On Creativity : Part 2 : Developing Creativity

Creativity is an endlessly fascinating subject! Last week, I discussed its importance, our personal experiences and the universality of creativity, especially in children, and how its practice and confident application decreases with age. Sadly, the 2012 Adobe study on creativity, mentioned in the previous post on creativity, showed that only 1 in 4 people – believe they are living up to their own creative potential (http://www.creativityatwork.com/2012/04/23/the-global-creativity-gap/), but the good news is that creativity can be redeveloped!

‘Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate profits.’                                         Edward de Bono

In their book : ‘The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators’, Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton M. Christensen describe ‘Innovators DNA’  (https://hbr.org/2009/12/the-innovators-dna). According to them , the ability to generate innovative ideas is not merely a function of the mind, but also a function of five key behaviours that optimize the brain for discovery :

  • Associating : drawing connections between questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields;
  • Questioning : posing queries that challenge common wisdom;
  • Observing : scrutinizing the behavior of customers, suppliers, and competitors to identify new ways of doing things;
  • Networking : meeting people with different ideas and perspectives; and
  • Experimenting: constructing interactive experiences and provoking unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge.

‘Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while’                                 Steve Jobs

Here are my views on what worked for us!

Creativity can be developed and fostered by :

1. Provision of materials; learning spaces; learning opportunities and inspiration
2. Exercises and practice
3. Recognizing its importance and paying homage to it
4. Praise and encouragement

1a. Learning materials

Spending the majority of our lives on a single income, we have never been wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, at least not in our Western world, but we have never felt poor, because of the richness of our daily lives and our beautiful flowers! And we have always had enough money to spend on material, tools and books for creativity. Of course, the list varies according to the creative form involved, but these are a few of the essential items, at least for us!!

1. Art Materials:

: Paper and cardboard of all types/ thicknesses/ textures; huge wall blackboard
: Pencils, textas, pens and inks, pastels and crayons;
: Paints – watercolour/oils/gouache;
: Brushes and nibs;
: Variety of glues and pastes, hot glue gun;
: Screen-printing and batik frames and easels; printing press
: Palettes and empty jars;
: Compasses, rulers and measuring tapes;
: Recycled items- from jars and tins to old chocolate coloured foil papers, boxes, broken china and metalware; even old milk cartons as used in the photo below.
: Hardware – nails and drawing pins, lino cutting tools, carpentry tools, eye glassesBlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 07.34.33BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 07.40.57BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.28.31BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 15.44.13

2. Craft Materials:

: Materials and threads of all types;
: Needles and sewing kits;
: Variety of scissors and cutting boards and tools;
: Sewing machine and overlocker;
: Sequins, buttons, flowers, shells and decorative paraphernalia;
: Fabric dyes/ indigo/ natural dyeing supplies;
: Washing machine, iron;
: Broken tiles and china for mosaics.BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 07.35.28BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 19.45.563. Music

: Instruments; Space; Metronome; Tape recorder.

4. Drama

: Costumes; Home stage; Audience.

5. Science

: science lab;
: microscope;
: collecting material;
: magnifying glass;
: binoculars;
: telescope.

6. General

: Books : How-to guides, as well as imaginative stories

: Magazines : for inspiration and collage

: Computer : an amazing and increasingly growing resource, both in content and importance – for knowledge and inspiration – Pinterest is SO WONDERFUL!!!, as well as for word processing, photo storage, communication, selling your work on Etsy or EBay, recording and now BLOGGING!!!

: Camera/ Mobile Phone : For recording the development of your project; the completed product and sending images of your work to friends and family for advice or just praise and recognition!!!

: Photocopier/Printer

: Tracing equipment : Light box; Tracing paper; Carbon paper; See photo below.

: Sketch pads, diaries and art journals and A4 folders of magazine cuttings, ideas, computer printouts, course leaflets

: Wall display board – for creative inspirations, display or pinning up your work so you can ruminate on improvements/ developments and future directions.BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-02-03 11.29.13BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 07.36.10: Mood boards are also fun to create, as they make you focus on what’s important to you. In the case of my mood board (shown below) :  beauty, roses ( especially Old Roses), textiles, felt toys, the Arts and Crafts Movement led by William Morris and environment are all highly important and significant in my life, though perhaps I now need a new one featuring embroidery as well!!! It includes the famous and meaningful quote by William Morris : ‘Have nothing in your houses, which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’; a photo of the famous Peace rose, whose history was described in Antonia Ridges’s lovely book ‘For the Love of a Rose’; an old pink Tea Rose called ‘Countess Bertha’, very popular in Australia in the 1930s, and my first rose grown from a cutting; Gaia holding our fragile and very special planet Earth, symbolizing my love of environment; a William Morris textile design of roses and my felt Gaia, made from handmade felt, in a workshop with Elizabeth Armstrong.BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 19.47.39

: A collection of inspirational quotes about creativity is also very beneficial, especially of you are having an off-day or are stuck in a rut ! Here are some good starter sites : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/creativity.html
and http://daringtolivefully.com/creativity-quotes.

A particularly inspirational site is : http://www.theseeds4life.com.

1b. Learning spaces and environment

1.A special spot is ideal, as you can leave everything out, for easy resumption of your activity when you have time. This may be a studio, sewing room, music room, library or tool shed, but it could equally be just a small corner in the house. The photos are my sewing room and my daughter’s spot in our old garage when she used to make her own glass beads and jewellery. I love her sea beads in the sand!BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-02-03 11.28.04BlogCreativity2 30%Reszd2015-10-13 16.39.11BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.38.16These are some lovely books on the topic :

‘The Textile Artist’s Studio Handbook’ by Owyn Ruck and Visnja Popovic

‘Inside the Creative Studio’ by Cate Coulacas Prato

‘Where Women Create’ by Jo Packham

‘A Room of Her Own’ by Chris Casson Madden

2.Whatever the amount of space, organization is essential, so that everything is easily accessible, especially if the space available is small or temporary or you are renovating ! The year I studied Clothing Assembly, we were also renovating an old house and I was continually having to buy second items to replace lost requirements!!! ‘A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place’ is my mantra !Blog Late Summer20%Reszd2015-01-31 15.56.30BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-02-03 11.28.58BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-02-03 11.18.58BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 08.17.38

Not that everything is always organized and tidy all the time, especially when I am working on a project, but I always like to tidy up at the end. Also, keep a check on supplies and top up regularly.

3.Your local environment is important too.

: Cultivate beauty in your natural environment, garden, house and decor

eg Art work on the walls – your own or inspirational work of others – it need not be expensive – it could even be magazine cut-outs or computer print-outs.

Here are some photos of examples of this concept: a staircase made to our design; a beautiful old cane chair decorated with daisies and Vinca major; a birthday cake and high tea and a stunning vase of colourful dahlias.BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 15.27.28BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 15.28.02Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0064BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.37.37: Also cultivate beauty in your personal appearance and clothing : good health and fitness are very important, as well as looking good and wearing clothes that engender creativity.

‘To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.’                              Osho

: Music can promote creativity. Read the following articles about its importance :

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2014/06/24/music creative_n_5511501.html?ir=Australia


4. A special quiet spot for relaxation, meditation and dreaming is also important.

1c. Learning opportunities

: School : Art lessons all the way through, even for science students; choir and drama. I’d like to see special classes in creativity for all school students in the future!!!

: Extra-Curricular activities : local art gallery, artists and craft people, music and drama lessons and performances.

: Adult courses : TAFE/ Adult Education/ Other artists : Design, Colour theory and technique.

: Self education : Books and magazines; Computers and internet – there are so many courses available now.

: Libraries – books and courses.

1d. Inspiration

‘Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”’

Jim Jarmusch [MovieMaker Magazine #53 – Winter, January 22, 2004 ].

Whereas C.E.M. Joad said :

‘Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.’

: 1. Natural World :

‘The world is but a canvas to the imagination.’                   Henry David Thoreau

‘An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.’                                         David Attenborough

a. Nature : including seasonal changes, gardens and National Parks

b. Old botanical prints and artwork :   I love the work of Ernst Haeckel. See : http://www.kuriositas.com/2012/01/art-forms-of-nature-ernst-haeckel.html

c. Books and websites about Nature : Here are some to get you started:



‘Geometry Structure : From Nature to Design’ by Daniela Bertol and her website : http://danielabertol.com/and blogs : http://axesmundi.blogspot.com.au/ and http://artesolare.blogspot.com.au/

‘Patterns in Nature’ by Peter S Stevens. See : http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4037713-patterns-in-nature

http://www.maths.surrey.ac.uk/hosted-sites/R.Knott/Fibonacci/fibnat.htmlBlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 15.27.35BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 15.27.58BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.41.04BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.40.38BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-11 09.39.21BlogCreativity2 30%Reszd2015-10-13 15.31.012. Patterns

A good starting point. I like to try a pattern out once, then adapt it with different techniques, materials and threads or tweak a recipe like Chronicle of Ellen (https://chronicleofellen.wordpress.com/) did with my Mum’s Apple Cake recipe.

3. Books and Magazines :

a. Old books : I love new contemporary guides, but it is also worth searching out old books from the days when there was more time to pursue creative pursuits. I have some lovely old books on embroidery, toy making and home making, gardening and cookery from the first half of the 20th century, as well as older guides downloaded from :


http://www.gutenberg.org                and


b. Imaginative fiction: For example, reading the description of the giant puppets in London in ‘Nina in Utopia’ by Miranda Miller sent me scurrying to the internet to read this site : http://www.royal-de-luxe.com/en/company/ and the puppets have since visited the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival : see  https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/24540796/strings-pulled-to-secure-giants/.

c. Magazines : To name a few of my favourites and they all have blogs as well:

: Frankie : http://www.frankie.com.au/

: Tickle the Imagination : http://www.tickletheimagination.com.au/

: Selvedge : http://www.selvedge.org/

: Paper Cloth Scissors : http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/

: Country Living – English edition : http://www.countryliving.co.uk/

: Victoria : http://www.victoriamag.com/

d. Libraries : The library is a wonderful place to find inspiration and on that note : another wonderful book is ‘Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter’s Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects’ by Jessica Pigsa.

e. Poetry : I love the poetry of Dylan Thomas, whose use of words is highly imaginative and creative.

f. Art guides and Artist books are very inspirational, as are visits to :

4. Art Galleries, including visiting exhibitions and sculpture shows . Some of our favourites are :

National Gallery of Victoria: http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au

Art Gallery of New South Wales : http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

National Gallery of Australia : http://nga.gov.au

Ivy Hill Gallery : http://www.ivyhill.com.au/

Narek Galleries : http://www.narekgalleries.com/

I absolutely adored Narek Gakkeries’ recent exhibition of Annie Franklin’s exhibition ‘Small Kingdoms’ of her amazing paintings and exquisite fine porcelain bowls. See :
http://www.narekgalleries.com/previous_exhibitions_2015.htm and http://anniefranklin.com/

5. Museums and collections :

My siblings and I all had separate collecting hobbies from stamps and shells to gemstones, fossils and butterflies.

I used to love the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery : http://www.tmag.tas.gov.au – it is still one of my favourites!

6. Performances including plays, music and film.

7. Dreams :  often weird and wonderful, but make perfect sense at the time !!!

8. Computer and Internet :

I often cut-and-paste inspirational ideas to a Word document and save the folder on my desktop or print it for later use and store in A4 folders, though I have so many now that, despite my organization, they are still sometimes difficult to locate!

As for Pinterest….! It opened my world !!!

9. Travel : the ultimate aid for developing creativity!!! Take lots of exploratory trips! They are refreshing and informative and inspirational!


1.Critical analysis and Art Journals :

With all these wonderful sources of inspiration, it is important to try and work out what it is that you like about the image/idea and note them down, including techniques used, in an art journal, inspiration diary or travel sketchbook.

I love the latter, often as much as the completed art work, and it is good to see the inspirations behind the art. I am also a sucker for books about creating art journals:

‘Artist’s Journal Workshop : Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures’ by Cathy Johnson

‘Making Journals By Hand’ by Jason Thompson

‘The Decorated Journal’ by Gwen Diehn

‘Create Your Own Artist’s Journal ‘   by Erin O’Toole                     and

‘Creating Sketchbooks For Embroiderers and Textile Artists’    by Kay GreenleesBlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 08.22.182. Cross-fertilise :

a.Cross-fertilise activities : Try out and practice different techniques and courses across the board – it all goes into the Creativity-generating pot! eg cooking, gardening. Remember more begets more – it opens the floodgates of creativity! The photo below shows my daughter’s CD cover, which she designed herself, combining her love of guitar playing, nature and zentangle drawing. If you want to know more about creating zentangles, see : https://www.zentangle.com/ .

b. Cross-fertilise patterns : Often knitting and cross-stitch patterns can be used interchanged. I have a wonderful book by Alice Starmore called ‘Alice Starmore’s Charts For Colour Knitting, which is one such book. See : https://www.virtualyarns.com/store/books/

BlogCreativity140%ReszdImage copy

2. Exercises and Practice

There are so many books, which offer methods and techniques to develop creativity and improve the left brain-right brain balance. Look for books by :

a. Edward de Bono : http://www.edwdebono.com/, especially famous for his concept of ‘Six Thinking Hats’ : http://www.debonothinkingsystems.com/tools/6hats.htm

b. Betty Edwards : http://www.drawright.com/. Her book ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ offers much information on the right and left hemispheres of the brain, as well as techniques including : drawing upside-down or with the non-dominant hand, using negative space, speedy gesture drawing and drawing blind.

I once did a course using her methods and I remember sketching a lady with glasses using the latter technique. As soon as I could look at my drawing, my critical left brain immediately kicked in, when I saw that I had drawn one lens square and one lens round. I was only when I really looked at her properly and the angle that I was drawing her from, that I realized I had drawn her glasses accurately, but it was a real lesson in the power of the left brain !!!BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 08.19.31c. Julia Cameron : ‘The Artist’s Way’ and ‘Vein of Gold’ : http://juliacameronlive.com/

d. Sarkhttp://planetsark.com/ : ‘Succulent Wild Woman’; ‘Inspiration Sandwich’ and ‘Sark’s Journal and Play! Book’                                     and

e. Tony Buzan : For brainstorming and mind maps. http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/~charles57/Creative/Mindmap/

If that is not enough, there are also some wonderful websites including :

http://greatist.com/happiness/ways-to-boost-creativity     and http://www.creativityatwork.com

The Creativity at Work website above cites a study in Creativity by Exeter University, UK, which showed that excellence is determined by:
• opportunities
• encouragement
• training
• motivation, and
• most of all – practice.

Here are some of my thoughts on the subject :

1.Don’t be afraid of mess ! It’s all part of the creative process, especially during its execution. You can tidy up at the end. It is why having your own space is so beneficial! This concept is particularly important when encouraging your kids’ creativity or teaching your husband to cook!!!

2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes ! They are a quintessential part of learning and can be a plus and lead to new ideas or a totally different result than planned. Remember experimentation is essential to creativity. You can always unpick or cover over mistakes. For example, my daughter’s doll, which she made aged 8 years old.BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 15.33.09BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 15.14.20‘The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.’
 Sylvia Plath, ‘The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath’

‘If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.’
 Ken Robinson, ‘The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything’

‘To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.’  Joseph Chilton Pearce

3. Leave your critical left brain at the door.

4. Be prepared to be flexible and allow the work to gain its own momentum. Start with the germ of an notion about its development, but avoid a totally preconceived idea of the end product. It is not about reproducing a perfect facsimile or a bland industrial product, but rather individuality, difference, uniqueness and home-made! I often found when making dolls and soft toys that the characters take on a life of their own and it is amazing to see, when doing courses with the same pattern, how no one doll is the same and how they tend to take on their creator’s personality. The former was very clearly demonstrated at a Shellyback Bogle workshop at the Millennium Madness : First Australian Cloth Doll-O-Rama in Brisbane, August 2000, with Jeraldine Just (http://www.thingsilike.net/justau.html). Shellyback Bogle are mythical creatures, who stowed away on convict boats and live underground in drains. They have dull colours and are very textural. Here are photos of all the different versions, made with the one pattern, as well as my warrior and his bride, who I made later on to keep him company.BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 15.34.10BlogCreativity2 30%Reszd2015-10-13 15.34.06BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.08.47‘Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it’                 Salvador Dali

‘Individuality of expression is the beginning and end of all art.’
 Johannes Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)        ‘Proverbs in Prose’

Similarly, if you don’t have all the correct materials or thread colours, be prepared to experiment and use what you already have, unless it is absolutely necessary to have the desired ingredient or requirement. For example, on my Seabird cushion cover for my Mum, I didn’t own any grey perle threads at the time (I do now!!), so I used purple for the sea eagle (very regal!) and light blue for the seagull (very marine). When I finished the latter, I realized its tail was directed upwards, which my left brain condemned, but because I felt its orientation was indicative of the cheeky nature of these birds, I left it – only to see a seagull with an upward tail later on !!!BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-07-12 11.50.33And remember if you want to represent an image and you have no confidence in your drawing ability, you can always trace, then adapt!!! Light boxes and photocopiers/ printers are indispensable!!!

3. Paying Homage to Creativity

Recognize and vindicate its importance by making it one of your main priorities.

a.Make time for creativity

My experience of full-time work showed how difficult it was to find free time to practice my creative pursuits. Not only do you need time to relax and dream, but also for ideas to develop and for completion of the actual task.

A deadline is also quite useful. My classic way of working is to dream up the idea, do a little research, let it sit for a bit to ferment, start one element of the design, procrastinate a little, especially when things don’t quite go the way I want or I’ve had to unpick or am not in the right zone! Then, especially as the deadline approaches, I get a run-on, I have a few successes and suddenly I’m nearly finished and very very happy with the result !!! Not to mention,  getting it all done on time!!!

Although sometimes, I don’t! I have to admit that I do have a pile of past UFOs, but not so many these days!!!

I often find that 3 am – 4 am is often a peak creativity time for me – whether it is because I’ve already had a sleep or my subconscious has been working overtime or it is something to do with sleep stages and brain waves, but if I happen to wake up at this time, my brain is overflowing with ideas and I find it best to write them down straight away, so that a) I can get back to sleep and b) I don’t forget them!

Of course, it annoys my husband like hell, because invariably he has already been awake for an hour or two and neither the lamp switching on and off all the time nor the scribbling sound of the pencil is conducive to falling back to sleep. So I try to be as quiet, quick and non-obtrusive as possible and jot down my notes in the dark ! Often, I will accidentally overwrite my notes, making it very challenging to decipher them in the morning – most of this essay was written that way ! – but it does use up a lot of pages of my notebook and I dream of a lighted pen or being able to download my thoughts on a personal Hard Drive – I know that is supposed to be my brain, but there are just so many thoughts twirling and whirling away in that tiny little space!!! Sometimes I think that speaking into a tape recorder might be quicker, but that would be even noisier !!!

BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-09-30 08.07.18

b. Practice often and daily – in any form of creativity from art and craft to music and drama, gardening and cookery and even blogging !!!

‘You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.’  Maya Angelou

‘You see things; and you say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not’?”‘                                                                               George Bernard Shaw

‘Every day is an opportunity to be creative – the canvas is your mind, the brushes and colours are your thoughts and feelings, the panorama is your story, the complete picture is a work of art called, “my life”. Be careful what you put on the canvas of your mind today – it matters.’          Innerspace                                            

c. Keep your eyes open all the time for any opportunity to practice our creativity. Constantly question- what if ?– and use your lateral thinking skills and imagination to solve problems and deal with issues. Use it in all areas.

For example, I have printed my resume in green ink in the past and for a job advertisement for a floristry position, I once wrote a very corny little ditty ! It got me the initial interview with the job agency, but unfortunately the florist changed her mind about employing extra help. And this was before I studied floristry!!!

d. And remember age is irrelevant – it is just an excuse for fearful procrastination. Far better you start now, if you haven’t already, than when you are 80 years old!

Mary Ann Shaffer wrote her bestseller and one and only book ‘ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ just before her death in 2008 at the age of 73 years old. See : http://www.randomhouse.com/rhpg/guernsey/book/.

Mrs Mary Delaney produced her exquisite floral paper collages back in the 1700s when she was 68 years old. See:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/articles/m/mary_delany_1700-88.aspx   and   http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com.au/2010/04/botanicals-on-black-paper-and-mary.html   and my previous post :

‘Ambassadors of Spring’  (https://candeloblooms.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/ambassadors-of-spring/)

We used to visit a wonderful pair of older ladies in their  80s and early 90s, who used to run an art gallery in the delightful National Trust town of Millthorpe, near Orange, NSW. Ada Clark was so inspirational. Even though she was blind in one eye and had various health issues, she painted beautiful pictures and still travelled regularly in her  80s to places like Morocco, Turkey and Greece, as well as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, from where she imported their pottery and wonderful felt Shyrdak rugs. For an idea of these rugs, see : http://www.shyrdak-felt-rugs.com/. Ada’s sister made beautiful embroidered purses and bags and the sisters arranged all their sale products in very attractive colour ranges. They inspired me to research and make a textile postcard, employing the technique used to make the rugs (see photo below). Quite difficult on such a small scale! Unfortunately, Ada’s Place is no longer open, but for many years, this wonderful pair inspired me (and still do!) with their joyous use of colour, their passion for life, their energy and vitality and their positive get-up-and-go mentality. I hope that I have her energy when I am older!!! Ada even has her own website : http://www.adaclark.com, so you can still see her wonderful paintings and make purchases.

BlogCreativity2 20%Reszdlost city phone 123BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 08.18.41BlogCreativity2 20%Reszdlost city phone 121BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 07.41.25‘There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.’                                                                               Sophia Loren

4. Praise and Encouragement

a. Be gentle on yourself ! No one can be an expert initially – it takes time and practice and everyone is unique and has their own style.

b. Share your achievements with family and friends for encouragement, suggestions and just sheer adulation !!! But don’t necessarily take any criticisms on board, unless you asked for help and the critique is positive and done in good faith and you feel the advice has merit! Listen to your Inner Voice and not necessarily the over-critical negative one!

‘We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own and other people’s models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open.’                                                            Shakti Gawain

‘A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.’                                                                                                                        Charles Brower

‘Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom while discouragement often nips it at the bud.’                                     Alex Osborn

c. Praise others’ artwork and support their efforts – financially, by purchasing their work if you can afford it, or psychologically.

Kids in particular thrive in a positive nurturing environment. I read Kaffe Fassett’s autobiography ‘Dreaming in Colour’ recently and it was not only fascinating, but an ideal example of the success of the latter principle! See : http://www.kaffefassett.com/Dreaming_in_Color.html

I know, from a personal angle, that I owe an enormous debt to my ever-supportive husband, who encourages me constantly with positive feedback, no matter how wacky or changeable my ideas (Gemini girls – a Libran partner is your best bet !!!), and also allows me the time (by continuing to do the cooking and sweeping!) and resources to pursue my creativity. My kids, family and friends are also great supporters of my work.

So thank you everyone! And may your creative adventures continue to blossom!!!

‘The highest prize we can receive for creative work is the joy of being creative. Creative effort spent for any other reason than the joy of being in that light filled space, love, god, whatever we want to call it, is lacking in integrity. . .’
                                                                                                             Marianne Williamson

Albert Einstein can have the final word :

‘The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.’

‘Old Man’s Advice to Youth: “Never Lose a Holy Curiosity.”‘                                           LIFE Magazine (2 May 1955), p. 64

The Reign of the Roses

Roses, roses, roses!!! Their season has finally arrived! And this is just their first year!!! I always remember finding it incredibly difficult to take holidays in November, as this is prime rose flowering time!!! It is so exciting discovering each new bloom every day! The Soho Bed smells divine at the moment and looks fantastic. It has come a long way from its beginnings at the start of this year!BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 16.16.13BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2953BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3035Among the new blooms are :

Hybrid Teas: The Children’s Rose (pink); Lolita (orange-pink).Ice Girl (white) and Mr. Lincoln (deep red and super fragrant);BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 16.16.21BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 16.16.55BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2954BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.37.48And David Austins: Fair Bianca (white); Eglantyne (light pink); L D Braithwaite (deep red) and Alnwick (warm pink).BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2959BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3033BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 16.45.00BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 16.44.55BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2998BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-27 08.40.01The Moon Bed is following suit with David Austins: Troilus (cream) and Golden Celebration (gold).BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.37.21BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 16.17.23BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3031BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.37.05The Old-fashioned Rose Bed by the shed sports : Viridiflora; Archiduc Joseph; Countess Bertha and Maigold.BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.45.17BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3010BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2949BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2976The climbing Noisette rose over the path beyond the Soho Bed, Alister Stella Gray, will be pushing for a supportive arch before we know it!BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 16.16.06BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2999Here is the promised photo of Lamarque, the Noisette climber against the house, and I cannot resist adding one more photo of the Paul’s Himalayan Musk on the other side of the house.BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.33.27BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2991And the rose hedges are in full swing :

White Hybrid Musks : Autumn Delight (Photo 1); Penelope (photo 2) and  Kathleen (photos 3 and 4);BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 13.53.37BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 07.52.28BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 07.52.52BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2966Pink Hedge : Hybrid Musk roses : Cornelia (photos 1 and 2) and Felicia (photo 3); and China rose : Mutabilis (photos 4 to 6), whose single fragile blooms of variable colour always remind me of a flight of butterflies!BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2967BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2969BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-27 08.40.43BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-27 08.41.19BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 15.13.38BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 15.13.25The rugosa hedge : Frau Dagmar Hastrup (pale pink) and Roseraie de l’Hay ( deep purple pink).BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-21 14.15.29BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 15.13.14The cutting garden is still resplendent with outrageous colour from the Dutch Iris, Cornflowers, Ranunculas and Iceland Poppies and now the Calendula (last photo).BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2941BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2987BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.40.55BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.40.41BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2963BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.40.33BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.40.24BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.38.35The Dutch Cream potatoes are up in the vegie garden and the heritage tomato plants are powering along, as are the rhubarb, raspberry canes and  black currant bush. The blueberries, miniscule as they are, are covered in full berry and the citrus are equally well-festooned with sweetly scented flowers. The red bottlebrush (Callistemon) has its first flower and has plenty of buds, so will be quite a show!BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3003BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 16.47.17BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 16.53.05BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 16.48.08I was momentarily excited when I discovered that the fruit on our White Mulberry tree was reddening up, thinking that maybe we had been given a false identification and had after all my favourite Black Mulberry instead, but on further investigation, found that White Mulberry fruit can be white, red or black and from looking at the leaves, I’m pretty sure that it is a White Mulberry unfortunately! But they are the favourite food of silkworms and you can still eat the fruit- it is just a slightly different taste to that of Black Mulberries! And I discovered that we have tree-climbing snails! I am not sure if they are after the new apples or the mulberries!BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.33.51BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.33.56I love the blue border (Convovulus mauritanicus) of the maple bed and my Rosalie Geranium has been encouraged to join suit! I still find the bromeliads very exotic and worthy of a Dr. Who set!BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2993BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2983The Acanthus mollis spires and lilies are multiplying every day and the hydrangeas and buddleias are becoming quite large, the former almost overpowering the Green Goddess calla lilies.BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3022BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3039

The snowball tree is still in full bloom and creating a white carpet of snowfall below and the red rhododendron provides a small splash of colour in the shade.BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.44.50BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2944The Virginalis philadelphus has tripled in size and sports beautifully scented white blooms and the Carolina Allspice, which was so slow to regain its foliage, is expanding rapidly and even has a small bud, which is very exciting!!! We also discovered some purple bearded iris hiding under the cumquats! Once they have finished flowering, we will move them to the border of the Moon Bed to multiply and receive the recognition they deserve!BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 15.14.55BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3012Garden tasks this week have mainly focused on weeding, mulching and watering, though the pergola supporting the Banksia rose is almost finished with all the cross pieces mortised in and fastened to the fence for extra strength.BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 16.39.04BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-25 16.39.17We had a visit from this cute little lost dog late Friday afternoon, so spent the evening searching for her owner, before boarding her with a friend for the weekend. We put up notices all round town, but the next day she was back! She obviously likes the place and made herself a bed in the mondo grass and nerines at the base of the Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose. We gave her a meal of premium nonfat mince, raw egg and bread and she spent the night in her spot. Fortunately, her owner turned up. He was visiting his mother, who lives nearby, and his pet had escaped through an open gate. We were amazed to find out that her name is Scamp and she is 15 years old, the age and name of our old dog, who died in July!!!BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 16.56.08BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3028BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 16.56.04BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 15.17.12Next door has a new sheep- this very cute black lamb! And finally the ever-fascinating backdrop to our little piece of Heaven!BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 17.37.19BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-26 17.36.43


On Creativity : Part 1 : Everyone Has It !

‘The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.’                          Alan Alda

I have always wanted to write about creativity, as it has always been a very important part of my life and it should be for every person.

The English Oxford Dictionary (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/creativity) defines ‘Creativity’ as :

  ‘The use of imagination or original ideas to create something’ or ‘inventiveness’.

Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/creativity?s=t ) goes further with :

‘the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination’.

It is one of the fundamental human needs, classified by Max Neef, who was an economist, famous for his taxonomy of Fundamental Human Needs and Human Scale Development. These needs include: subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, recreation (in the sense of leisure, time to reflect, or idleness), creation, identity and freedom and can also be defined according to the existential categories of being (qualities), having (things), doing (actions) and interacting (settings), complete with how they can be satisfied.

In the case of Creation (and Creativity) :
Being : Imagination; Boldness; Inventiveness; Curiosity
Having : Abilities; Skills; Work; Techniques
Doing : Invent; Build; Design; Work; Compose; Interpret
Interaction : Spaces for expression; Workshops; Audiences

Here are some websites if you want to read some of Max Neef’s works :




Creativity is incredibly important, not just for an individual’s richness of life, but also for the world with its incredible complexity and problems requiring urgent solutions like climate change, waste disposal, limited resources for an increasing human population, ozone layer depletion and loss of biodiversity and habitat.

‘There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.’                                                                                    Edward de Bono

Major organizations head hunt highly creative people. Employers want staff, who can think outside the box and find innovative solutions. A 2012 Adobe study on creativity, where 5,000 adults across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan were interviewed about the role of creativity in business, education and society overall, showed 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society. Here is what others have to say :

‘The economic future of an organization depends on its ability to create wealth by fostering innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.’                  Linda Naiman

‘The organizations of the future will increasingly depend on the creativity of their members to survive.’                                                                                     Warren Bennis

‘Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steel-making.’                                                              Richard Florida

‘The heart and soul of the company is creativity and innovation.’                Bob Iger

Business organizations also often use artists to illustrate concepts as speeches are delivered, as it is a well-known fact that humans are highly visual creatures.

A great example is this brilliant YouTube clip of Ken Robinson’s speech for the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) on Changing Education Paradigms for the modern age : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U.

Ken Robinson is a world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award. He defines creativity as : ‘ the process of having original ideas that have value’, as opposed to divergent thinking.

This clip is part of the RSA Animate series : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvhsiQGy_zcNCiSbeXEjhLg, which also covers other issues titled :
• Re-imagining Work;
• The Power of Outrospection;
• The Truth about Dishonesty; and
• The Power of Networks.

The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) : http://www.thersa.org is also well worth visiting.

Where would the world be without people like :

  • Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie ( science and medicine);
  • Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (computers);
  • William Morris, The Pre-Raphaelites, The Impressionists, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali (art);
  • Le Corbusier, Antoni Gaudí , Jørn Utzon (architecture);
  • Gertrude Jekyll, Roberto Burle Marx, Christopher Lloyd, Vita Sackville-West, Edna Walling (gardens);
  • Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer, Claudia Roden, Rick Stein, Sophie Dahl, Ian Parmentier (cooking);
  • Ansel Adams, Olive Cotton, Harold Cazneaux, Alfred Stieglitz(photography);
  • Kaffe Fassett (knitting), Brian Chan and Robert J. Lang(origami), Rob Ryan and Su Blackwell (paper cutting), Anita Larkin and Judit Pocs (Felt), Dijanne Cevaal and Jeraldine Just (Textiles);
  • Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, the Brontes, Alison Uttley , Charles Dickens (literature);
  • Dylan Thomas, Robert Frost, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Samuel Coleridge (poetry);
  • Stephen Poliakoff, Steven Spielberg, Philippe Lioret, the Coen Brothers and Walt Disney (Film);
  • Emily Watson, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson(drama);
  • Amadeus Mozart, Bob Dylan and Andrew Lloyd Webber (music),    to name but a few!

An excellent site, well worth looking at if you wish to pursue the topic of creativity further is: http://www.creativityatwork.com .

Another one is : http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching-resources/classroom-practice/teaching-techniques-strategies/creativity/defining-creativity/

But here for now is my tuppence worth !!!

What I Know About Creativity

Because of an enormous word count, I have decided to divide this post into 2 sections :

Part 1 : Everyone has it from birth!!!

: Children and Creativity
: My Personal Experiences

Part 2 : Creativity can be developed and fostered by the

: Provision of materials; learning spaces; learning opportunities and inspiration
: Exercises and practice
: Recognizing its importance and paying homage to it
: Praise and encouragement

Part 1

1.Children and Creativity

‘Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people’                                                                                                            Leo Burnett

Before they start school, all children are highly creative confident little beings. They are enthralled by their amazing new environment and want to know everything there is to know about it.

‘Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.’                                                                                                         Thomas Huxley

They have no filters like ego or self-consciousness to block their creativity.

‘Your ego can become an obstacle to your work. If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.’                                     Marina Abramovic

Unfortunately, by the time they reach 8 years of age, their critical brain has kicked in, as well as peer group comparisons and they begin to doubt their own abilities!

‘If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.’                                                                  Vincent Van Gogh

Ken Robinson cites a book called ‘Break Point and Beyond’ by George Land and Beth Jarman (http://artof4elements.com/entry/35/divergent-thinking/mindfulness-training-articles ), who conducted a longitudinal study of 1600 children aged 3 – 5 years, who they then tested at 5 yearly intervals.

Apparently, 98 percent of Kindergarten children are creative geniuses in divergent thinking, but unfortunately, this figure steadily declines with increasing age.

At 8 – 10 years old, only 32 per cent of these same children scored in the creative genius category.

Five years later, only 10 per cent of the children scored in this category.
In tests of over 200,000 adults over 25, only 2 per cent scored enough to be classified as creative geniuses! Incidentally , this is also a very good site on creativity.

‘Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up’
                                                                                                                        Pablo Picasso

‘There is no use trying,” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’                                                      Lewis Carroll

2. My Personal Experiences

I think at this point, it is useful to compare my experiences with the creative journeys of my children, who I believe to be highly confident, creative and talented young adults!

As a child, I enjoyed playing with art materials and creating things. At school, my report card showed that in the early years of school, I was a bit clumsy with sewing and handwork, which is really quite ironical now, given my chosen field of creativity!!!

But then, I was not much good at ball sports either and was often among the last to be chosen for teams in the playground, until Grade 6 that is! There is a school of thought that believes that it takes 10 years for all the physical, emotional, cognitive and social skills to fully evolve and come together! I was obviously a late bloomer!

Back home, we would dress up and put on plays for my parents, perform concerts with singing and recorder, make dolls’ houses out of cardboard shoe boxes and mud pies with filched food colouring, rouge our lips with fuchsia berries, make up poems, paint Easter cards with water colours and make Fimo chess figures. We dressed cardboard dolls with paper cut-out clothing and made crepe paper flowers and Christmas decorations, as well as learning how to cook and sew our own clothes.

But as school lessons became more serious and homework and assignments occupied more and more free time, creativity started to take a back step. Art lessons were replaced by Languages and Sciences, although I still sang in the school choir and performed in school plays and musicals.

In Year 11, I studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths. Because the former 2 subjects were spread out over 2 years, I could not matriculate in the first year like so many of my arts-based friends and because we had to study 4 subjects a year, I chose English Literature and Art !!!

However, the damage in my confidence had already been achieved over the preceding years and I compared myself unfavourably with my art peers, who I felt were so much more talented ( and they were, because they’d never stopped art study!!!). As a consequence, I chose to specialize in the Art Major History strand with Batik as my practical component! There was certainly no competition there- I was the only one doing it!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about art history though – it gave me a wonderful understanding of the foundations of Modern Art, informed my later art practice and gave me a lifelong interest in art. And the batik was so much fun too, albeit a little basic at that stage!

Getting a job after school was (and still is!) very important, so I studied physiotherapy, where employment prospects were still excellent, but at university, I still managed to slip in a creative course or two like handmade paper making. I enjoyed my work, especially rehabilitation therapy for stroke and head injured patients, where you could be much more creative, but once I married and moved to the country, the more prescriptive outpatient’s work was more available.

‘The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.’                                     Pablo Picasso

We started a family and by the time I was pregnant with No. 3, all my earnings as a part-time physio were going in child care. So I stopped working outside home and became a Stay-at-Home Mum, as well as helping on the farm. Unfortunately, I was the last generation to be able to do this acceptably and only just. It’s an enormous financial sacrifice, as well as damaging to your career prospects, but I loved it! In my book, child rearing is a full time job and it was wonderful to share my childhood pursuits and books and toys with my children, as well as provide them with longed-for desires like real dolls’ houses, made by their clever Dad!!! Here are the girls, when they were younger, making their Christmas fairies at the kitchen table.BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-04-22 08.59.48 - CopyBlogCreativity130%Reszd2015-10-13 15.54.24Because of my lack of confidence in my artistic abilities , I was determined that my children would not face the same frustrations and so placed an extra strong emphasis on creativity in my child rearing! The job market was by now so competitive, that the general consensus about careers was the best option was to pursue your love and maybe you would be talented enough to score that job! Also, creative skills were becoming increasingly valued by the workforce.

My kids grew up surrounded by magical books, both fiction and how-to guides and plenty of easily accessible art materials and dressing-up outfits. They too performed plays and concerts and made boats and fairies out of leaves and twigs.BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.31.52BlogCreativity130%Reszd2015-10-13 15.52.02One big advantage was that because they went through public education and we did not have to pay exorbitant school fees, we had a bit of money to spend on music lessons, tennis, drama, dance, art lessons with the local art gallery and even a philosophy discussion group.

Some of the art courses included : Basketry with Natural Materials with Tim Johnson in his early days as a visiting artist-in-residence at NERAM before he became famous :http://www.timjohnsonartist.com/basketmaking/; lino cutting; screen printing; ceramics and drawing. We made mosaic stepping stones with a friend, which you will have seen in my first garden post, ‘New Beginnings’. Here are some of the creations made by my kids from Tim’s class: a goanna and a frilled neck lizard.BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 16.07.31BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 16.07.26We visited inspiring exhibitions and attended plays, film and concerts on our travels. They performed in eisteddfods and school plays. We were very proud of our eldest daughter and her 3 school friends (1st photo below), when they won the State Shakespeare Festival in Grade 11 for the whole of New South Wales, against all the other public schools, private schools and performing arts schools. Not bad for a country public high school !!! She also sang with her school in a massed choir at the Sydney Opera House in Grade 8 and was part of a Celtic Dance group in Years 9 and 10. Here is a photo of the Shakespeare group practicing on our verandah. The 2nd photo below was another school drama performance.BlogCreativity130%Reszd2015-10-13 16.15.11BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 16.26.42My three children had their own alter egos – a hippo, camel and piglet with distinct personalities, language and histories. Life was always full of fun, you never knew who was going to emerge and it was often a brilliant way for conflict resolution! These lovable characters featured in a self-produced monthly magazine, complete with articles, stories and fashion, makeup, quiz, astrology and Help pages and even a first novel about the adventures of their alter egos in its own handmade book!

At school, the kids continued their art all the way through and became competent sketchers and confident in their creative abilities. That is not to say, they never had their own misgivings or doubts – there are always incredibly talented people out there, if you let yourself fall into the trap of comparisons – but on the whole, I think they are all incredibly talented and well-rounded. Not only are they all good artists, but they also play guitar (self-taught), piano and accordion and write their own songs, which they perform at ‘Open Mic’ nights.

Over the years, we and their friends and extended family have been the recipients of some wonderful home-made gifts from hand-painted chequerboards, Monopoly boards, flags and wall maps to framed artwork, coasters, sculptures, pottery bowls and china serving plates and oil burners, jewellery, delicious feasts with menus and brilliant plays and concerts. I love my little piglet and elephant bowls, the piglet and Monopoly boards, my daughter’s hand-painted world map (which she made while saving for her overseas trip), my wooden turtle and snake coasters and my beautiful ceramic plate!BlogCreativity120%Reszdworld mapBlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.25.21BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.25.37BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.13.12BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.12.40BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.23.48My eldest daughter became an art teacher, who inspired her own students to achieve their creative goals, but now travels, writes and plays music with a bit of casual teaching on the side to fund her lifestyle!!! You can follow her travels on :

‘Creativity is contagious, pass it on’                            Albert Einstein

My youngest daughter had a stint of being a highly artistic Makeup Queen, winning the Best Makeup Student of the Year in her TAFE Diploma studies for the whole of Victoria, working as a makeup artist on the film ‘Blinder’, doing film shoots with Guy Sebastian and being a founding staff member and second-in-command at Geelong’s MAC store, a highly creative and successful makeup company, which does all the makeup for the Melbourne Fashion shows and film industry.

And my son is rediscovering his creativity through sketching and is a very inventive problem solver!

So I feel so proud of them all and believe I have achieved that goal of conserving and developing their creativity streak at least!!!

Throughout their childhood, I also continued my creative journey. While I was at home with the kids, we did still work and ran a small tourism business with 2 self-catering cottages, which enabled me to stay home, as well as pursue my love of interior decorating, floristry and home cooking. I made all our own soft furnishings, as well as clothes. I knitted scarves and hats, made bags and enjoyed sewing cross-stitch pictures. We renovated our old 1904 house and one of the cottages and built the other larger one from scratch. I studied Clothing Assembly at TAFE, as well as a few other textile related courses like more batik, fabric dyeing, shibori and tie-dye, embroidery and knitting. Here are some of my cross-stitches from commercial patterns:BlogCreativity140%Reszddec 2009 137BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.18.10And a case for eye glasses with a cross-stitch design of my own :BlogCreativity140%Reszdearly oct 2012 262

We built another little guest cottage on our magical country block in the rainforest, to which we moved on lock-up, as we really wanted to experience life over there. I studied more courses in art, design and photography and started my own small clothing business, Izzie and Ozzie, specializing in clothing and toys for children.BlogCreativity120%ReszdEarly march 2013 014BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-04-22 08.58.14BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-04-22 08.59.40 - CopyBlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-04-22 08.59.03Once the kids left home, we decided, after a 6 month trip around our amazing continent, to continue the journey of self-discovery and spent the last 5 years in Victoria – the first year in Melbourne studying a Diploma of Textile Art, then 4 years in Geelong, where I studied floristry with TAFE and garden design at Burnley (Melbourne University), as well as working with my wonderful roses at Soho Rose Farm for 2 years. I joined the Victorian Felters and the Victorian Embroiderer’s Guild and enjoyed both their extensive libraries and courses. I learnt how to dye indigo with a friend, made cushions and stuffed toys, studied pattern making and did a few wonderful mosaic workshops with Helen Millar. For more information, see : http://www.flockofbirdsmosaics.org/. I was so inspired by Elizabeth Armstrong’s wonderful sense of colour, fun and creativity. We made our own felt, then bravely had to chop it up into the pattern pieces and make dolls out of it. See : http://www.frostfair.com   and http://elizabeth-armstrong.blogspot.com.au/. I love my green Gaia doll!

BlogCreativity140%Reszdfelt sticks 029BlogCreativity140%Reszdfelt 016BlogCreativity140%Reszdcaro visit 077BlogCreativity120%Reszd2014-05-03 20.36.56

I then spent 18 months working full-time at Deakin University on computers, creating records for all the university academics research output. While the upshot of this career change meant that I lost my fear of computers and greatly improved my digital skills and my semi-retired husband took over all the shopping, cooking and house cleaning, I missed my free time, my sewing and gardening and even the dreaded cleaning!! I still managed to make these small Easter and Christmas gifts during the weekends though!

BlogCreativity140%Reszddec 2010 074BlogCreativity120%ReszdEarly march 2013 144

And that has been the wonderful thing about our move here to Candelo and our resumption of a time-rich, but dirt-poor existence! I have time and freedom to pursue all my old activities and to specialize in my strongest areas. Having experimented with very many different art forms, mainly in the textile area, I have finally decided that hand embroidery is my thing, with a bit of paper work and photography on the side, as well as cooking, gardening and home making of course!!! And now writing this blog, which has been wonderful!!! I don’t know how I filled all my time before this !!! But I am loving it and my days of full-time work are definitely over!

‘Creativity is intelligence having fun.’                                       Albert Einstein

‘Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.’                               Cecil B. DeMille

A Spring Palette : Green and White, Blue, Gold, Purple, Pink, Red and Orange

This week, the air was full of floating white puffs of cotton, falling gently like snow from the Cottonwood Poplar with every gust of wind. Quite magical and almost impossible to capture on film, except when they collected in snowdrifts amongst the strawberries or were trapped in spiders webs or on sticky spent anemone heads. You will need to click on the 1st photo to actually see the floating puffs!!!BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.32.57BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.27.49BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.31.26BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 14.00.03The Snowball Tree (Viburnum opulus) played a starring role this week, with its plentiful, large, round flower heads turning from lime-green to white, its globes mirroring, in a larger version, the cottonwood snowfall.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.06.31BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 08.15.57BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.31.30All the deciduous trees are now in full leaf and it is so lovely viewing the mosaic of different greens and textures from the verandah.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.22.08BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.25.02A lonely white columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris – 1st photo below) stands firm in the agapanthus corner and on the front wall of the house, our climbing white Tea rose, ‘Mrs. Herbert Stevens’ (2nd photo below), promises to complement its Noisette companion ‘Lamarque’ well. I can show you photos of the latter next week when her buds open up.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.21.45BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.33.26Nearby, the Acanthus mollis spires match the exterior house wall perfectly.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 08.57.35

Our neighbour’s lamb is now an independent teenager. We watch his development over the honeysuckle-clad fence. This honeysuckle variety is called ‘Firecracker’.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.25.20BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.22.53Blue is a predominant colour this week :

The soft violet-blue blooms of Ground Morning Glory (Convovulus mauritanicus), which line the path and the violet bed around the Japanese Maple;  and the rich blues of anemones.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 08.58.24BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.30.36BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.30.20BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.30.26The royal blue and pale blue Dutch Iris, with one white one thrown in.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.03.10BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.58.38BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.29.54BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-13 14.45.18BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.29.20If you looked closely at the 3rd photo above, you would have detected the first cornflower bloom (Centaurea cyanus), which is the succession plan for the Iris and Daffodils and will hide the latter’s spent leaves, as they strive to get the most out of the growing season.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.22.26Gold has also joined the parade of colour with the beautiful Bearded Iris in the Soho Bed – one on each corner of the sundial. They have such a commanding regal presence and have kept a watchful eye over the developing poppies.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.26.22BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.30.44BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.21.06BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.01.28Yes, poppies! We eagerly awaited the opening of the first bud, hoping that they were the surviving peony poppies, but alas! They were in fact weeds – of a kind – the wild purple single poppy – but still charming enough to warrant a place in the Soho Bed – at least for the time being! I think that I am still holding out unrealistic hopes that maybe just one of them might miraculously transform into my much-longed-for double poppy!BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.21.26BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 08.59.22

The thrift (Armeria ‘Pretty Petite’ -1st photo below) has been so generous with its long lasting pink blooms. The hot pink Autumn Sage (Salvia gregii – 2nd photo), Wallflowers (Erysimum mutabile – 3rd photo) and Catmint (Nepeta X faassenii – 4th photo) are also excellent value.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 13.52.41BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 13.53.37BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 13.54.04BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 13.54.25The Italian lavender has been a real show.

BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.26.51

And the roses are starting to come into their own! They really are the Queen of Flowers and will reign supreme for the rest of the year.

BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-13 14.44.02‘Fortuneana’ ( photo above) and ‘Stanwell Perpetual’ (1st  and 2nd photo below) were quickly joined by the divinely scented Rugosa hedging roses : ‘Roseraie de L’Hay’ (rich crimson-purple) and ‘Mme. Georges Bruant’ (white).BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-12 08.59.46BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-13 14.43.39BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 07.35.47BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 07.36.13The Hybrid Musk rose hedge behind the vegetable patch is also starting to bloom with ‘Cornelia’ (pink – 1st 2 photos), ‘Kathleen’ (pure white – 3rd photo) and ‘Penelope’ (lemony white – 4th photo).BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-13 07.56.47BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 08.14.43BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.23.21BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.23.40In the Soho bed, ‘Lolita’ (last photo below), ‘Heaven Scent’ and ‘Alnwyk’ have been joined by ‘Eglantyne’ ( 1st 2 photos below ) and all the other roses are in bud, as they are in the David Austin Moon Bed.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.21.13BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.00.29BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-12 11.46.47‘Adam’ (1st 3 photos below) signals the start of the climbing rose season on the Main Pergola and in the Old-fashioned Rose bed in front of the shed, Kordes bred rose ‘Maigold’ (gold – 4th photo), Tea rose ‘Archiduc Joseph’ (coppery pink – 5th photo) and China rose ‘Viridiflora’ (green – 6th photo) have started to bloom. The latter is highly unusual, as its flowers are really sepals and they never develop petals. The blooms are much sought after by florists as its green blooms  fade to russet. ‘Viridiflora’ was a chance mutation of a China Rose ‘Slater’s Crimson China’ and it is the only green rose in existence.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 08.15.51BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.34.52BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.31.04BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.08.18BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.08.34BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-13 14.51.49And I think that I have finally identified the climbing rose on the entrance wall of the house or at least I hope so! If anyone has a different idea, please let me know! But for the moment, I am going with  ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’, which is normally a giant of a rose, reaching 12 m, so it is just as well that it is obviously not in its ideal location!BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.20.09BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.19.58Finally, the spectacular ranunculas and Iceland poppies in the cutting garden. Their rich exotic colours from pinks to golds, oranges and a variety of reds (scarlet, clear red, burgundy) and the satiny sheen to their petals are so conducive to photography! My poor camera has been working overtime and threatens to resign any day!!! I suspect that I may be getting a new one for Christmas, if my old one manages to hold out that long!!!BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.29.54BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.28.23BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.56.21BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.56.39BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.57.13BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.57.18BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.28.37BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-11 08.54.32





Sapphire Dreaming

The Far South Coast of NSW, from Bermagui to Eden, is known as the Sapphire Coast and it is easy to see why, when you view that blue, blue sea with rolling green farmland running straight down to the beach and discover hidden gems like Hidden Valley, which lies just to the north of Bunga Head and Aragunnu, which I covered in a previous post ‘Summer Dreaming’, and which is also part of Mimosa Rocks National Park.BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.24.44This magical stretch of coastline from Goalen Head in the north to Bunga Head in the south, can be accessed via Hergenhans Rd, 2.8 km off the Tathra-Bermagui Rd. We first visited this area last May and were blown away by the spectacular beauty of the place. The track through the paddock leads down to Bunga Beach and a small creek, which leads back to Bunga Lagoon.BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.39.36BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.40.49BlogSapphire dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8742BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.45.48Across the creek is a large rocky outcrop, which serves as a wonderful vantage point from which to plan your explorations. To the north, Goalen Head (1st and 2nd photo below) and the south, Bunga Head (3rd and 4th photo below).BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.49.54BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.50.14BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.50.43BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.46.19We  started by walking down Bunga Beach South to Hidden Valley and Bunga Head, then returned along an old farm track to Bunga Beach North and Goalen Head.

Bunga Beach South is a sandy beach 1.3km long, and is a breeding site of Hooded Plovers (Thinornis rubricollis). We saw a National Park sign the other day, which said there were less than 50 Hooded Plovers left in NSW! Here are a few photos of our journey down the beach. The rocks and their weathering patterns were amazing!BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.16.34BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.14.04BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.16.10BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.14.41BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.13.38BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.17.01BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.19.41BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.23.54BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.29.40BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.36.32BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.42.07The Southern end of the beach is 370m long and  has a small creek at its northern end, which feeds into Hidden Valley. Bunga Head lies to the south with its hexagonal columns and dramatic cliffs.BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.59.00BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.49.11BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.50.09BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.54.59BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 12.51.39Hidden Valley is well-named, as it is tucked in behind the northern side of Bunga Head and can only be accessed on foot via an old farm track through regenerating bushland from the Bunga South car park at the end of Hergenhans Rd or via Bunga Beach South. There is an informal old track (3km) over the 127m high Bunga Head, but it is not easy to find and is not promoted by NPWS, due to cultural sensitivitiesBlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 13.01.06BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 13.09.47Hidden Valley was an old farm and its old sheds, toilet and rainwater tank still remain. Past clearing, grazing, fencing and the establishment of exotic pastures, earthen dams and vehicle tracks have destroyed much of the natural ecology and left the area with weeds like Kikuyu, fireweed, blackberries and Arum lilies.BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 13.04.11BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 13.06.56The 105 ha property was gazetted in 1994 under the Coastal Lands Protection Scheme, which was established by the NSW Government in 1973 to purchase coastal freehold properties with significant cultural or natural heritage values. Gradually, the area is being revegetated by native coastal banksias (photo above) and coast wattles. There are also a few remnant Forest Red Gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis ), which used to cover much of the area originally, and a few Cabbage Palms (Livistona australis), representing this species’ southernmost limit in NSW.BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 13.07.43BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 13.31.11We are really looking forward to camping here in Summer. There is a large grassed area and a wood barbecue and the beach below is 250m wide and protected by both headlands from the southerly and northerly winds. Apparently, you can catch bream, flathead, salmon, mulloway and gummy sharks.

After taking the inland route back to our starting point, we then set out to explore Bunga Beach North and Goalen Head.

Bunga Beach North is 200m long and has a cleared grassy slope behind and a rocky reef in the centre. It too has black rounded volcanic boulders. The small creek, which leads to Bunga Lagoon, is usually blocked at its mouth, unless there has been good rain. Bunga Lagoon is home to many local and visiting birds.BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.45.07BlogSapphire dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8795Goalen Head is composed of highly folded and faulted sedimentary rocks like slate, siltstone, shale and greywacke laid down during the Ordovician Period (which was 430-490 Million years ago). During this time, volcanic gabbro rock intruded into the sedimentary layers.The aborigines used the gabbro for tool production.BlogSapphire dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8747BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.44.12BlogSapphire dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8748BlogSapphire dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8788Today, this gabbro is covered by deep fertile well-drained chocolate soils on the crests and slopes, well-drained loams near bedrock outcrops and poorly drained black earth in the drainage lines.

The original native vegetation communities are thought to have included :

  • Bega Dry Grass Forest
  • Coastal Scrub
  • Bunga Head Rain Forest
  • Coastal Warm Temperate Rainforest
  • Dune Dry Shrub Forest and
  • Coastal Foothills Dry Shrub Forest.

Sadly, none of these original communities remain, due to extensive clearing and grazing, though there are still some remnant Forest Red Gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis). Regrowth thickets of Coastal Banksia and Coast Wattle are reestablishing along the seaward edge of the headland, but the area is predominantly grassy : dense swards of Themeda Grassland, dominated by Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis) and introduced Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum clandenstinum). This grassland is highly disturbed, but still significant, due to the restricted distribution of this community in the region.BlogSapphire dreamg20%Reszd2015-05-05 11.43.50BlogSapphire dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8750We have seen many kangaroos grazing (top photo above), but apparently the Eastern Ground Parrot also feeds on the Goalen Head Grasslands, as do rabbits and the odd deer. There are also numerous weeds including fireweed, blackberry, sea spurge and sea rocket.

Goalen Head was also an old property, which was purchased under the Coastal Lands Protection Scheme. The 104 ha farm (Murrah, Goalen Head) was gazetted in 2001 and added a further 3km of coastline to the National Park.BlogSapphire dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8786BlogSapphire dreamg20%ReszdIMG_8782From the headland, there are excellent views north to Murrah Beach ( 1st photo above) and south to Bunga Head (2nd photo above). Murrah Beach is 12 km south of Bermagui, but has very difficult access, due to the closure of the road by the owners of the private property, through which it passes. It backs onto Murrah Lagoon, a 110 ha body of shallow water, fed by the Murrah River, and has much bird life and fish, including bream, whiting, flathead, redfin, leatherjackets, mulloway and the odd gummy shark. It sounds like a really interesting spot to explore, but the only access appears to be by walking north along the coast from Goalen Head. We started to attempt this on our second visit to the area, but it is quite a long walk and really requires a whole day itself. Another hidden treasure, another day, another story …!!!

PS. The featured image on this post was a pod of more than 20 dolphins off Goalen Head.BlogBdayblessgs40%ReszdIMG_8771


Birthday Blessings

This is why I am NOT a millionaire! I NEVER win my bets!!! Amongst the known contenders for the Candelo Rose Cup, Stanwell Perpetual won by two lengths, followed by Heaven Scent, then Lolita. But the two dark horses were the unidentified (still!) rose on the lane side of the house (front/back wall!) and a very sneaky Alnwick in the Soho Bed, right under our noses!!! I think we decided in the end that the winning trio were : Stanwell Perpetual (photos below) , Alnwick , then the unidentified climber !BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.23.22BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-07 17.03.02I love Stanwell Perpetual! She is so modest and unassuming, yet so generous with her blooms. She is often the first and last rose to bloom in the season and she has a divine fragrance! The following photos show : Heaven Scent; Lolita and our two dark horses: our unidentified climber and Alnwick.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.35.33BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 07.56.22BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 14.26.19BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.10.47We visited Canberra on the hot Tuesday and caught up with old friends, who both work at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The gardens are a real show at the moment and so impressive! There has been so much growth and development since our last visit 10 years ago.BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-06 11.31.16BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.29.43Afterwards, we called in to the lovely Heritage Nursery at Yarralumla (http://heritagenursery.com.au/), where I found a scented rhododendron at long last. Rhododendron ‘Daviesii’ has a lovely warm spicy fragrance and will be perfect to hide the compost bay.

I  discovered and bought my long-desired crabapple , Malus ‘Golden Hornet’, but because it was a bare-rooted tree, which has been potted, we will have to wait till Christmas to plant it out, so that we don’t damage its fragile new roots. We also bought a French Tarragon and a Sprekelia bulb (Jacobean Lily).BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.24.45BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.37.29We arrived home to discover that the blue Dutch Iris and ranunculas had finally opened.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.21.07BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 16.28.51The poppies are a real show of happiness!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.25.01BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.59The ranunculas always remind me of Can Can girls, with their frilly skirts and rich exotic colours!

BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.30.03BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.45BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.20.06BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.19.52‘Madame Lemoine’ (white Lilac) and  the ‘White Caviar’ (Magnolia below) are still flowering, but the bluebells and  ‘The Bride’ have bowed out. It looks like we could get a bumper crop of navel oranges!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-07 17.05.35BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.25.25A few more unexpected discoveries :

‘Little Red Riding Hood’ has her first flower and I just discovered the first of the highly scented old-fashioned Grandma’s freesias!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 09.03.28BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.14The anemones continue their amazing display!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.36.51BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.18.08BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.18.23BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.17.54This is the last of the tulips, as well as the first blooms of a Scented Geranium.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.15.19BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 08.05.42The Banksia and Fortuneana roses are throwing plenty of blooms and our daisies are looking very happy!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 08.06.01BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.01.17‘Green Goddess’ has been joined by this exotic bromeliad bloom.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 08.04.29BlogBdayblessgs40%Reszd2015-10-10 16.59.10 - CopyLots of garden tasks this week!

We planted out the new Rhododendron in front of the compost bays behind the red Azalea, the new Lemon next to the Cumquats and the Black Passionfruit vine on our neighbour’s fence, about which she is delighted!!!BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-09 09.03.47BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 14.00.43We transplanted the herbs to new pots and replaced the Russian Tarragon with the tastier French Tarragon, banishing the former to the vegie garden. We planted out the Heritage tomatoes, the lettuces, the red cabbages and the mixed capsicums and sowed sunflower and carrot seed.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.21.14BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.21.32BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.37.58We planted the Jacobean Lily at the bottom of the steps, where its red blooms will be a real eye catcher. And we tied back the climber Clos de Vougeot, which is covered in blooms and found a home for my 3 metal fairies in the shady reading nook.BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-26 16.29.01Ross found a perfect spot for his Pink Rock Orchid in a natural depression in the trunk of the Pepperina tree, where it can be seen from all angles of the garden.BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.03.48BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.04.23And we celebrated Ross’s birthday at the end of the week. Finally, I can show you a photo of the gift I made him – a cushion covered in his favourite rain forest birds! It was so difficult finding Ross-free time to make it and I was almost caught out a number of times towards the end! He loved it !!!

BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-03 13.31.41BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-03 13.30.05

We had a great birthday dinner with friends and dear Katrina made him a spectacular chocolate cake, decorated with mixed berries, apple blossom and purple Bouganvillea and a cute little wheelbarrow, which she found in the toy shop! A great addition to the collection, though a trifle small!!!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 19.36.00BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 19.37.22BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 07.54.12BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 07.54.53A pod of 8 Humpback Whales even made it to the party (though a day late!). We were so thrilled to finally see some and they were so close into the shore. The adults and their babies are heading back down south for the Antarctic Summer!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.59.20BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 11.10.32BlogBdayblessgs40%Reszd2015-10-10 11.31.50 - Copy (3)BlogBdayblessgs30%Reszd2015-10-10 11.15.48 - CopyOn our way home, we took some photos of the beautiful Spring wild flowers in bloom.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.07.02BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.18.16BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.08.24BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.08.42But the best birthday treat of all was a surprise visit by our youngest daughter and friend on Saturday night! So it was back to Tathra the following afternoon! Alas, no whales this time, but we did find this little fellow moseying along the footpath!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.13.09BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.12.43

My daughter was slightly concerned that the echidna might try to cross the road, but when she tried to divert him, he just dived into his ball and dug his toes in, so firmly that he wouldn’t budge! We waited and watched him as he approached the gutter, but I suspect he may have been pretty street-wise, as he veered away from making the leap down onto the road! They are such cute creatures and great survivors, being one of only two Monotremes (egg-laying mammals) in the world. It is thought that they originated over 200 Million years ago. When both whales and such primitive mammals turn up for your birthday weekend, you know it has been a pretty special one!!!             Happy Birthday Ross!!!

Favourite Early 19th Century Botanic Gardens in Australia

Botanic gardens are excellent places to visit to get an overall view of the state’s flora and history. I love their size and scale, their sense of history and promise for the future. Not only are they repositories of all plants, including national collections of species, but they also provide green space in the cities- clean air, respite from the clamour of the city, enjoyment and relaxation, often being the stage for music, plays,  weddings and photo shoots, as well as providing education and inspiration. I always love their bookshops- a fantastic source of books about gardening and environment, both on local and global issues, as well as identification guides.

I decided to look up the official definition of ‘Botanic Gardens’ and found a great website : http://www.bgci.org  for Botanic Gardens Conservation International, which quotes a definition from the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation as follows:

Botanic gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education.”

Apparently, there are currently 1775 Botanic Gardens and arboreta in 148 countries worldwide, maintaining over 4 million living plant collections of over 100, 000 plant species.

Their use has changed through history.  Originally starting as Physic Gardens to study and grow medicinal plants, they have evolved into pleasure gardens and scientific institutions, which are continually adapting to and serving the needs of their societies, as new challenges are met.

When Australia was first settled, they became instruments of colonial expansion and economic development. Curators planted imported plants to see how they would cope with the climate and soils of the new colony, as well as native species to educate the general public and determine their usefulness. They even had acclimatization programs for introduced species like sparrows ! Seed banks and herbaria were developed and seeds and plants exchanged between other botanic gardens all over the world. Many of our common garden plants were the result of discovery by plant collectors in remote areas during the Victorian era , who then transported plants, cuttings and seeds back home in protective Wardian cases (photo below) for propagation in Botanic Gardens.Blog Early19cent BG20%Reszd2013-06-21 13.21.11

Today, they play a key role in :

  • Plant conservation and diversity
  • Education of the public on environmental issues
  • Mitigation of the effects of climate change
  • Survival of the planet with seed exchange and helping ecosystems adapt to new climates in different regions.

H. Bruce Rinker has written a beautiful article titled ‘The Weight of a Petal: The Value of Botanical Gardens’ (see : http://www.actionbioscience.org/biodiversity) , in which he points out their vital role in the genetic protection of threatened species. Over 34,000 plant species are currently threatened – mainly due to the effects of increasing population : deforestation, habitat loss, the spread of invasive species and agricultural expansion – and 2/3 of the world plant species are in danger of extinction by the end of the 21st Century.

The first botanical gardens in Australia were founded in the capital cities and major regional towns in the early 19th century. As time went on, their roles and garden design evolved according to the fashions of the day. There was a lull over the first half of the 20th century due to the depressions of the 1890s and 1930s and two World Wars, but as economic times improved in the 1960s and 1970s, more money was allocated for the development of new botanic gardens, as well as improving the existing ones. Because there are over 140 botanic gardens in Australia, the following list (in order of their creation) is only a portion of them, most of which we have visited and I will include brief notes about their special attributes.

  1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, 30ha, 1816


: Prime location in the heart of Sydney at Farm Cove with sweeping lawns right down to the edge of Sydney Harbour.

: Oldest scientific institution in Australia

: Site of the first farm in the new colony (1788), its story recounted in the First Farm display . Cadi Jam Ora : First Encounters is a display which tells the story of the Cadigal people, the traditional Aboriginal owners of the Sydney city area, and features plants that originally grew on the site of the Royal Botanic Garden.

: Large number of early colonial buildings and structures, including the last remnant of the  Macquarie Wall (1810-1812).

: Many feature gardens of exotics and natives, including rare and threatened species from all over the world.

: National Herbarium of NSW and an excellent library and shop

: Many fountains, sculptures and memorials. See : http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/welcome/royal_botanic_garden/tours_education/self-guided_tours/art_and_memorials.

I have always loved the celestial sphere sundial in the herb garden.Blog Early19cent BG40%Reszdnov 2011 102Blog Early19cent BG40%Reszdnov 2011 105

2. Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, 14ha, 1818


: My first Botanic garden in my birth state, so will always hold a special place in my heart! Another superb location on Queen’s Domain overlooking the blue waters of the Derwent River. The photo on the right below is the view from the Burrow underneath the Visitors’ Centre over the Derwent River. The feature photo for 19th Century Botanical Gardens is of the entrance to these botanic gardens.Blog Early19cent BG20%Reszd2013-06-21 13.10.42Blog Early19cent BG20%Reszd2013-06-21 13.13.01: 2nd oldest botanic garden in Australia with a number of heritage listed buildings,  2 convict-built heated walls (1829) to afford protection for frost-tender plants and extend the growing period of fruit trees and a Lily Pond built in 1840. I have fond memories of a performance from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party set on that lily pond! Les Winspear (see photo) played the Mock Turtle singing ‘Will you, won’t you. Will you won’t you. Will you join the dance? ‘.  There is also an iconic stone arch from the old AMP building ( Anniversary Arch, 1913) at the bottom of  the steps leading down from the Lily Pond terrace.Blog Early19cent BG20%ReszdIMG_0623Blog Early19cent BG20%Reszd2013-06-21 12.58.02: Historic plant collections, especially of plants from the Southern Hemisphere (including an early collection of New Zealand plants) and a large number of Significant Trees from the 19th century.

: Specialises in Cool Temperate Flora and has an important conservation collection of Tasmanian plants.Blog Early19cent BG20%Reszd2013-06-21 12.30.47Blog Early19cent BG20%Reszd2013-06-21 12.38.08 : There are beautiful green lawns  and display gardens. As a kid, I always loved the Floral Clock. There is also a Japanese garden, a Chinese collection,a French Memorial Fountain to commemorate the French explorers visiting Tasmania, an Epacrid Garden (Gondwana), a herb garden, a conservatory, a fernery, a Fuschia House and the world’s only Subantarctic Plant House! There is also a Community Food Garden, which is often featured on Gardening Australia on ABC with Tino Carnevale.Blog Early19cent BG20%Reszd2013-06-21 12.28.35Blog Early19cent BG20%Reszd2013-06-21 12.28.183. Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, 38ha, 1845

http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/      and


: Also in the heart of the city on the banks of the Yarra River.

: Sweeping lawns and ornamental lakes and displays of more than 50,000 plants, representing 10,000 different species (31 plant collections) from all corners of the globe. See : http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-melbourne/attractions/plant-collections. The lakes are beautiful and form the backdrop to theatre productions like ‘Wind in the Willows’. Some have floating islands on them.Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_0417Blog Early19cent BG40%Reszdjens visit jan 2010 135

: Site of the Melbourne Observatory built from 1861-1863;  the Plant Craft Cottage, 1850, which is the oldest building in a public garden in Victoria; 1854 Director’s Residence (now Gardens House) and 1901 Temple of the Winds , as well as numerous heritage gates, pavilions, lodges, nurseries and fences.Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_0414Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_0425

: National Herbarium of Victoria with 1.5 Million dried plant, algae and fungi specimens. See : http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/science/herbarium-and-resources/national-herbarium-of-victoria. Half the specimens were collected before 1900 and one third were collected overseas. It also contains a library of botanical literature and artwork.

: Also the site of the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology. See : http://arcue.botany.unimelb.edu.au/.Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_0386Blog Early19cent BG20%ReszdIMG_0697 : The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Gardens is a magical place for kids to learn about gardening and their environment.

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: Guilfoyle’s Volcano, originally built in 1876 to store water for the Botanic Garden, has spectacular dramatic displays of low water use plants.Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_0421Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_0423

4. Geelong Botanic Gardens, 81ha, 1851


: 4th oldest botanic garden in Australia and set on a hill overlooking Corio Bay.Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_1430Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_1599

: 38 trees listed by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) on the Register of Significant Trees including the largest and oldest Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)  1859 (photo above ) in Victoria, a Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis)  1869 , seen in background of the  photo below and a Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) planted in 1873. The Ginkgo tree is 156 years old and it is over 16m high and 4.17m in circumference.Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_1492Blog Early19cent BG40%Reszdnov 2010 017

: Heritage Rose Collection and State collections of salvias and pelargoniums. There are also beautiful shrubberies, display beds and contemporary kitchen gardens.Blog Early19cent BG40%Reszdnov 2010 040Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_1452Blog Early19cent BG40%Reszdnov 2010 024Blog Early19cent BG40%Reszdlate sep 2011 051

: A number of heritage buildings, fountains, statues, including one of the bollards, for which Geelong is famous. This one depicts the first curator of the Geelong Botanic Garden, Daniel Bunce, about whom I might write a post in a future Random Thought, as he was an amazing character! Having collected it on explorer Ludwig Leichhardt’s second expedition, he introduced Sturt’s Desert Pea to the Botanic Gardens and was often chastising young Victorian ladies, who would try to sneak a sample for their pressed flower albums, which this bollard is hiding behind her back! See : http://www.friendsgbg.org.au/news/news-archive/george-jones-the-bunch-bollard-and-the-naughty-girl for the story.Blog Early19cent BG40%Reszdnov 2010 031Blog Early19cent BG40%Reszdnov 2010 011

: A very impressive 21st century addition at the entrance to the Botanic Gardens, featuring Geelong’s indigenous flora, Australian native plants, ancient Gondwanan plants and low water use plants.

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5. Adelaide Botanic Gardens, 51ha, 1854


: Prime location on North Terrace next to the hospital, university , art gallery and museum. I’ve always thought how wonderful it is to have a beautiful restful garden right next to a hospital, as well as close to all the educational institutions for learning and inspiration!

: Noteworthy buildings include The Palm House 1875, Santos Museum of Economic Botany 1881, the Bicentennial Conservatory, 1988 (seen in the photo  below) and Amazon Waterlily Pavilion, 2007.

: The International Rose Garden and National Trial Garden is well worth a visit for rose enthusiasts – I love their giant arches of Old Climbing roses.

: The Garden of Health (http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/Visit/Adelaide_Botanic_Garden/Garden_of_Health) has over 2500 plants from 295 species. It includes the Garden of Contemplation and the Garden of Healing, showcasing plants from both eastern and western medical traditions.Blog Early19cent BG20%ReszdIMG_7114Blog Early19cent BG20%ReszdIMG_7112Blog Early19cent BG20%ReszdIMG_93356. Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, 20ha, 1855


: Right on the Brisbane River- a perfect spot for establishing a colonial garden growing crops for a new colony, but flooded 8 times between 1870 and 1974, a fact which eventually led to the development of a new Botanic Garden at Mt. Lofty in 1976. The early gardeners imported exotic crops like tropical fruits (mango, pawpaw and  tamarind ), tobacco, sugar cane, grape vines, wheat, coffee, spices, textile plants and timber trees, as well as planting natives.

: There is a Bamboo Grove, Weeping Fig avenue, ornamental ponds and a River Stage. It has a great old-fashioned vibe and is well-used and loved by city workers.