Tuesday, December 27, 2011


On Christmas eve we had a drink with J (J was the first letter in this blog) and D in their old sandstone house in North Sydney. The garden is wonderful, a wild mix of natives and exotics. What was completely captivating was a small stand of huge, almost mutant, sunflowers. They stood about two and a half to three metres, reaching up to the sky, like satellite dishes.

There was no way I could get level with them to peer into their round yellow faces, which is what I wanted to do. I love them. But they're not for picking. The only time I bought some was when we did the church for Dad's funeral. We tried for as many of the flowers he grew and so in amongst the more traditional Sydney suburban flowers, arranged with a free range looseness he always did (and he always did the house flowers; Mum would be the one who collected a single bloom of whatever for each place at the table, on occasions, like Christmas, or when visitors came) were some bright yellow sunflowers which he used to grow in the country garden into which I was born and first got dirt under my nails and the smell of wet earth in my nostrils.

Funny how it all came flooding back, not the flower so much as the context, the backyard-ness of it. Not even in France, well especially not in France, were such memories stirred.

On Boxing day we popped into Jy's for coffee and to meet her new grandson. Jy was the birthday girl on Lord Howe Island. Bursting out in her inner city little backyard was this brilliant flowering grafted west coast gum, a Corymbia ficifolia I think, a fabulous explosion of drag queen pink.

Thanks to Mr Apple and the i-phone, that's a camera in my pocket.

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