Tree Squares | Antipodes

This month’s Square Challenge is all about trees. Now trees are not the easiest of subjects to square up, so Becky is relying on us to show some imagination in how we present them. For the fourth week I am going to look at trees from the Antipodes (that’s Australia and New Zealand for us Brits).

White bellied Fish Eagle in a Gum Tree

Tree Squares

Spiky Squares

During the month of March, Becky, Queen of the Square format, is back. This month she would like to see anything spiky, jagged, bristly, serrated, prickly or barbed in whatever interpretation you like. The only rule: it must be a square.
March Squares

Pseudopanax crassifolius, horoeka, or lancewood, is a New Zealand native tree with an unusual architectural presence. Its common name, savage or toothed lancewood, gives you an indication of the foliage’s jagged edges – this armoured plant is brutal.

Alternative Advent #15

In the period leading to Christmas some people buy an Advent Calendar to check off each day before December 25. Usually intended for children, it appears that in recent years there has been a rise in the popularity of luxury ones aimed at indulgent adults who feel the necessity to treat themselves on the run-up to the big day itself – from expensive candles and perfume to miniature bottles of Prosecco or Whisky and even chunks of cheese.

So I thought to balance all this extravaganza I would offer you an alternative in the form of a flower a day from Sunday 3rd December until Sunday 24th December.

All images taken on a mid-November day along the George V Memorial Walk alongside Copperhouse Pool in Hayle using my Olympus OM-D E-M10 and 40-150mm lens

garden photography: winter garden

In January I’m looking for a Winter Garden

(This month I want to see photos and stories about winter gardens. You can interpret this any way you want; a garden in winter, winter flowers, or plants in a glasshouse)


The Auckland Domain Winter Garden complex in Auckland, New Zealand, is a national treasure. It was designed in the early 1900s in the style of the famous English partnership of Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll and opened in 1913. Rare and spectacular plants in an ever-changing display can be seen in each of the two barrel-vaulted Victorian style glass houses which face out on to an extensive courtyard and sunken pool. One glasshouse contains temperate plants and is not heated and the other contains tropical plants and heated to 28°C. It is free to enter and a lovely place to visit on a chilly winter’s day. Continue reading

Indian Char Bagh Garden

This garden is one of the Paradise Garden Collection at Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand and follows on from my previous post.

Indian Char Bagh Garden

The ‘char bagh’ or ‘enclosed four part’ garden has been one of the most significant types of traditional garden. Between the 8th and 18th centuries these gardens spread throughout the Muslim world from Asia to North Africa to Spain. They were the original ‘Paradise Gardens‘.

4 part garden

The complex symbolism behind this form of garden has its very ancient roots in three of the world’s great religions – Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. A small hunting palace near Agra, called Lal Mahal, has inspired the Hamilton Garden’s Char Bagh garden.


American Modernist Garden

This garden is one of the Paradise Garden Collection at Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand and follows on from my previous post.

American Modernist Garden

Modernist style was an international phenomenon, not just a 20th century American  tradition. Its gardens are focused on relaxed outdoor living, a perfect match to sun soaked, upwardly mobile California. Sunny yellow outdoor chairs, raised deck-like forms, water features and popular culture murals set the scene at Hamilton Gardens.


Design of modernist gardens is usually related to the use of the garden and they are often dominated by elements like swimming pools, barbecue and outdoor eating areas. There is usually a strong visual and practical relationship between house and garden. The plants used in the Modernist garden were usually native to the local area and this garden is based upon the designs by Californian designer Thomas Church (1902 – 1978) with plants from the south-west of the USA.

Italian Renaissance Garden

This garden is one of the Paradise Garden Collection at Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand and follows on from my previous post.

Italian Renaissance Garden

In the 15th and 16th Century the cities of Italy experienced an unprecedented flowering of arts and sciences, which included the art of garden design and the science of horticulture. Powerful families built magnificent gardens around their grand country villas as symbols of their prestige. The garden was a place for entertaining and impressing guests with its grandeur


There were influences of Greek and Roman antiquities and here in this garden is a  copy from a mould of the original 5th century Capitoline wolf with Romulus and Remus. Influences of a Medieval garden is seen too with elements from that earlier era retained such as the high surrounding walls, flat square beds with edges lined with plants, beds of simple flowery meads, and the arched trellis-work.  The major difference in the Renaissance gardens was the introduction of a strong central axis, a framework for a classical order of perspective, proportion, symmetry, and geometric forms, circles and triangles.

Japanese Garden of Contemplation

This garden is one of the Paradise Garden Collection at Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand and follows on from my previous post.

Japanese Garden of Contemplation

Fluid echoes dance –

Ripples of sun and water

Hold dreams in the eaves

~ Vonnie Hughes, Auckland (winner of the Hamilton Gardens Japanese Poetry Compettion 1998

Japanese Garden of Contemplation

Japanese Garden of Contemplation

A Pagoda

A Pagoda

Take time to contemplate the carefully laid out arrangements from your seat in the Abbott’s Quarters and watch your mind relax as you view the serene landscape. This is a garden that embraces contradiction in all its forms: you will see contradictory pairs such as movement/stillness, complexity/simplicity, vastness/ smallness, and even wet/dry.

English Flower Garden

This garden is one of the Paradise Garden Collection at Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand and follows on from my previous post.

English Flower Garden

The style which inspired the English flower garden at Hamilton Gardens is the Arts and Crafts of the nineteenth century, commonly referred to as ‘gardens of a golden afternoon‘. Unfortunately for us this was a rainy morning and more appropriate for sitting in a tea-room supping a hot cuppa!


The romantic garden is brought to life by the creation of ‘outdoor rooms’, paved pathways and flower borders leading to quaint arbors  and seats. There is also a sunken lawn with a pool and fountain in the centre with paving leading away to the various plant compartments. This was the least interesting garden for me, not because it isn’t beautifully done, as it is, but simply because I get my fill of these styles of gardens all the time in the UK. I hadn’t come all the way from England to see an English Garden. I wanted to see something different. But please enjoy the delicacy of this fragrant spot. And have a rest on that coveted Lutyens bench.


Chinese Scholar’s Garden

This garden is one of the Paradise Garden Collection at Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand and follows on from my previous post.

Chinese Scholar’s Garden (Yichang-Yuan)

The tradition of the Chinese scholars building dates back to the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century. For them, gardens were havens for relaxation, meditation and the cultivation of the spirit. The Chinese garden portrays a miniature of the cosmos. In it are ‘mountains’ and ‘hills’, ‘rivers and ‘lakes’, ‘cliffs’ and ‘chasms’ following the Taoist tradition. Take your time to wander up to the bold, red Ting Pavilion. A winding journey takes you over the seasonally blooming Wisteria Bridge, across the Island of Whispering Birds, past the elusive Hidden Philosopher, and through lush bamboo to finally reach the Pavilion and its breathtaking views of the Waikato River.


The Chinese Garden is a tapestry of convoluted trees, rugged rocks, water, windows – watch out for contrasts: light and shade, shadows and reflections, sounds and scents, heights and depths, mountains and waters, yin and yang.