Tag Archives: eucalyptus

Postcard from the Antipodes

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Visiting Logan Botanic Garden in the Rhinns of Galloway was a cheap ticket back to New South Wales.  A stunning collection of eucalypts.  If I could catch the smell for you in these pictures, I would…dusky, soothing, clean.  A beautiful garden, maverick and refreshing.  While I was there I also caught a glimpse of Tasmania and New Zealand, Chile and South Africa.  I didn’t want to leave.

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Writing Myself Home

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I’ve been ‘home’ for a couple of weeks now and still not quite settled.  Hard to tell if this is an ongoing state of ‘homelessness’ or a reaction against the cold spring and my weatherworn fell, still nowhere near green.

One of my new Sydney friends, Katie, gave me an exquisite pair of curtains she’d made, incorporating screenprints of the patterns on Scribbly Gums.  I hung them at my sitting room window last week so now my view (of a landscape so unlike anything I’ve seen in the past three months I sometimes think it must all have been a dream – or this is…) is framed by a reminder of those wonderful trees on the other side of the world.

photoThe Scribbly Gum Moth lays its eggs in the layers between the old and new bark and, when they hatch, the larvae tunnel their way along, eating the wood as they go.  They loop back the way they came before falling to the ground to pupate.  When the old bark drops off, their tracks are revealed, with the scribbly appearance that gives both moth and tree their name.

photo copyNative to New South Wales, the Scribbly Gum is just one of over 700 species of Eucalypt.  Many of them are hard to identify but its distinctive markings make it easy to spot.  The sense that something is written there – a secret, in code, some mysterious script – is tantalizing.  So much of my journey seemed to involve making translations from the world of nature, reading what wasn’t written.  Strange now to be back at my desk and starting a process of making translations of my own translations, tunnelling between the old and the new – even my curtains asking to be deciphered!

Scribbly-Gum  

The cold spring falls from the stone.


I passed and heard


the mountain, palm and fern


spoken in one strange word.


The gum-tree stands by the spring.


I peeled its splitting bark 


and found the written track


of a life I could not read.

Judith Wright

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