In The Company of Colour



Who doesn’t need a little colour in their lives? Or a lot?

A recent visit to the annual Carnival of Flowers festival had me reflecting on the importance of colour and sharing experiences. You may remember I wrote about the festival last year when a friend and I took the two hour drive up the range to the city of Toowoomba for a day trip.

This year three friends and I spent four whole days immersing ourselves in everything the carnival offered – and there was plenty! The weather was fine and sunny for the first two days, showing the public gardens off at their best. Careful management of water and selection of plants belied the effects of the devastating drought in much of Queensland. The riotous colours, the perfect blooms, the profusion of blossoms – it truly was a feast for the senses.



The competition gardens were no less impressive than the public ones, but quite different. Here, the gardener’s personalities were show-cased in their choice of plants, their layouts, but more especially in the quirky humour. I loved talking to fellow gardeners as much as I enjoyed their gardens. When I asked one avid gardener what she got from all the hard work it took to enter the competition she replied: ‘seeing the pleasure others get from my efforts’.

The Japanese Gardens at the University of Southern Queensland were a tranquil respite from the crowds in the public gardens. We strolled along gravel pathways marvelling at the structured form and inducement for contemplation.


When I think about the colour in my life it isn’t restricted to gardens, flowers or even anything material. I speak of colour in its widest sense. I imagine colour encompassing the people in my life: those I love and those freshly met; the experiences I have; the stories told; the way I think about the world. Each represents vivid, vibrant colour painted with broad splashy brushstrokes on a huge life canvas.

To share this experience with like-minded friends is beyond words for me.



If you change the way you tell your own story, you can change the colour and create a life in technicolour.

Isabel Allende






30 responses to “In The Company of Colour

      • It is strange to think. It sort of highlights though how our “perspective” come from where we are standing. Today is September 29 and yet very different days for both of us because of where we are. And though different both “perspectives” are true- you in spring, me in fall. Thanks for lighting that little spark in my mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! I know! The construct of time fascinated me. I remember reading how differently it can be perceived – stretching interminably or rushing by. The fact that we’re talking in real time right at this minute reminds us that time is simply a human construct after all.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s wonderful, this Spring frenzy before we plunge into the heat of Summer. I can see why it took four days to see everything at the carnival.


    • I agree Jane. I’m not looking forward to the humidity. There was so much more to see than the gardens as well. I didn’t post pics of the gallery, the ikebana displays, the cathedrals where they also had competitions for local schools. There were music events in the parks and also cooking demonstrations to name just a few of the side events. Have you been? Maybe Floriade is closer for you. I would like to do that one year.


      • I haven’t been to the Toowoomba event, Robyn, but I have been to Floriade. There had been quite a lot of rain-unusually-and the flowers were not looking their best. It was still spectacular though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous photos and commentary Robyn.

    I was up in Toowoomba on the Tuesday before the Carnival officially started — for Mum’s birthday. I visited the gardens in Queens Park first, and wasn’t surprised to see the flowers doing so well. The Council gardeners have been doing this a long time, so they’ve had to deal with droughts over the years.

    Your photos are way more expressive than mine. If you don’t mind, I’m going to share this post with my Facebook friends, the majority of whom are spread around the world, and eager to see anything related to Australia.

    The photos from the Japanese Garden are especially great to see — I worked at the USQ for almost 20 years, and it was during that time that this beautiful spot was created. It used to be a swampy area, and the whole garden was funded by the public and the university. I would often go there and have my lunch — a respite from the work day.

    Glad you showed these Robyn!


    • I forgot it’s your home city Kim. My photos are taken with iphones, my own and those of my friends one of whom also grew up in Toowoomba. It’s a beautiful city and I loved the Japanese gardens especially. Funny to think of you there years ago. Interesting to know it used to be a swamp. I remember interviewing one of the men who was responsible for the Carnival’s inception so I know a little of its history.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Robyn. Have been sick last 3 weeks, but these pictures really brightened my morning. Getting better slowly. Seldom use internet (yet) . Too heavy stuff for me. Images though open my heart. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Albert sorry to hear you’ve not been well. Glad the pictures made you feel better. The grand champion garden certainly did that for me. The couple who won were such characters. I think he might have been a retired ‘bushie’ ( from the outback) because he had such a dry sense of humour and loved to make us laugh. Scattered about his garden were wry and quirky pokes at himself like the concrete dog sculpture which he told us must endure all his wife’s commands. Such hard workers too. They maintain all the garden on their own and it is immaculate. I loved talking to the gardeners.

      Liked by 1 person

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