Thursday, September 19, 2013

Local focus

Since moving house recently Ive been enjoying seeing Brisbane from a slightly different angle. No longer on the side of a large hill close to the Brisbane River in a suburb with white painted Queenslanders renovated to perfection Ive moved 10 or 15 minutes further out from the city and have two creeks not so far away to go explore in a suburb that is a more of a mix of post WWII homes and contemporary homes, with less trees and gardens on the whole then where I was living.

However the renewal of local creeks by active catchment groups and volunteers means that these areas are bringing birds and waterways back to life I'm pleased to say. 

Today I caught up with Denise whom I met in 2009 when working in the Seed Lab at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. I wrote a post on Denise in 2010 and its been one of the most visited posts on this blog incidentally.

Denise at the Seed lab in 2010
These photos were taken by Denise and included in the earlier post:

Sterculia quadrifida - the peanut tree is native in this region and edible, striking easily from seed and is also known to be fast growing. Interested in planting it? Its perfectly suited to this region but bear in mind it does grow to 18 metres! The pods are spectacular and the black seeds are the edible bit. Its available in local council nurseries.

Acacia mangium still in its pod (top photo) and separated (underneath). If you observe closely these have an amazing yellow cord - like an umbilical cord almost - linking black seeds to pods. It zig zags out if you carefully unravel it! Denise notes its very strong smell and says a mask is required for cleaning. She points out some acacia have a soft seed coat and are easy to release...others need hot water and prying open. 

She's been volunteering at a number of sites over the last 10 years... and today took me to the one closest to her home in the Kedron Avenues... named Bennelong.

We trecked around in the midday sun and I got a great introduction to the area she knows so well having spent one day a week over ten year coming down to work here as if it were her back-yard garden.

I took samples of various finds home to my studio... love these red quandong leaves and the stalks from Lomandra grasses which Denise gave m a full introduction to on request today. More on that another time! Tonight I'm doing a very quick post!

Lomandra seeds which I am going to grow ... images in the background are from a book we were looking at on local species.

Loved these spectacular leaves from the Quandong tree with their amazing insect trails which characteristically are to be found wherever there is a tree at this stage in its cycle.

I painted the fruit of these trees in 2009 and find them stunning with their blue skinned fruit and bright green flesh ... and the bright red and bright green leaves. Different varieties have other coloured fruits but in eastern Qld I have certainly come across the blue Quandongs quite frequently.

The photo below was taken at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and the painting above was done in acrylic and inks on the oval canvas. 

I will be back sometime with more on a local project.

And warm thanks to Denise for taking me seed-collecting today! All volunteers welcomed by the way!

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