Sunny afternoon in St Andrews Botanic Gardens

One of the many paths that lead through the Botanic Gardens, St Andrews Scotland.
One of the many paths that lead through the Botanic Gardens, St Andrews Scotland.

St Andrews, Scotland is well known for it’s golf course however there is plenty for a visitor to do if they’re not interested in chasing a little white ball around a paddock. There are castle and cathedral ruins overlooking the sea, as well as delightful little cafes and cobblestone streets. After a morning sketching a church and doing a little shopping in the centre of St Andrews we headed out of the centre to the Botanic Gardens for a picnic lunch and a few hours of quiet in the gardens.

The Botanic Gardens aren’t huge however they are full of brilliant coloured blooms in Spring, some of which I had seen before such as Rhododendrons. The sun was shining and local students appeared to be making the most of the warmth, lying on the grass studying or just ‘hanging out’. As a small group we scattered quickly after lunch, each of us going our own way and doing whatever we wanted. I chose not to sit and draw, and instead kept my camera at the ready because there were so many flowers to see and paths to explore. A couple of ducks caught my attention at one stage, the female splashing around in the water while the male seemed more content to strut around the pond. A heron also became the focus of my attention, I stalked him/her all around one pond trying to capture them in flight however I didn’t not have a fast enough shutter speed and most of the action shots are fuzzy. Big fat bumblebees are always a delight to see although the most amusing creatures in the gardens were not alive, they were carvings and sculptures dotted among the trees. The red squirrel sculpture was as close as I got to this endangered creature, I didn’t even see the more common grey squirrel during my time in Scotland.

As I wandered around the gardens I ran into several of my fellow travelling artists, most of them thoroughly enjoying the peaceful surrounds and the opportunity to draw something other than a church or castle. Hopefully the many photographs I took will serve a inspiration for my artwork in the future. In the meantime I hope you enjoy my walk through the garden.

 

The colours of Spring

Spring is here and there are floral festivals happening in several places around Australia, two popular festivals in Queensland are located in Toowoomba and on Mt Tamborine. I haven’t been able to enjoy either this year however I do have a lovely collection of photos from previous visits which I will share with you.

Happy Spring days!

Wishful thinking

Another hot and humid day is looming, summer is definitely making her presence felt after several years of wet summers and lower temperatures. In an effort to cool down I am thinking of colder climates and wishing I could click my heels and transport myself and the doggies to the beautiful Lucerne in Switzerland. We were in Lucerne prior to Easter in 2011, the days were lovely and mild allowing us to fully enjoy all the delights that the old town had to offer.

I love this time of year

Outside the heat of a Queensland Spring is destroying the green blades of grass and drying out the garden beds, the talk of an El Nino persists and I’ve been shopping for wetting agents, mulch and drought resistant native plants. Despite the heat, I love Spring and early morning walks with Bundy (Maxi is usually still snoring). This year all of the native plants seem to be in full flower with their sweet scent permeating the air and the low hum of buzzing bees following us wherever we go.

As the heat dissipates towards the end of the day both Bundy and Maxi take to the yard and play a short game of ‘catch me if you can’ or Bundy returns to playing with his favourite toy of late, the bucket. When not playing with his bucket you can find Bundy sleeping on the tiles or making himself comfortable on one of the outdoor chairs, Maxi can usually be found not far away, snoring loudly and blissfully ignorant of what is going on around her.

Summer is predicted to be long, hot and dry, quite different to the very wet and muggy summers we’ve had over the last few years. When it gets really hot we’ll take the dogs to the beach before the sun comes up and head home before traffic jams make being on the road unbearable, for now Bundy and I will continue to enjoy the fresh, early morning Spring walks.

Winter is almost over

Today we farewell Winter and although it still feels cold in inside our house, the warmth of Spring has arrived and with it comes screeching Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets. Our Grevillea trees are flowering, as are the Coco Magnolias and neighbouring Eucalypts. The Koala has been returning every few days and is showering our yard with Koala poo and small branches of gum leaves, Bundy is obsessed with sniffing everything that falls from the tree and is happy to be outdoors for several hours at a time during the night whilst the Koala is around.

Springtime on the Mountain

Springtime on the Mountain is a festival held on Mt Tamborine at the end of September each year. Similar to the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, Springtime on the Mountain offers visitors beautiful private gardens to explore in addition to blooming public parks and gardens. Mt Tamborine is one of my favourite places to visit on the Gold Coast, best on a weekday when there are fewer day trippers, Mt Tamborine has an abundance of cafes, art and craft shops, nature trails, wineries and some of the yummiest triple cream brie I’ve ever eaten.

This year was my first time for visiting Mt Tamborine during the spring festival, we went on a Saturday in the hope that it would be less hectic than on a Sunday but still it was very busy and parking at a premium. Our choice of destination was the Botanic Gardens, a beautiful, lush spot on the mountain, well maintained by a group of committed volunteers. The artistic children of my friend set themselves up in a central location and set about drawing some of the flowers, my friend and I wandered off to smell the roses.

As some of you know, I love take photos of flowers so you’d think I would at least be able to tell you what some of the flowers are in the photographs below however it isn’t my strongest point. Ff I get the name of a plant wrong or have completely left it off the image please let me know and I will amend the caption.

Spring time photo walks

As many of you know, it is spring here in Australia and after a reasonably mild winter (for the most part) we are experiencing a sunny and warm start to spring with an extremely long and hot summer predicted. It has been several years since we experienced a ‘real’ summer on the Queensland coast, it has rained extensively each summer since the drought broke at the end of 2007 and everyone I know is keen to hit the beach and spend more time in the sun this year.

Although I am always dreaming of and planning our next holiday, at the moment I have to be satisfied with exploring our local region and experiencing life as a South East Queenslander. Lately our neighbours may have started wondering were I was going with Bundy and my camera in tow as I toddled off down the street, they’re used to seeing me walking our dogs however many probably don’t think that there is anything of great interest to photograph on our walks. They couldn’t be more wrong, spring is an excellent time to walk around local parks and recently we’ve had the pleasure of hearing and seeing a Koala in the bush next door to our house, as you can imagine, the camera was soon in hand.

Time to stop waffling and share my neighbourhood with you, I hope you enjoy the walk and if you’re sick of seeing photos of birds and flowers then look away 🙂

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

These ‘green’ images were taken during our scrappy adventure in Europe, most of the photos were taken in Italy. At the time it was Spring and green landscapes were in abundance but rather than share the copious number of landscape shots I thought it might be a little more interesting to find other green things in my album.

Remembering a spring day spent at Versailles

Spring is here! Already people are leaving their jackets and beanies at home and heading out into the sun to absorb some vitamin D. I have noticed new growth on my gardenias and the scent of star jasmine and my coco magnolia tree fills the night air with the sweetest perfume. Spring is my favourite time of year, the days are filled with sunshine and the nights are still cool, making sleep easy (unlike summer). Later this month there will be floral festivals in the towns around us, the keen gardeners with beautiful homes open up to the general public so that we can admire the results of their hard work and passion and hopefully be inspired to do more in our own gardens. It is a time when I like to take my camera and spend a few hours photographing flowers, not something that appeals to everyone but my husband is very patient and there are usually several other hobby photographers madly photographing everything with a petal.

Today I am reminded of the start of our holiday in Europe and where I was when the sun decided to shine after a few days of grey, gloomy weather. We were visiting the Palace of Versailles and it was my birthday. The layers of clothing we had been wearing were not necessary, my sunglasses became my accessory of choice and our delight at being outside, in Paris (or thereabouts), on such a glorious day was immense. Having written about the day on a previous post: Birthday celebration at the Palace of Versailles, I won’t write much about the day itself except to say that reading about our day at Versailles makes my heart smile and trawling through my photos again brings back very happy memories.

Is there a day (or event) in your travels that really makes your heart smile?

Enjoy the photos and for those of you in the southern hemisphere, Happy Spring!