Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Botanic Gardens and bridges

I seem to have become a very sporadic blogger - 'life' keeps getting in the way. My workroom is quite deserted, haven't even been doing anything creative since before Easter! I have managed to take the dog walking in the Gardens late in the afternoon occasionally however, the weather since Easter has been absolutely beautiful, brilliant sunshine and cool winds. Easter weather doesn't bear mentioning - in 41 years I cannot remember a wetter Easter! We had rain every day and night. However this past week has made up for it all.

The rain has made everything so green and lush, we have had the best wet season for about ten years and the cane farmers are over the moon, especially as the sugar price seems to be increasing daily. Crushing will start at the end of next month so they will be hoping for dry weather for a couple of months at least then.

This wonderful nest is being built by a pair of sunbirds on a vine tendril hanging right over a set of stairs which is in constant use. The birds don't seem to worried by the traffic at all. The picture of a male sunbird below is from the internet as the birds were not at home when I went past the other day. I hope the teenage kids don't vandalise the nest, it would be lovely to see the family grow up.

For the last couple of years Main Roads have been building a new bridge over the Pioneer river at the end of the road which runs past the Gardens - much to our disgust, but we couldn't persuade them to rebuild the original bridge a couple of blocks away. There will be a huge added volume of traffic flowing along that road now, but that is life. On Sunday there was an official opening and a family fun day with everyone walking over the bridge before the traffic is allowed on to it later this week. There is no foot bridge at this stage, but the extra concrete girdars are for one in the future if the local council can ever afford it!! I love the way State Government departments just leave bits to be funded by local government.

The Gardens Friends had an information stand there, which proved to be very popular - not sure though if it was the small creatures in the boxes in the shade or the shade itself which enticed everyone in. The temperature shot up to 30 degrees with almost no breeze and certainly no cloud cover and very hot black bitumen underfoot!! I couldn't believe the clothing which some people wore - or rather the lack of clothing. Everyone had to walk at least two kilometres even if they parked in the closest carparks - the bridge is 800 metres long - and heaps of people had no hats and frequently had small dogs in tow. The dogs were the ones I really felt sorry for - they had no choice and they were so close to the bitumen they must have been sizzling. About 7000 people trekked over the bridge during the morning so it was a verysuccessful event.

This is taken from the new bridge looking toward the old bridge which was built in the late 19th century. Most of it will now be pulled down, leaving just two spans on the city side for a fishing platform - this is a very popular fishing spot.
We are going to Ballina for a week on Saturday - the annual sugar technologists conference is being held there this year and Bill is the secretary so he runs the conference - I get to tag along. The partners are being taken to lots of interesting places so when I come back I hope I have some good photos to post - just need to find the time again, and then do some more creative work!
Cheers for now.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

A box, some bookmarks and banksias

I have managed to have a bit of a play this week, and made this little box from cardboard heldtogether with masking tape, then a layer of moulding paste spread over the top and textured with a pallette knife. The flowers on top are stencilled on. I am quite disgusted that I can no longer find the sheets of green or red plastic stencils we used to see in all the discount stores and also Spotlight. They are a nice thickness for stencilling through, but must no longer be in fashion, or the wholesalers have gone into liquidation. Now I shall have to find something of a similar thickness and make my own stencils - all takes time! I played with various colours on top, using some of the ideas from the Fibre-in-form class I took, but haven't yet completed. My sisiter is coming to visit on Tuesday for a week, so hopefully we will have some playtime and can do a bit more.
I also made up a very cheerful red poppy paper napkin into a couple of bookmarks and another padfolio.

This photo is of a banksia integrifolia and the one below is on its seedpod. This is growing in our Botanic Gardens. I love banksias, and I now realise May Gibbs must have used integrifolia for her big bad banksia men in the wonderful Snugglepot and Cuddlepie books my mother used to read to us till we were old enough to read them ourselves, and we all sobbed our hearts out but insisted she keep reading!

These two photos are of banksia spinulosa and its seed pod - not nearly as fearsome! The foliage is amazingly different also, much more delicate. The seed pods really need fire to make them germinate easily, all part of the wonderful ways of nature in the Australian bush.

I took these photos this morning when there was a very busy gardening bee taking place, over 240 plants were placed in the ground so everyone went away well satisfied. I don't do any of the actual gardening, my arthritic feet don't like that one bit, but I get the smoko ready and take it to wherever the action is taking place - quite a logistical effort sometimes, especially with an urn of hot water on the floor of the front seat of the car - doing over bumpy paths is interesting to say the least!!!
We have had the most magical autumn weather for the last week, but the forecast is for some showery weather to arrive in the next day or so. Once more we have missed out (thank goodness) on the dreadful floods and deluges which have been happening in SE Queensland and northern NSW. Awful pictures on the news of the damage, the only good thing is that Brisbane's water storage looks like reaching 50%, so they will be allowed to hand water every second day and even wash their cars again.
Time for bed. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.