Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring, Tra La!

by Anna Campbell

As promised last month, today I've got a stack of photos of Ballarat's beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens to share with you all.

I hope you're in the mood for spring flowers!

Here's the website for the gardens if you'd like more info on this beautiful corner of Australia:

At the start of October, I had a week of travel. I had a weekend in Melbourne and then went out to stay with good friends in Ballarat.

The last time I was in Ballarat, it was a dust bowl. They hadn't had rain for years. The huge lake in the center of town was a paddock with a muddy puddle in the middle of it. Trees that were hundreds of years old were dying for lack of water. All very tragic.

This time I visited after Victoria has had extensive rainfall and it was a different place. Lush and verdant and teeming with life. You would honestly think you were in England, some of these fields were so green and pleasant.

I had a lovely morning at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens and went wild with the camera. These are some of the shots!

You'll notice that there's a definite European flavor to the plants and design of the gardens. Deliberately so. Ballarat is a town that was founded on the fortune in gold discovered in the area. In the Victorian era, it was packed with homesick and well-to-do Britons who wanted to recreate a corner of their homeland in what they saw as an arid and alien landscape.

So we get roses and poppies and camellias and magnificent European trees. Because of Dutch elm disease, the elms in Victoria count as one of the last places in the world where you can see mature versions of these magnificent trees.

A treat at the Ballarat Gardens is Adam Lindsay Gordon's cottage. ALG was an early Australian poet who is the only Aussie writer featured in Westminster Abbey, quite an honor.

Here's his Wikipedia entry:

He had a difficult and tempestuous life full of drama and incident. This scion of an aristocratic Scottish family was famous as a jockey and a wild boy.

Here's a picture of his statue which currently stands outside the Victorian parliament in Melbourne. That's a saddle at his feet, in tribute to his abilities as a horseman.

His poetry is full of vim and vigor. One of my favorite quotes of his is the one that many people know, even if they don't know who penned it:

Life is mostly froth and bubble, Two things stand like stone -- 
Kindness in another's trouble, Courage in your own.

It's not a bad philosophy, is it? The Queen quoted it in her Christmas message a few years ago - which I thought was a nice tribute to Adam Lindsay Gordon.

But enough  literary stuff, let's look at pretty flowers! It's spring down here in Australia. Let's celebrate!

What's your favorite flower? Do any flowers have a sentimental meaning for you? I must say I love a lot of flowers, but I think my taste tends to lean toward the traditional. I particularly love roses and peonies. What about you? 


Kandy Shepherd said...

Flowers are one of the great joys in life, Anna, I love them too.

Roses and peonies are favorites of mine too. I also love Irises--they have sentimental meaning for me because they were our wedding flowers. In fact our bedroom is decorated with iris print curtains and iris paintings!

You took some lovely photos on your trip!

Eli Yanti said...

Lovely Pic Anna :)

I always adored with tuberose flower probably because it's white, fragrant and bloom in the middle of the night (always at 24.00 hour)

Lory Lee said...

I love Sunflower. They remind me of my childhood, they we're about my size and planted outside our house and people that are passing by would always stop to look at them and often times ask for some seeds or flowers. We, together with my brothers and sisters would eat some of those seeds too. :D

Unknown said...

I love to visit Botanical Gardens.. We have a few here in Ontario, where I live and I visited them in Ireland, Scotland, and places in the US. I hope one day to visit them in Australia. It is at the top of my bucket list of places to visit.
I envy you your Spring, as we are just going into the cold winter months here in Canada...
My fav flowers are Carnations, Roses and Hibiscus. Especially if they are in colours of Peach and Lavender...

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, I went a bit camera mad - and the gardens were just at that perfect spring moment, you know, the blossom out and all the green looking really fresh. Such a contrast to my last visit when it was all rather sad. Oh, how lovely that irises are one of your favorites. I must say I love all those old-fashioned flowers.

Anna Campbell said...

Eli, you know, I don't know that I've ever seen a tuberose before. I just looked it up (I thought they were the same as begonias and they're not). Beautiful!

Anna Campbell said...

Lory, what lovely memories of the sunflowers. I have seen farms full of sunflowers and it's spectacular. And of course, I love Van Gogh's versions of the flowers. He invested so much emotion in the flowers he painted.

Anna Campbell said...

Kathleen, I hope you make it down here. Some of the native flowers are amazing. I was lucky enough to be working in Western Australia one spring. WA is famous for its wildflowers - it's the most biodiverse region on the planet, partly because the soils are so poor and the conditions are so harsh. There needs to be micro levels of evolution for stuff to survive even within a small patch of ground. I love hibiscuses - they were among my dad's favorites so we have quite a lot planted in my current garden. I think my favorites are the Royal Hawaiian.

Christina Brooke said...

Gorgeous, Anna! You make me nostalgic for my visits to Bendigo a while back (on business, but I still enjoyed the atmosphere very much). How lovely that the countryside is green again.

As for flowers I have a soft spot for pansies. My nana had a magically green thumb and grew them for me, but her orchids were the truly spectacular part of her garden. I know it's boring but I love roses and am still saddened by the loss of them from our garden during the renovation. We had a gorgeous blue rose that smelled like musk lollies. Sigh.

Anna Campbell said...

Christina, I don't think roses are boring at all - and Empress Josephine agrees with me! ;-) I think they're among the most beautiful of flowers, especially home grown one. I'm always sad for bought roses that never open up and develop that gorgeous scent of the ones from the garden. Roses were my mum's favourite flower!

Pat Cochran said...

Hi Anna, Enjoyed your photos! My favorite
flowers are roses and spider mums. Special
reason: when Honey and I were married 51
years ago, my bouquet was designed around
white roses and white spider mums.

Pat C.

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks to everyone who swung by to comment! Glad you enjoyed the flower pics! See you next month.

Anna Campbell said...

Pat, what a lovely memory! And lovely choice. White roses here really attract the bugs. I remember when I visited Western Australia a few years ago how beautiful they were there!

Mary Preston said...

I don't have an absolute favorite. I can happily enjoy them all.

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Sorry for being (a) late (bloomer) to your post, Anna! What gorgeous photos. I adore camellias, orchids, lilies, 'David Austen' roses, jasmine, tulips... Hmm, I'm not that fussy when it comes to flowers, it seems!

Christina Hollis said...

Anna, those photos are stunning! It's so gloomy here in the UK at the moment, they really cheered me up - thanks. I love all flowers but cyclamen have a special place in my heart, and pansies, too.

Anna Campbell said...

Mary, my favorite tends to change depending on the last lovely flower I saw! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

What a lovely list, Vanessa. Actually right now with the beautiful purple jacarandas blooming, I think they might actually be my favorite. Thanks for swinging by!

Anna Campbell said...

Christina, must be something about the name - Christina B likes pansies too! I actually have a soft spot for violets - love the scent. The manufactured scent isn't nearly as nice. It's always cloying. So glad you enjoyed the photos!

Di said...

How pretty! I'm sentimental over a few flowers cause they were favorites of my parents - Mom loved Gardenia's and Lilies of the Valley; Dad loved Iris.