum is really interesting. Hope to see your Queensland posts next year.

  6. I always save your post so that I have time to just sit and enjoy, and this was no exception. Looking out all I see is white so your photos of gorgeous flowers and sitting on your beautiful deck enjoying fresh fruit is tonic for my soul. And, of course, you have the most wonderful animals that just bring a smile. This was like a beautiful Christmas card arriving from Australia. Thank you very much for taking us on your adventures because our knowledge of your beautiful country is enhanced with each of your posts. Merry Christmas and may 2018 be a healthy and happy one for you and yours. 🙂

    1. Thanks for those lovely words Judy, and I in turn enjoy all your posts and stories about life in New England. Isn’t blogging wonderful! Best wishes to you and your family for a warm and happy festive season

  7. Wow, koalas, kangaroos and kookaburras! I loved seeing these animals when I visited, lucky you living in such a divine environment and being able to enjoy them all the time. Those mountains are breathtaking too!
    I always enjoy your posts, so thanks for the eternal inspiration, and the opportunity to share your corner of the world. All the very best to you and yours, here’s to a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!xxx

    1. Thanks Dina, I thought you might enjoy looking at the sweet little joey looking out from her mother’s pouch. The koalas are more difficult to photograph. Warm Christmas wishes to you and your family, not to mention all creatures great and small that you look after! I look forward to more of your posts next year.

  8. I love the color on the Sturt Desert Pea, and beautiful those mountains are! One day we must visit your botanical garden, it sounds enchanting. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  9. It’s always lovely to visit it you and enjoy seeing the differences to our landscape and plants. It must be wonderful to sit outside around Christmas! Your neighbours verge planting looks lovely and very eye catching. We are having a pavlova on Christmas Day, it is so much lighter than Christmas Pudding which we will enjoy on another day! Wishing you and your family and granddaughter a very Happy Christmas! Sarah x

  10. Looks really beautiful there, Gerrie. The Red Hot Pokers are lovely. They remind me of our garden in England . My Dad used to grow them. Happy New Year to you and your family.

    1. Thanks Sylvia … Yes Red Hot Pokers remind me of Afrca, South Africa, & Zambia. I always thought they only grew in hotter climates, so interesting to know your Dad grew them in England. Happy New Year to you & your family & hope your eye is on the mend now.

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