Forest and garden, 27 Sept, a first day

Forest and garden, 27 Sept, a first day

This is the place
all the pieces coming together
except the one falling away.


An Evening Brown jumps out of the way, prefers forest shadows
to sunlight. I see them all year round, but never see them feed,
believe they are leaves with an engine, four legs and antennae.

Oyster Creek is striped with pale ochre where sunlight blinds
the forest’s still reflection, a beach has blocked the way.
The Paperbarks are tied in knots, one of my many weaknesses.

The lost tree is being remembered, cradled by a daughter,
moss beds beneath another stump and blossoms. Bottlebrush
Grass Trees have risen, lissom shoots adjust their balance.

After three mls of rain, I search for mushrooms in a favourite clearing,
feel the weight of the earth under my feet, I know they are there.
What happens when different mycelia meet. Enemies? Friends?



Friends round for breakfast yesterday couldn’t believe how
the garden has grown in a year. I think I know what to believe in.
Hard work, broken fingernails and lazing on deck at sunset.

An Orchard Butterfly finds the Asian garden, the season’s first
as the first Japanese Iris unfolds its luminous display
splashing colour in the sombre garden of the seven sages.

The wisteria is beginning to lose its wedding-white brilliance,
petals laced in vertical leis, giddy in the slightest breeze,
the bark chips on the garden path surrender to the rakka.

Native Tankervillea orchids have arrived for their program
headlining flowers with rude-pink Victorian embellishments,
but overnight the citrus lost lots of leaves to browsing wallabies.

Talking to our neighbour, lorikeets, Rainbows and Green Leaves
are chatting, above our heads in a young Cheese Tree, loud as Italians,
bringing smiles to our morning. My mother has received the letter.


More on our Asian garden, and more, and its use of Shakkei (borrowed view, jiejing).


Someone asked, all the photographs in a dated blog are taken on that same day as the poem begins.

Jagun Nature Reserve lies at the back of our garden. Jagun is Gumbaynggir for homeland, country or birthplace. Jagun is only small (100 hectares), squeezed between the North Coast Rail Line and the sea, but has been mapped with fourteen vegetation communities. These include: spinifex grasslands, acacia and banksia shrublands, woodlands, dry open forests, moist open forests, swamp forests and mangroves. It is in excellent condition with low weed incidence and the dunes have never been sand mined.

The Seven Sages is a small, narrow bog garden with seven stones (the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove) growing sedges, irises and native grasses. It leads into the small north-facing Asian garden of white pebbles and black bamboo, with: magnolia, maples, camellia, gingers, iris, japonicas, hydrangea, lemon grass, turmeric and bonsais. These include a Moreton Bay Fig rescued from between our inner-city pavers over twenty years ago, a Pink Kurrajong and an Acer.

The ‘Seven Sages’ were Daoist scholars, writers and musicians who retreated from public life to enjoy the arts (and drink). China, 3rd century CE.

Rakka is a Chinese term the Japanese use for blossoms/petals on the ground.

The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet is a beautiful bird with an ugly name. The bird is also known as the gold and green lorikeet, greenie, green lorikeet, green and yellow lorikeet, green keet, green parrot, green leek, and green leaf.


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