Animals, Australia, Gardening
Comments 4

Topiary Reptiles: A Water Dragon Trilogy #3

Hey, folks. Some Goat that Wrote trivia for you: This is my 11th post to contain the word “dragon” in its title. You read it here first.

You’re probably tiring of water dragons at this point, and that would be very sad, but with this short final episode we’re leaving our reptilian friends behind to bask and swim and otherwise squander their Summer in standard Queensland fashion. I’ll be back before long to catch up and share festive season stories with them — no doubt theirs will leave mine for dead.

This was an interesting little visit to Roma Street…


City Hall, a short distance from the park.

..when for the first time I had a good look at the topiary garden.

You don’t see much topiary in Australian gardens, although there’s no shortage of poorly pruned hedges. It seems very “eccentric English” and olde-worlde, and kinda ridiculous when it’s done badly — well, even when it’s done well (Stanley Kubrick omitted the topiary-animals-come-to-life bit from his version of Stephen King’s The Shining, probably a wise move), although there’s a quirky Australian take on the practice at Roma Street…


I could be wrong, but the kangaroo appears to have been fashioned out of lilly pilly, an east-coast Australian rainforest native.

..and these azalea mounds reminded me of gardens in Japan:


Several shrubs in this section have been groomed into attractive geometric shapes, and they’re nicely complemented by some romantically rendered stone fauna:


topiary garden roma street

This stone snake basking on a rock is an effective touch — but check out what’s basking on the stone snake:


A Reptilian Wonderland at Roma Street.

Well, that was one of the coolest things I’d seen in a while (even counting the hedge kangaroo), and of course I had to freak out in the subtlest, most inconspicuous manner possible, as I slowwwwwwly manoeuvred (Is this the toughest word to spell in English without spell check? It’s worse than “reminiscence”.) my camera into position, while creeping slowly closer to my prey…


Can’t a lizard just sunbathe in peace?

..and not betraying my intentions to my camera-shy subject.

I have a theory that the best way to stalk animals in the open is sideways, avoiding eye contact at all costs. And if you can, whistle — everybody trusts a whistler.

It was nerve-wracking — this hobby is supposed to be relaxing, dammit — but I got there in the end, though it was touch and go for a few stressful minutes. The snake seemed unconcerned but the dragon was definitely paying close attention:


If a turtle had wandered into the scene right then, it would’ve made my day.

I backed off briefly to give him/her some space when another humanoid broke the spell — that’s a different lizard there, checking her out:


Life Among the Geometry.

And that was it — it would be pretty hard to top that encounter, and it’s good to leave on a high. So I made a brief return to the Snake Stone to express my gratitude…


..and I was on my way.

Oh, one more thing. That person in the high-visibility jacket you can see through the gap in the hedge…


..interviewed me for a survey before I split.

She wanted to know how I rated the gardens and facilities. I gave everything a high score, complimented the standard of horticulture, and to the question “Why do you like to visit the gardens?” gave the obvious response.

“For the dragons.”

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote


  1. I’ve never been to the topiary gardens. I’ll have to check it out now. I spend a lot of my time in parks as I don’t often have the time to travel to wilderness hiking destinations.

    You’ve captured these interesting stone sculptures well and I agree about the photography hobby being stressful sometimes when it’s supposed to be fun. There can be frustration and disappointment when you’re slowly sneaking up on a critter and just when you’ve got things set up to take an amazing pic, they scoot! Tricky creatures. Yeah, the side-one approach seems to work better. I can imagine how happy you felt to get the lizard on the snake. I have a large stone frog in my garden and was elated to get a quirky shot of a lizard perched on top. It wasn’t as impressive as your offering though.

    I love our Brisbane and Ipswich parklands. I often see more wildlife on these local jaunts than I ever do in national parks. Thanks for the Dragon Trilogy. Thoroughly enjoyed it. 🙂

    • No worries, thanks again for the nice comment. I’m a park-lover as well. In fact one of the things I missed most during my two years in Korea was parks. There were a couple of small, scrappy excuses, but nothing like what we take for granted in Australia, where there are usually suburban parks as well as more elaborate city ones, plus Tokyo had three or four magnificent ones, not even counting the temple grounds you could often find, or the traditional gardens you could visit. Of course Seoul was different, but that was a world away…

      I’ve just added to my photo-stress by purchasing a real tripod for myself for Xmas. More weight (although it’s at the lighter end of the scale) and one more piece of gear to care for and keep track of. But I took it out last night just in time for a storm on the coast and immediately scored a few nice shots I wouldn’t have got with my wonky little Gorilla-Pod, so I’m happy.

      • Yes, we are lucky to have such beautiful parks. I’m just back from Mt Coot-tha Gardens and Slaughter Falls. It was lovely except for the usual Queensland sauna at this time of year! I melted.

        Congrats on the new tripod! Makes a big difference to some kinds of shots. Nice that you scored some good storm ones. You should get plenty of opportunities for more this summer the way the weather has been lately! have fun with your new acquisition. 🙂

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