Back to Gympie

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I may as well say it and get it over with. My last visits to Gympie were during the worst days of my life. Regular readers will know about that. I’m not here today to revisit the past. I’ve done enough of that over the last few months.

I will say that upon entering dear friend Val’s home for the first time since August was a bittersweet experience. I had been wondering how I would handle it. The first couple of hours were very strange and disturbing. What happened was pretty much what I expected. Certain places in the house evoked memories which hit me like a truck. I was determined to control these reactions, because I did not want to live with them for the next few weeks. After a while it dawned on me that the experience was both necessary and healing. I’m going to have to continue to deal with place-connected memories for years to come. Some of them will be very pleasant. Some will not.

While I’m blabbing on with the story I’ll show you some of the amazing flora in Val’s garden. This is a bright red something. I don’t know what it is, but it is certainly impressive:

It is ridiculous how little I know about plants. It doesn’t bother me. I depend on others to tell me what they are. I’m sure I’ll get comments with helpful information. That’s if anybody is still reading. (Val now tells me that it is Antherium . . . whatever . . .)

These struck me as very pleasing. The colour is intense and the white outline seems purposeful:

It looks as if the flowers are coming from the tree, but the blossoms are on a bush behind the tree.

This is an unlikely looking contraption. The white flower extending from the side looks out of place:

I had the usual problems on the trip down to Brisbane where Val picked me up. I broke my sunglasses. There were a few moments when I wasn’t sure my credit cards were working (YIKES! That is a heart-stopper.) As nothing fatal seemed lurking on the horizon, I began to relax a little. It seem that I’ve made it this far unscathed. I know it seems unreasonable to be so satisfied that I made this short part of my journey without mishap, but my confidence level hasn’t been all that great recently. Now I’ll give myself a very small pat on the back and think so far, so good.

Here is another strange one. It looks to me as if it is related to the one above:

On Monday we will be going to Teewah on the Sunshine Coast. I’ve never been there before. Friend Ali Raynor says that there are beach houses there. I’m looking forward to seeing the Australian coast again. The beaches seem to go on forever. The water will probably be much too cold for me. That’s okay. I spend enough time already submerged in brine. I’m partially pickled.

Another stunning something-or-other:

It seems to me that Australia has even stranger plant life than Papua New Guinea. Possibly that’s because I’m so used to seeing the same plants every day at home.

This small tree next to Val’s back door is covered with these beautiful flowers:I have a wireless USB dongle left over from my last trip to Australia. I decided to bring it along to see if I could plug it in to get on the web. I knew that it would not have any credit left on it, but I remember recharging it with my credit card. That was the source of my credit card fright. When I tried to recharge the prepaid plan the web page came back saying that my credit card was “not accepted”. Great! Here in Australia with no money. As it turned out, the company does not accept credit cards issued by US banks. It would be nice if they told travelers that before scaring them out of their wits. They said that I could use my card at their office in Brisbane, which is only a four hour round trip from Gympie. Very helpful, eh? We ended up using Val’s credit card.

I’ll finish up with this outlandish thing. I believe it is a bromeliad of some kind:

I looked in Google Images to see if I could find anything like it – no luck. It appears to have grass growing in the middle at first sight, but closer inspection reveals that it is some kind of spiky stuff. Val says that small flowers grow from it.

So, I am settling in for some relaxation and distraction. I’m going to use the time for attitude adjustment. I can use a lot of that.

Thanks to all who wished me bon voyage.

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11 Responses to “Back to Gympie”

  1. Alice Says:

    Jan,
    Praying for a time of refreshment for you.

    Thank you for the lovely flower pictures. It will be awhile before we see any around here. (although we have had hints of spring, everyone advises to wait until AFTER mothers day before planting anything. UGH.) Australia does indeed have an amazing assortment of beautiful flora.
    Continue to see the beauty that God has provided along your journey/adventure. He is ever present.
    Love you, brother!

  2. Steve Bennett Says:

    Some gorgeous flowers there Jan. And the yellow one is a personal favourite of mine and I love the name! You ready?

    drumroll please…..

    Pachystachys lutea.

    The lutea I think refers to its golden colour, but the Pachystachys? I just love it! Some of the Botanical names just drip off the tongue…

  3. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Alice. I forgot how complicated things are when you get out of Madang. It hits you like a brick. Life is so simple there. There are so few choices. I walked into a video store this afternoon and nearly turned around and walked out. The supermarket was likewise scary.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Steve, that is interesting. The “pachy” prefix is from ancient Greek for “thick” as in Pachyderm for elephant – thick skin – Duh! (I’m SO informative.) “Stachys” also appears to be of Greek origin, meaning “head of grain”. When you look at the plant, the taxonomic name does make some sense. However, all that is taking away from the elegance of the thing. Best not analyze it too much. The name is cute no matter where it comes from.

    Isn’t Google wonderful? It took me only about five minutes to appear to be smart.

  5. kristy Says:

    Some of those flowers are found in Hawaii as well. The last one is similar to one that I found lots of geckoes hanging out around!

  6. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, I think Bromeliads are found just about everywhere it’s reasonably warm. But, hey, I’m no expert.

  7. pvaldes Says:

    Ok, I’m back again from Stockholm… whats new?

    1 – red flower -> Anthurium, (with U)
    2 – blue flowers -> Duranta repens
    3 – yellow spike -> Pachystachys lutea
    4 – Acanthaceae also, but not sure about its genus
    5 – Blue flowers.. wow!, beatiful… mmmh… I don’t know but from family Melastomataceae probably
    5 – This is a climber from the family Bignoniaceae, most probably Podranea ricasoliana
    6 – nice shoot… yes, it’s a Bromeliaceae, probably a Neoregelia

    cheers…

  8. pvaldes Says:

    ok, I got it.. I was wrong

    5 its a Dichorisandra, probably D. thyrsiflora, a real beauty from the same family as the very popular Spiderworts, (fam. Commelinaceae)

  9. pvaldes Says:

    and last but not least…

    4 – Justica brandegeana a “shrimp plant”

  10. MadDog Says:

    Thanks for the great IDs, Pvaldes, as usual. I have a whole bunch more coming. They will be more difficult as they are mostly Australian native plants.

  11. pvaldes Says:

    my pleasure

    (mmmh… I realize just now that I had commit an typing error it’s Justicia, not Justica)

    Keep on showing us more great photos 🙂 bye…