Australia, Gardening, Urban Walking
Comments 26

Seasonally Flamboyant Sandgate

flam·boy·ant

adjective

  • (of a person or their behaviour) tending to attract attention because of their exuberance, confidence, and stylishness.
  • (especially of clothing) noticeable because brightly coloured, highly patterned, or unusual in style.

flam·boy·ant2

noun

  • another term for royal poinciana

I’m closing in on my second documented multi-month thousand-mile ramble to take place largely in the Sandgate area. It’s cool, and I’m grateful I get to do it in such pleasant environs, but I do get tired at times of stomping the same footpaths (“sidewalks” in American), walking paths and tidal sand flats, month in, month out.

But one thing about walking your own patch of turf for years is that you are keenly aware of how it changes throughout the year. You watch out for and relish the seasonal changes, the subtle tweaks and the stark transformations.

Here’s a sample of the refreshing colour that’s enlivened my urban trails over late Spring and early Summer. If you happened to peer through the curtains to see the weirdo with the backpack leaning over your fence with a camera, you can relax: it was your garden treasures I had come to spy on…

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A typical rambling & vibrant Brisbane front yard — that purple climber is duranta, a common subtropical garden plant (apparently sometimes invasive).

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Rampant bougainvillea climbing the trunk of a jacaranda in one of the Sandgate avenues near the waterfront. Once you plant bougainvillea (a South American native, like most of the plants in this post), you will never again sleep without a pair of pruners under your pillow.

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There are numerous old boarding houses in the Sandgate & Shorncliffe area. A tenant’s flower garden.

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Jacaranda during the purple apocalypse that is Spring in Brisbane. Another South American tree so common here as to be mistaken for a native. “Jacaranda blooms in Queensland around October, approximately a month before final university exams for the year. As such, local folklore among students is that if one has not started study by the time the Jacarandas bloom, it is perhaps too late.” ~ Wikipedia.

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The poinciana (as Australians know it) is native to Madagascar but common in the tropics & sub-tropics worldwide. A floral successor to the spring-flowering jacaranda, it’s a legume found in just about every street & park in the city, as well as numerous yards. “It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. In many tropical parts of the world it is grown as an ornamental tree and in English it is given the name Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant…It is a popular street tree in Brisbane, Australia.” ~ Wikipedia.

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Poinciana near the waterfront. That’s the Senior Citizens Centre, specially reinforced to withstand the weight of several hundred bingo players at a time.

Everything about the poinciana in Summer screams "Look at me! I'm special!"

Everything about the poinciana in Summer screams “I DON”T BELIEVE IN SUBTLE!”

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Morning glory. As rampant invasive pests go, it’s very pretty. One of a couple of dozen weeds that calls our garden in Saratoga Springs home (we tried to accommodate it but it took advantage of our sweet nature — next year it’s war), it’s just as happy smothering all competition over here in the sub-tropics. I’ve even seen it growing over mangroves.

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This derelict house has intrigued me for years. It’s on its way to being engulfed in Glory.

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Running a blog (or whatever it is I do with this thing) can be educational for the blogger as well as the blog-ee. Before this post I’d always assumed this charming creeper in the sand dunes (Shorncliffe Pier in the background) was a native. Turns out it’s beach evening primrose, native to Mexico & S.E. USA, and regarded as an environmental weed here. On the plus side, it’s purty & helps holds the dunes in place as hundreds of careless beach-goers trample over them.

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I’ve admired this oleander for a while — a sprawling, floriferous monster near the water (same house as the skeleton family in my Halloween post). Get this: “It is so widely cultivated that no precise region of origin has been identified, though southwest Asia has been suggested” ~ Wikipedia. It’s super-poisonous & if you’ve ever tried to dig a few out of a garden, as I have, you will never plant another without some serious soul-searching.

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Hippeastrums. Way cooler than a plant with “hippie” in its name deserves to be.

Frangipani (as Australians call 'em; for Kate it's plumeria, the genus name) with rain drop (from that storm in my recent "After the Ice Came Down" post). These are so synonymous with Brisbane in Summer, I'd guess a lot of people think of them as natives. They actually range naturally between Mexico & Brazil but they thrive here as a garden tree & their strong, almost overpowering fragrance on summer evenings is a quintessentially Brisbane sensation.

Frangipani (as Australians call ’em; for Kate it’s plumeria, the genus name) with rain drop (from that storm in my recent “After the Ice Came Down” post). These are so synonymous with Brisbane in Summer, I’d guess a lot of people think of them as natives. They actually range naturally between Mexico & Brazil but they thrive here as a garden tree & their strong, almost overpowering fragrance on summer evenings is a quintessentially Brisbane sensation.

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An uncommonly coloured frangipani variety in the yard of an uncommonly coloured house.

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The most common, presumably unimproved cultivar.

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Frangipani Shadow. You can pretty much break off a branch & shove it in the ground & you’ll get a tree.

A frangipani at Shorncliffe, a few steps from Cabbage Tree Creek. Got a spare million bucks or so lying around? This place is for sale. Ocean views, handy to fish & chips, sweet frangipani tree. Bargain!

A frangipani at Shorncliffe, a few steps from Cabbage Tree Creek. Got a spare million bucks or so lying around? This place is for sale. Ocean views, handy to fish & chips, sweet frangipani tree. Bargain!

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A geranium makes a bid for freedom.

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Jasmine in the ethereal pre-dawn light. Smelled like a dream.

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Calistemon or bottlebrush — at last, an Australian native! This one is at the lagoon in Sandgate, where I typed most of this — not easy with a bunch of young boys screaming “TADPOLES! THERE’S TADPOHHHHHHHHLES!” while girls on rollerblades rolled back and forth across the rattling wooden slats of the footbridge, an effect similar to a wheelbarrow loaded with Katy Perry CDs running over one’s temples.

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Callistemon flowers are a favoured food source for rainbow lorikeets & numerous other native birds.

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This strelitzia or bird of paradise flower on the Sandgate waterfront seems to be reaching over the fence towards some tasty morsel — possibly a much-prized Big Mac wrapper or Frozen Coke cup, which thrive on the local streets following the arrival of our newest fine-dining establishment.

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Allamanda, a very common fence or informal hedge plant in Brisbane. Yet another bodacious South American import that thrives on horticultural indifference.

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I believe this is a red-flowering gum, Corymbia ficifolia. It’s a native, but to a tiny area of coastal Western Australia, not here. It’s commonly grown worldwide, including California. Curiously, it’t not a true gum, despite appearances: formerly classed within Eucalyptus, it now shares its genus, Corymbia, with just two other species.

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Some edible colour near the waterfront — and I might add, one more South American that now calls Brisbane home.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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26 Comments

  1. I don’t know how many times I’ve been sure that a plant is a native, only to be disappointed to discover that it’s exotic! I would have been devastated to find out the bottlebrush was an introduced species.

    I live in an area that has the annual Jacaranda Festival which is kind of funny since it’s not a native. Our streets are lined with them and it really is impressive to see. There are quite a few superstitions regarding the Jacaranda “petals” when you are a student at the University of Queensland. In my days there, if one fell on your shoulder you’d fail the exam!

    Thanks for taking us a walk around your neighbourhood. If only the blog had a scratch and sniff feature! 🙂

  2. jessiemartinovic says

    Jacaranda during the purple apocalypse – gives my eyes and brain a taste of fallen violet so violent it’s gentle

    ‘I don’t believe it subtle ‘ makes me laugh because personally trying to be subtle, is subtly loud Smelling

    In the yard of an uncommonly coloured house – uncommonly uncanny / uber um cool

    Thank you for writing in a colour my eyes indulge pleasantly in, they literally glide through the pictures/writing with ease , smiling 🙂

    • Happy you enjoyed this one, it was a very colourful post. And I don’t have to add that quite a lot of hard work and rewriting (too much) goes into making that effortless reading experience!

  3. I love reading your blog and seeing your photos. It allows me to enjoy the beauty of the world without having to worry about having the means to travel.

    • That’s great, I am really enjoying the nice comments of late. I always assume the reader doesn’t necessarily know my world the way I do and try to get across what makes it special or just plain interesting.

  4. jrhophotography says

    Amazing photographs and the humour in your writing cracks me up everytime haha thanks for a great post!

  5. I like how you’ve used your full kit bag of photography skills! Fisheye, macro, nice dose of bokeh etc. All thrown in! They look great. I’m pretty envious of those colours up there. Dusty and dry down here and it’s hard to make photos pop at this time of the year.

    • I just live thunderstorm to thunderstorm, Greg. But yeah, we go like things brash and exuberant up here, we Queenslanders aren’t famed for being reserved and delicate!

  6. Sandy Duncan says

    Wonderful photos. Thank you so much. May I put one on Facebook? Full citation promised.

  7. Pingback: Double Dragon Lily or Hippeastrum | Royal FLORIA Putrajaya

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