And a carnival it was!
Such a riot of colour and flower varieties all over the parks and gardens of the city of Toowoomba, known very aptly as ‘the garden city’.
The city of Toowoomba perches on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, around 700 metres (2,300 ft) above sea level in the Darling Downs region of southern Queensland, Australia.
The rich volcanic soil and an average annual rainfall of 724 ml (28.5 in) help maintain the more than 150 public parks scattered across the city. The warm, humid, sub-tropical climate with sometimes very cool winters and cold winds means the change of seasons is more defined than the coastal areas where I live. Deciduous trees from around the world like, Jacaranda, Camphor Laurel and Plane trees line many of the city streets and parks, ensuring an autumn colour extravaganza.
There’s nothing like a spring garden festival for generating ideas to apply to one’s own garden. Of course the scale is quite different.
My garden is tiny whereas the gardens on display in Toowoomba are largely public parks and botanical gardens and some expansive private gardens. Even so, I came away with ideas on how to use space, contours, complementary planting; and how the use of light, shade and colour figures in creating illusions of depth, drama and mystery.
It was good to see the interest a festival such as this generates. I think Essex Tait, one of the Carnival’s founders would have been extremely proud of how it’s evolved. I had the pleasure of hearing the story of the festival’s inception from him years ago. Visitors from near and far attend by the busload. Some from overseas and others like us, from just a couple of hours drive away.
I am an observer at heart. I watch others as they interact with nature, with other people, with themselves; but mostly I watch myself. I’ve learned the most useful lessons this way although the woman who lives in my head can be a slow learner.
Beauty doesn’t conform to size. My heart swells in equal measure in the presence of the Carnival’s displays or the sight of a single miraculous bloom in my tiny garden. The miracle is no less because of scale.
“All space is relative. There is no such thing as size. The telescope and the microscope have produced a deadly leveling of great and small, far and near. The only little thing is sin, the only great thing is fear!
― David H. Keller