Monday, December 23, 2013

Shades of Green: Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens in early summer

Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in early December ... how green it is! 2013 was an anomalous year, so cool and wet.
Starting the easy hike clockwise: the view out over the water catchment dam...
...and to give you a sense of where you are ... the map! Notice the big red "You Are Here" icon.
Halfway along the catchment lake. Look at those water levels, in December!
This was just about the first really warm/hot day of the season...
...step into the shade, and the temperature instantly  fell ten degrees C. Nice!
Down by the "duck pond," with its lily pads and ferns and iris.
Not to mention the alien vegetation that has snuck in here!
Moorhens ... they call this the "duck pond" for a good reason. 
The walk takes you right around the pond, up by the rhododendron gully --
...shady here, cooler, with Seriously Odd Trees. Anyone know what they are??
And though it was hot, a glance at the sky shows that the weather's about to change.
Beyond the pond, at the lowest point in the park is the Bog Garden.
If the rest of the gardens were lush, you know how the Bog Garden was!
Tiny lizards -- baby blue tongues -- were scampering around the rocks -- too fast to photograph!
From the bog garden you climb up steeply, and suddenly you're looking down on the pond.
Catch your breath here before pressing on...
The flowering trees are so beautiful. Ker-choo!
Did we say, shades of green? Don't think we're ever seen Mount Lofty Gardens this green!
Everything was in bloom, in fact, except for --
The roses. Alas, these were almost the only roses blooming. We arrived
about a week after every bush had been hard-pruned. Darn.
Heading back down toward the parking lot ... Dave's sharp eyes spotted this guy:
a wild kangaroo taking a nap in the early afternoon shade.
The hike back takes you to the other side of the catchment dam, and across it...
One black swan seems to live on the dam. This is so odd, because swans always come in pairs ...
they also mate for life. We've seen this swan alone here since 2006. Did he lose his mate? It's a little sad.
Back on the low side of the lake: hang a left for the parking lot --
Hey, the Millennium Possum waited for us! (Either that, or it made it back in the nick of time...)
And we'd worked up an appetite by now. Anyone for lunch?!
Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens is one of those little patches of paradise. It's been open to the public for about 35 years -- something like 250 acres of trees and shrubs from around the world, from the magnolias that bloom in August to the rhododendrons that run amok in October, to the deciduous trees that change color on the Australian fall, say April and May -- and we'll revisit the park soon to share those images.

This trip was one of those "Where haven't we been in eons?" outings ... and in fact, we hadn't been to this particular park in three or four years. Other parks, gardens, national parks -- sure; but this botanic garden is perched almost right at the highest point of the Mount Lofty Ranges.

We were lucky with the weather: it changing that very afternoon, heading back into showers and gray skies, but it held together ... hot, bright, dry ... while we did the whole "easy" hike, clockwise around the park. There's a lot more to the  Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens than what you see here, but unless you're a mountain goat, you might think twice about it!

So, here you have December 11, 2013 ... and for contrast we just have to give you a link. One of the most beautiful travel/photo/adventure blogs on the web is "Jill Outside," which used to be called "Arctic Glass" when Jill Homer lived and worked in Juneau, Alaska. She's not in AK any longer, but all the Alaskan posts are still there in the early part of the blog ... and on December 11, 2009, she posted "There's no way to write it down," a picture essay depicting the Blackberry Ridge area. Contrast? Same day, albeit in different years.

From other years, we have the images of the magnolias (August -- winter), the rhododendrons (October -- spring), and the fall colors (April or May -- autumn), and we'll come back to  Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens in future posts and share them.

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