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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.