Friday, March 12, 2010

a guided tour through some highlights of the Botanic Gardens

A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to be taken on a guided walk with Ray Steward who has a long connection to the Gardens at Mt Coot-tha. I will be posting on that very soon - once images come together! Ray has a most interesting story from considerable lifetime experience it must be said!

Armed with umbrella and camera last friday I met up with Bettina Palmer who's been involved at Mt Coot-Tha for over 10 years in various volunteer capacities, including conducting guided tours on this site. 
Attending a meeting of volunteer guides earlier this month it was impressive to see how many people  give time on a regular basis - highlighting the important role played by volunteers to carry out and maintain many enriching activities.
Bettina has also worked at the Seed Lab at Mt Coot-tha for the Millennium Seedbank Project which I shall soon be posting on. She has been exploring the use of seeds for jewellery. Her other designs are excellent so I hope to have something to show here using seeds in the coming months.
Last Friday was an excellent opportunity as Bettina took me into areas of the Gardens I was curious to know more about or  had not as yet explored. Several images below are from the Aboriginal Plant Trail which brought to life some of what I been have reading about of late.

The children's trail features a series of commissioned sculptures, some placed intriguingly amidst the plants requiring a search following numbers and hints on a brochure. My eye was drawn to the image of seeds  dispersing carved on the side of this sandstone sculpture below. The close-up brings this to light.

This extraordinary fungi was quite a sight - orange and brown -so striking and the oddness of them appearing (as if) out of nowhere. Constant recent rain no doubt brought on the many fungi species popping up all over the place - some so subtle - almost invisible to the eye -  unlike this one.

This image of the bromeliad above does not do it justice - at all. It was a shock or yellow and red amidst all the green and rainy grey sky.

This flower above is from a rather remarkable tree native to Asia bearing the fruit below known as an elephant's apple apparently as it is enjoyed by elephants in native India and elsewhere. Read about the Dillenia Indica tree here.

below: seeds from the soursop (Annona muricata) from the Magnoliaceae family. I was astonished to see the way the decomposing fruit finally revealed these bright yellow ochre seeds. 

Clearly I am going to have to take along a notebook with camera on the next guided tour - minus the umbrella! Pouring over the photos now it's a challenge to recall all that was passed on to me at the time. NOTE TO SELF: A challenge to be accurate if notes are not taken down at the time! Layers of information, context, history, stories were shared by Bettina - a most excellent guide. This tour of the Gardens ignited enthusiasm for the past week in the studio where downloaded images, collected seeds and pods (by special arrangement) and books were plundered for inspiration.

above:  seeds and pods collected on different dates from various locations. 
below: Image from a journal I am keeping this year - its proving very useful to go between visits to Mt Coot-tha, various books and internet resources to build knowledge slowly and methodically. In little over a month there is a sense of not being quite as 'lost at sea' as I was! Instead, awareness of where to seek further information and the importance of dialogue is critical at times -  so it's wonderful to have the opportunity for contact with staff and volunteers alike.
Thank you Bettina for your generous time and wonderful engagement with endless queries and diversions, all with humour and grace!


Altoon Sultan said...

Thanks for the interesting tour, Sophie. I especially like the wacky mushrooms, and think the grouping of seeds and fruits of varying colors, shapes and sizes is very beautiful. The journal page is stunning, in the way you've composed it, integrating image and text, and used the green color as background. Lovely!

Maggie Neale said...

Wonderful collection of seeds! And the yellow green pages in your sketch book with the writing over it is so intriguing and lush, blending with the leaves. Of course, it is certainly a color we in Vermont are looking forward to seeing. Nice wander in the garden with you, Sophie.

Sophie Munns said...

Thanks for visiting and leaving your comment Altoon.
Once upon a time I loved to collect things from the sea as well, but since moving to Brisbane it is the pods and what's hiding within that compels me to collect as I go on walks. Much of my home collection is from walks, friends and children especially who enjoy finding things for me.
The more you notice the MORE you see. Its the same for you I know from visiting your blog and reading your appreciation for the world around you....natural and man-made.
I am looking forward to seeing what grows from your earlier cultivation of seeds.
Fine comments about the journal composition are most appreciated. Whilst working on it I was thinking about Nth Stradbroke Island, one of the places where it is to be found growing and I seemed to have slipped into a deep reverie of contentment (this is a place i love!) and when I finished working this had happened.
Isn't that the most wondrous space to work from when it happens Altton?

Sophie Munns said...

hello Maggie,
You must be so ready for this colour of new life in the garden after the months of snow!
Lovely that you have had a walk in the Gardens with me today... may you enjoy the coming spring days and thanks for greeting me today with warm comments!

Mlle Paradis said...

Oh sigh! Sophie! I am feeling a little jealous and wistful again here. I always wanted to do something like this at Kew Gardens and here you are doing quite a similar thing!!! I had never seen the elephant apple before that is a fabulous flower! I love your little box of seed and bits. What a nice little walk you've had.

I love your energy and inquisitiveness. I'm soaking this all in through my pores but I know I'll only be able to retain a soupcon of it! Thanks for the opportunity tho!

Mlle Paradis said...

oh p.s. yay! your journal page and the place it came from and took you to!

Dorothy said...

This is my first visit and it was so refreshing reminded me that I should go to our gardens in the city of Buffalo, which I will now..


Dorothy from grammology

Anonymous said...

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Sophie Munns said...

Mlle Paradis,
Lovely to come home from a busy weekend away to your message. Shame you weren't able to get to do the seed work - I'm finding there are related projects maybe you will do something at some stage.

About the retaining of things - yes...well that is also a bit of a challenge for me. I found I was forgetting importing details when posting this and wrote to Bettina for feedback and she kindly assisted.
Pen and paper is important.
Its good to be around others of passion, curiosity and energy Im sure you appreciate Mlle Paradis. It is a sure way of getting fired up one seflf and maintaining enthusiasm.
Thanks for your response re the journal... makes a difference - Yes?

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Dorothy,
I'm glad you popped in here today.
I also find blogging connects me to things that are often freely available and close by in some cases - sometimes to be reminded is the best thing!
Best wishes,

Sophie Munns said...

Hello there Anon!
Very pleased to hear that the blog was beneficial for your work.
Do visit again and email if you have questions.

Candice Herne said...

Nice journal entry Sophie bottom photograph of your post.

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Candy,
how lovely of you to leave a message,

Sanne said...

Your journal is wonderful! it makes me want to see more ;-)

sophie munns said...

Hello Sanne,

I am just working in my journal tonight so it was lovely to read you warm remarks!
I shall post pages from time to time,

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