The Idea of Elevation


I don’t know about you but I like the ‘idea of elevation’. I like the way the phrase dances off my tongue and makes my synapses sing.

It brings to mind lofty phrases like ‘raising the bar’, ‘climbing the ladder’, ‘achieving new heights’; a sense of growing on and  upward. Well, you get the idea. It’s a positive notion.

But in a more literal sense, elevation also refers to levels above a certain reference point, like sea level for example. Mount Tamborine in South Eastern Queensland is elevated in both senses.

Last Sunday I visited the Springtime on the Mountain: Open Gardens Trail, where seven notable private gardens were open to the public to raise money for the local botanical gardens. What a treat!

Despite inclement weather, we three trailed, soggy and dripping through each open garden. We were enthralled by the diversity of garden styles and plant species. Having spent my childhood in a temperate zone, I was whisked back in time to appreciate the spring blossoms on deciduous trees like the almond and the cooler-weather-loving plants like hydrangea that grew there in such contrast to my own tiny coastal garden. And then there were the breathtaking 180 degree plus, vistas all the way to the coast from the plateau teetering on the edge of a sheer escarpment.

I marveled at how two diverse growing zones can share almost the same latitude; my tiny garden almost at sea level, and the gardens on the mountain at some 1,722 feet above sea level. Situated in the Gold Coast Hinterland in South East Queensland, Tamborine Mountain forms the northern part of the Scenic Rim, a lava flow from the Mount Warning volcanic eruption 22 million years ago.

But this is not the only difference. Although Tamborine Mountain (from the  Aboriginal word ‘Jambreen’ meaning ‘wild lime’) is classified as a ‘sub-tropical’ zone, the temperatures are usually 5 °C to 7 °C degrees cooler than the surrounding lowlands, allowing for temperate zone plants to flourish. This, together with the rich red volcanic soil and high rainfall, almost guarantees if you ‘plant a nail you can grow a crow-bar’ it is just  so fertile. In contrast, the sandy soil in my garden has been transformed by hard work, ample tank water and rich humus from my worms to make it as fertile.

Nevertheless, the gardens in each region share similarities, beginning with the elevation of ideas; the inspiration to create something more than the sum of its parts.

Buffeted by a fierce spring storm on our way home down the mountain, we agreed despite the discomforting weather, we were all inspired by the experience. Seeing the creativity and the results of tender nurturing, and receiving the advice offered by the gardens’ guardians, we knew our own gardens would benefit from the cross-pollination of ideas.

Gardening is an effective leveler, but that doesn’t mean pursuing a passion for it isn’t elevating.

What gardener has not glimpsed her soul in the perfection of nature?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the idea of elevation, or for that matter, the elevation of ideas.

What elevates you?


View of the escarpment from Tallaringa, Tamborine Mountain.


Red poppy


Pink Waratah

14 responses to “The Idea of Elevation

  1. I’m elevated by other people’s gardens, but I’m afraid I rarely get motivated to do much in my own, I’m sorry to say. I don’t mind cutting back, digging out invaders, and other heavy duty stuff, but lack the patience for weeding and other more painstaking work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gardening is certainly all of those things you mention, but more than that I can see you think gardens are about the seeing, the appreciating. I agree and would add to this the connection with nature don’t you think? I think gardens are not some thing you ‘do’, rather they are something which allow you to ‘be’. Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the heads up Rachel. I love the whole concept of your new blog – wished I’d thought of that idea first. I look forward to reading your observations.


  2. Visiting elevated land is a novelty for me as a sea-dweller. I enjoy it very much. The changes in altitude bring fresh landscapes to enjoy and if it’s an area with little development, a sense of expansiveness with views to far away. Sometimes the air is noticeably clearer, fresher, more nourishing somehow in its lightness, not burdened by salt.

    Liked by 1 person

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