In addition to over a kilometre of walking trails through tall shady trees and over wooden bridges, demonstration garden "rooms" offer different themes, including coastal, scribbly gum, formal, wildlife attracting, grey gum, waterwise, rainforest, wetland and creek vegetation.
I imagine that deciding on a garden plan, according to the particular area in which you live, is a much easier task than just looking at rows of different plants, with no idea of how to put them all together, especially if you're horticulturally challenged, as I am.
Did you know, according to Wikipedia, that there are 700 kinds of eucalypts growing all over the Australian continent? Most interesting to me is the scribbly gum, named after the "scribbles" on its bark. The Scribbly Gum Moth lays its eggs between the layers of old and new bark and then the larvae burrow into the new bark. When the old bark falls away the zigzag tracks are revealed!
Some of the eucalypts have stringy bark, hard furrowed bark or flaky bark which can be peeled off in ribbons or fibre-like sheets .
Several ceramic bird baths are tucked away in quiet shady corners
I love the different textures - solid, engraved blocks of stone, the smaller pebbles and fallen leaves and the green algae carpet of the pond.
Smooth metal chains and rough wooden planks
Recycling taken to extremes?
Tender curls of the new leaves of the Bird's Nest Fern.
This is Lilly Pilly (Syzigium luehammii), a name I became obsessed with - it kind of rolls off your tongue and you try to fit it in to casual conversation - did you enjoy the Lilly Pilly jam etc? The fruits are used for making jam and in tarts and cakes. We bought a bottle of the liquer home with us - dropped into a glass of sparkling wine, it adds a beautiful deep crimson to the bottom of the glass.
Crouching tiger ...?
... not so hidden frog!
After scones, cream and Lilly Pilly Jam (see how casually I drop that name in) we drove to Wellington Point for a final look at Moreton Bay. Perched out on the tip of a peninsula, the Point is bordered by water on both sides.
Imposing Moreton Bay Fig trees line the esplanade. At low tide you can walk out on the sand spit to nearby tiny King Island.
Dance of the Moreton Bay Crabs.
Sting Ray art
Back in Cleveland there was great excitement in the park outside my daughter's home when this baby koala was sighted in a tall tree. I was touched to see how many people walking through the park stopped to marvel at this little creature and their concern for its safety - it was very young and the parents were nowhere to be found. Standard procedure is for someone to phone the Koala Bear Rescue Service and Alain did so immediately. Even more admirable was how swiftly the Service arrived and took the little bear to a sanctuary.
And all too soon it was time to say goodbye
The human kind of farewells are too painful to record and all I can say is that there is nothing quite so agonising as saying goodbye to your daughter and grandchildren, knowing that it will be several years before you are likely to see them again. There is a particular kind of pain and sadness to live with when your family live on another continent.