Sunday, 20 July 2008

Old Coach Road

Our July hike took us along an old coach road, then followed a disused railway track leading us through a tunnel inhabited by glow worms back to our starting point. No photos of the glow worms for several reasons: my little camera can't handle a pitch black environment; being school holiday time, there were too many people shining flashlights and talking; apparently glow worms respond best to warm weather and this being winter it was icy cold in the tunnel. Consequently, the glow worms were sulking and only one or two were visible.
However, the old coach road we followed throughout the morning was too long a trek for young families and teenagers in flimsy footwear, so we saw no other hikers until we neared the entrance to the tunnel.

Here we are getting ready to head out for the day. That's our fearless leader, Libby Raines in the centre of the group on the left.

We came upon the usual number of stunning rock formations and views as we made our way along.

Beyond Donkey Mountain, a controversial resort and golf course is soon going to change the landscape.

In several places we came upon magnificent specimens of grass trees (Xanthorrhoea media),

one with a flower stalk just emerging, olive green against the tree trunk behind.

As we walked along the old railway line, we came through a deep gully where flourishing tree ferns towered above our heads.

At one point we passed a lyrebird's nest. Some of our fellow-walkers even saw a lyrebird but unfortunately I wasn't one of them

I was intrigued by the beautiful bark on the trunks of some of the eucalypts that we passed. The blotchy ones are spotted gums (Eucalyptus punctata).

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Kangaroo Paw Fever

No, it's not a new virus; it's my new passion. I've fallen in love with this exotic native plant. (Australians would say this is a contradiction; exotic to them, botanically anyway, means a non-native plant) And I keep finding more must-have varieties to add to my collection.
I took the photo on one of our sunny winter days so that the shadow of the flower stem appears on the wall behind it.

The recent focus on using native plants in the garden has resulted in a plethora of new kangaroo paw cultivars hitting the market. The flowers now come in many colours from deepest burgundy to silvery-white, or a combination like this vivid red/black/emerald scheme. Some, including this one, have slate-blue hues in the foliage, which is in my opinion an improvement on the standard green. This particular variety is called 'Royal Cheer'

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Vancouver in June

You always take a risk with the weather, visiting Vancouver in June, but I didn't really expect only one (1) sunny day out of fourteen. Still, it didn't actually rain much, even though the skies were cloudy and the temperature so low that I never got to wear the shorts I had optimistically packed.
And besides, the highlights were the times we spent with family and friends.

Visiting my brother-in-law at work gave me an opportunity to photograph the city from a bird's eye point of view, including:

The beautiful terracotta icing on the Marine building -

and its frieze of seahorses -

Downtown landscaping from above -

And the preparations for a green roof on a new waterfront project -

The last day of my visit was the one sunny day,and also, by good fortune, the weekend of the Vancouver Open Garden Scheme, so my good friend Sally and I went to have a look.

Water features, small and large, were popular elements:

A mirror on the far side of one pond gave me the opportunity to snap Sally and me together.

I particularly liked the hot tropical effects in this small garden:

And the thoughtful groupings of colour and form on this much grander estate: