Happiness as Anarchy #120: Flower Arrangements

The Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley in France has immaculate gardens, exquisitely designed and carefully maintained, delighting the eye in every direction. In addition there is a prolific flower garden with blooms destined for the château. In every room and corridor there are fascinating flower arrangements, every bit as interesting as the furniture and architecture, adding a living presence to the historic site.


Happiness as Anarchy #107: Pink Blossom

The prunus (the genus of stonefruit trees: plums, peach, cherry, nectarine, apricot and almonds) are in full bloom, bringing a splash of pink the urban landscape. The trees stand proud, offering their display of pinks to the world, with the promise of delicious fruit in summer and autumn. Exactly which fruit the trees will bear remains a mystery until then.


Happiness as Anarchy #106: Wattle blossom

The wattles are blooming in almost fluorescent yellow in unexpected places. As well as gardens and parkland, where you would expect to find attractive plants, they are waving their flag from train yards, car parks and abandoned lots. And they have the spotlight all to themselves – wattles bloom when not much else does, making them appear even more  vibrant and spectacular.


Happiness as Anarchy #93: New Growth

There was a thick layer of frost on my windscreen this morning, but despite the chill, spring is coming. There are buds about to burst, the first flowers on the stone fruits are out and the grass is growing like crazy. I love the vibrant green of new growth, it holds such promise and hope. Juvenile eucalypts put out leaves that are uncharacteristically bright for the Australian landscape, and round. The leaves become longer as the tree matures, but in the early years they are naively fat.


Happiness as Anarchy #86: Sunshine in the morning

North-facing windows are indeed a joy. In the depths of a Ballarat winter, the huge patch of sunshine in my loungeroom is the perfect antidote to the August blues. The warmth of the sun is different from other heat sources, and I find myself drawn to the sunny spots as though they are magnetic. The warm floor on bare feet and sunshine on the skin give me that little kick of Vitamin D that gets me through another few chilly days.



Happiness as Anarchy #81: Summer photos

The snow this morning was the most I’ve ever seen in the 16 years that I’ve been living in this part of the world. What better activity to finish a chilly day than to warm up with old summer holiday photos? This one is from 2018 at Great Oyster Bay in Tasmania, between Swansea and the Freycinet Peninsula, where the kids and I camped on the beach and ate oysters by the dozen.


Happiness as Anarchy #79: Succulents

Succulents are so interesting, attractive and tough. I don’t know what any of the ones in my garden are called, mainly because I have picked them up in my travels. A stalk from a roadside here, a bit from someone’s garden there, one from the green waste pile at the tip. You just snap a piece off and stick it in the ground when you get home, et voilà, it grows. They all have such wonderful structure and colour. I particularly like the red stripe on the edge of the leaves of this one. I envisage the grass in my garden being slowly taken over by randomly acquired succulents.


Here’s an article with planting suggestions and names of succulents from Planted Well:

Happiness as Anarchy #72: Curious plants

It’s fun fishing through my photos for something to post here. I’d forgotten about the magical, curly Xanthorrhoea that I saw driving home from Adelaide a few years ago. Like giant, twisted penises reaching for the sky as the cars whizz by at 100km an hour. It’s probably the wind out there, coming of the Great Australia Bight past the Cooyong that makes them grow in such curious forms.


Happiness as Anarchy #72: Garden Possibilities

I look out on my new back yard and see a myriad of possibilities. I have inherited two large raised veggie boxes replete with greens and herbs – lettuce, rainbow chard, thyme, parsley, rocket, dill, oregano and other leafy greens – but the rest of the garden is really a blank slate. Flat and north facing, there is ample room to plant fruit trees, make pathways and spaces, playing with lines and textures created with living, growing things. I will take inspiration from the fabulous gardens of places like Chenonceau and plant with delusional optimism as my little patch of earth takes shape.