Nerima Calling: A Partnership of Peace

 komorebi (Japanese) :  sunshine filtering through the leaves of a tree or trees.

I had a very different kind of story planned to share with you this week – a story about an Australian castle. A castle not inherited from royalty or a long line of wealthy ancestors but one built for the wife and child of a man who started his working life in a wool factory in Wales at the grand old age of nine years old. It’s the quintessential rags to riches story and like a good fairy tale, involves love, a long separation and an element of tragedy.

But since I haven’t yet received the copyright permission to share some of the pictures, I’ve pulled together a small collection of nature photographs from my weekend visit to Nerima Gardens in Ipswich, near Brisbane.

light through leaves on path Nerima Gardens

It’s a place I’ve mentioned before and never fails to leave me feeling more at peace. I’ve often taken my laptop there to work, but of course it is easy for someone like me to become distracted by the many dragonflies, birds and water dragons. Despite this, I still manage to get more written than when I’m in an enclosed room.

Turtle at Nerima Gardens

red dragonfly at Nerima

water dragon at Nerima Gardens

I know this blog is supposed to be about survival tales of a mildly extreme hiker and a visit to Japanese gardens sounds rather tame. However, often these soothing, easily available green spaces within a city are ways that city dwellers survive their busy, “go-go-go” lifestyles. Not everyone has the time, money or freedom to go hiking in the wilderness. Walks in parks contribute to my physical and mental health so in a way this is still a survival tale…

bridge and water - Nerima Gardens

I’m very fond of Japanese Gardens. The elements of design are aimed at helping us feel in harmony with nature. The water and stone features, light streaming through leaves, and the shapes and positioning of objects and plants combine to give a very calming experience which encourages quiet reflection.

Nerima Gardens resulted from a friendship between Ipswich city and Nerima city in Japan. The partnership between the cities is represented by the use of mainly native species in a Japanese design. The clever use of tall gums and other natives works well to provide a harmonious experience. At one time our country was at war with Japan. This garden is symbolic of a partnership and friendship that now exists. It represents peace.

Nerima Gardens Official opening sign

Native banksias are a striking addition to the garden and are  a favourite of mine, as many readers already know.

golden banksia

twin banksia flowers

Do you like the clever composition of duck poop next to the delicate dragonfly wings? At least you know it’s not a contrived shot!

blue dragonfly at Nerima Gardens

And here we have what my children call the David Attenborough shot. They learnt a great deal about procreation from watching his nature documentaries which didn’t leave out the nitty gritty details of life! I didn’t know much about dragonfly mating until recently. Apparently the male has a way of removing the previous deposits of other males and they are not very romantic in their lead up. For those interested you can read more about it here. I may never view dragonflies the same way again…  If you want to keep thinking sweet thoughts about dragonflies, perhaps you shouldn’t read the link!

Dragonflies mating

Tall gum at Nerima Gardens

These “twins” are actually arising from the one base trunk,  but I couldn’t capture the whole tree in one shot.

twin gums at Nerima Gardens

The Japanese have a word for sunlight filtering through the leaves of a tree or trees. It is komorebi. According to this site, the  word can also refer to the light curtain which is visible after rain as the light shines through water vapour and also can be used when referring to the interplay of light and leaves on the ground.

Light through leaves

Tree shade

Regular readers know that if there is a spider I will photograph it. As you can see it was a beautiful sunny day. It’s hard to believe that a week ago the skies sent a deluge that flooded parts of Brisbane and surrounding areas, dumping over 300mm on some places.

orb weaver spider at Nerima

orb weaver spider in sky


Once again our native trees didn’t disappoint with their variety of trunk surfaces. The first one reminds me of metallic shavings.

bunya trunk

stringy bark

trunk surface with rough bark

red shoots on bush

Some of the reflections in the still ponds were impressive. I had to look carefully at my pictures to work out what was real and what was a mirror image. It was strange to look down into a pond and see sky and trees, such as in the next image.

Reflection of trees in pond - Nerima Gardens

Nerima Gardens Tea House

tea house

The feathery growths coming from this cycad (Cycas revoluta) caught my attention. I believe this is actually a Japanese variety of cycad commonly used in landscaping.

cycad fruiting

cycad new growth

whole cycad

water dragon on rock at Nerima Gardens

grassy areas

I think the mix of tall straight gums  with  manicured shrubs works well, but what do I know. I’m not a landscaper and I am a lazy gardener.

gum trees in Japanese gardens

And a final goodbye from a suspicious water dragon.

water dragon in pond at Nerima Gardens

If you want to read more details about Nerima Gardens here is a brochure.

Have a peace-filled week all and thanks for reading!  🙂




76 thoughts on “Nerima Calling: A Partnership of Peace

  1. Another wonderful snippet from a place on the opposite side of our planet that leaves me feeling connected with it. A lovely peaceful place yet full of life. Thanks for sharing it Jane.

    • It is wonderful isn’t it how we can share our environment with people on the other side of the world? We can see images of places we may never visit, talk to people we may never meet and feel connected despite the distance. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for reading and for your kind comments. Have a lovely week! 🙂

  2. Hi Jane. This is some amazing experiences you have visiting nature. Your photos are brilliant and very interesting. The spider is magnificent ❤ 🙂
    All the best,

    • Thank you, Hanna. I’m so glad you enjoyed the pictures, even the spider one! It wasn’t a long adventurous hike, but there was a lot to see. The water dragons are my favourite. On quiet days, there are many of them basking in the sun by the water. Best wishes to you, too! 🙂

  3. Hi Jane, wow beautiful photos again! And now I know another place I can visit in the future! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Thank you! Nerima Gardens is within the entire Queen’s Park area which includes an orchid house, recreational picnic area with play equipment, a farm animal area and also a nature education centre with bilbies, wombats, emus and other native creatures. There is also a cafe there but it can be expensive so I would take a packed lunch to feed a large family. Perhaps we could meet up there one day. I hope you and the kids are well and are enjoying yourselves still. The nights are getting chilly but the days are glorious now. 🙂

  4. What great spider shots in among your usual constellation of interesting pictures. All that and a tea room too. I wish that I could visit (though the 300m of rain might put me off).

    • Thank you for the kind praise! I wish you could visit too. The 300mm was supposedly a freak event but in recent years we seem to be having a few of these “freak” events so perhaps they should be renamed. It is not uncommon for my suburb to have falls of around 100mm in 24 hours on a few occasions every year. It often causes temporary flooding of roads. In the last six years my area has had two major floods causing inundation of houses. I was told last night we should prepare for a bad drought soon. That’s the way of Australia! Scotland’s weather seems to be quite challenging but more so on a daily basis – it seems very changeable! Still, it is a place I would like to visit very much. Have a lovely, week. 🙂

      • I am often grateful that our weather is so moderate in general though we have been tending to get more of everything lately if you see what I mean.

  5. I don’t thing we necessarily need to go far off to have some great adventures and come back with wonderful images like yours.

    • Thank you, Gunta! Yes, there are many wonderful experiences to be had in our own back yard. I remember as a child being fascinated by so many features of my local environment. I’m glad I’ve rediscovered that joy again in recent years. Just sitting in the sun on my verandah, listening to the birds and watching the breeze move the leaves of the trees gives me pleasure. I can tell from your own blog that you appreciate life in this way too. I hope all is well with you? Have a wonderful week. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

      • Yes, we do share that enjoyment of our environment wherever we happen to be. I’ve been fine, enjoying some shorter trips closer to home and then the inevitable catch-up of mundane household duties. Seems like there’s never any end to dirty laundry and such. Not to mention the dust bunny colony that seems to have taken over the underside of my bed… 😉

        • Yes, if only we could make money out of selling dust bunnies, I’d be rich! 🙂 Yeah, I’ve got a lot of household and garden jobs to catch up on now that I haven’t got the heat as an excuse. And then there are the daily things that are never-ending. Makes me consider living in a tent/cave, but I’d probably miss my comfy bed, especially now I’m getting more “mature” in my years. 😉

  6. Beautiful and interesting post Jane and lovely pics as always. I love the way the water dragon pops up throughout it. I will look this place up if I make it to Ipswitch. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Thank you! I do enjoy the quiet and sometimes amusing company of the water dragons at Nerima. They can be very entertaining at times! I have some bird news for you. Remember my post about Sherwood arboretum? Well, I popped by there to eat my lunch today and saw four magpie geese! This is the first time I have seen them out of a zoo. Apparently they occasionally turn up there. Of course, I have taken lots of pictures! Thanks for your encouragement. Looking forward to reading more of your wonderful birding posts. 🙂

      • Wow Jane! That’s a wonderful find. Magpie geese are not common down these parts any more, they are trying to bring them back. They are usually in very large flocks, it is unusual to find a few. The Hunter Wetlands Centre in Newcastle have a large flock they have been growing over the past years which I was surprised to find. You have been blessed to have seen these birds, as when i went to Kakadu NP just to see these birds, I only saw a few briefly. Thanks for sharing this exciting discovery Jane, looking forward to seeing your pics:-)

        • I was pretty excited. I had read in a guide that magpie geese sometimes visit the arboretum wetlands but wasn’t expecting to see them on my spontaneous lunchbreak visit. There were four. Three were moving about and preening themselves on the little island in the waterway. The other one stayed sitting, partially hidden in some foliage so I am wondering if she could possibly be nesting. I will check back again when I can. It does seem unusual to see such birds in an urban green space! 🙂

  7. Another interesting and educational adventure. I know I will always find unusual animal and plant life photographs in your posts! I particularly loved the tree shots this time. They are very different from our shorter, scrubby trees in the central plains of the US.

    • Thanks Lori! I find your posts equally as new for me. I’m always entertained by them and learn new facts as well. I went back to Sherwood arboretum to eat my lunch today. It was a glorious sunny day but very windy. I didn’t stay under any big gums for long as some species tend to drop good size branches in gusty conditions. You learn quickly not to park your car under them on such days! I also saw rainbow lorikeets popping in and out a nesting hole high in a tree and I saw my first magpie geese in the wild so it was an exciting lunchbreak. Thanks for your support once again. I always look forward to hearing from you. One day maybe I’ll get to see the Squirrel Mother in person. 🙂

  8. Hi Jane, thankyou for another lovely post. I share your hesitation in blogging about such a ‘tame’ activity as walking through manicured gardens; but fear not, because such occasions place us closer to the natural world than you first think. I agree entirely that being able to do just that is what helps keep us sane as we live our busy lives surrounded by suburbia. After all, nature is where you choose to find it, and although I would rather be walking solo through the wilderness and posting amazing write-ups on my discoveries, the reality is that most of the time I have to settle for a piece of the wild lurking somewhere close to home. But as long as we keep ‘discovering’ what nature has to offer, we keep the door open. 🙂 Leah

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Leah. I agree wholeheartedly with you. It would be wonderful to be posting encounters from the wilderness but that’s not possible for many people. I hope that by seeing what’s available close to home, people will be encouraged to pop in at lunchtime or spend a morning in these urban green spaces and find their own connection with the natural world. It’s actually common for me to find more creatures in these small places than on a long hike. I think perhaps they are less nervous about human interaction and also they congregate around the permanent water and food sources provided by these parks and city reserves. It also means we don’t have to spend much on fuel or add to pollution by long car trips out of town. I’m constantly surprised by what I come across in urban green spaces. Today I had lunch at Sherwood arboretum ponds again and saw my first magpie geese! They stay there occasionally apparently. So that was exciting. Thanks for reading and commenting, Leah. Have a great week. 🙂

  9. Wishing you a peace-filled week to Jane. It’s a busy and stressful time for the year for myself and many people I know, so I’ll take all the good-wishes I can get! 🙂

    • Thanks, Dayna! Yes, it seems many people are having a rushed time of it lately. I’ve found out I have Thursday and Friday unexpectedly free this week. I know I should catch up on major house and garden chores but I do need the exercise of a long walk! It’s a matter of health surely. 😉 Maybe Toohey’s Forest, although I probably shouldn’t do that alone. It is a dodgy area apparently. I hope you get a chance to do some walking or more riding soon and the stress levels reduce. Thanks for reading and commenting, Dayna. 🙂

  10. Nermia looks like a very peaceful place Jane. I agree with you that time out in nature is essential for surviving a busy life where it seems like there is no end to work, household, family and friend commitments. It doesn’t always have to be a hike, but just being somewhere quiet, surrounded by trees and wildlife is so soothing for the mind. Harry and I have just spent the morning having a picnic near the beach. We didn’t do much, just sat and watched the waves and the birds, but it was very restorative.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts too, Amanda! A quiet sit on the beach watching the waves and the birds sounds like a perfect way to de-stress! What I like about these short trips at parks and by the beach is that you don’t have to spend a day preparing and packing and then unpacking at the end. I remember when my children were little, I often felt like I needed a holiday to recover from my holiday! However the mornings at the park were less taxing. Long trips are worth it, but do take time and organisation and energy when you have a family. I went to Sherwood Arboretum for my lunchbreak today and it was one of the most relaxing hours I’ve spent anywhere. I saw magpie geese for the first time and some other lovely sights. And it was pretty much deserted unlike the weekend. Thanks for the blog support, Amanda. I hope the week is kind to you. It’s a bit unpredictable with kiddies! 🙂

  11. What a wonderful peaceful place, I was blown away by the reflection of the gum tree in the water, is it a snow gum or have I remembered wrong?

    • Thanks Susan!
      There are so many varieties of gum trees that are quite similar in appearance, but I believe these are magnificent ghost gums. I love the way the trunks look so white in the sun. I took many reflection pictures but they were quite similar so I only shared one. It was such a strange experience to look down into the pond and see a sky and trees. I felt like I was looking into another world or that my own had turned upside-down! I’m glad you enjoyed the reflections and the gums too. It is a peaceful spot but is next to a primary school so it can get a little noisier during their lunch breaks. I forgot all about that when writing the post actually. Usually the children are in class or it is the weekend when I visit. Thanks for reading, Susan. I hope you enjoyed your trip away. Have a lovely week. 🙂

    • Thank you, Maja! I’m glad you like the pictures. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. You have very interesting pictures on your blog also. The cacti growing out of the lava, being one of many. 🙂

  12. I absolutely love this post for many reasons! First, it proves that one doesn’t have to travel long distances to get out into nature and the beauty to be found there. Then, there are your great photos of both the flora and fauna there, especially the spider. Any one reading this post would know that you truly love nature and spending time outside.

    • Thanks, Jerry, for those kind comments! I am really very fortunate to live in a place that has so many lovely escapes close to home. It doesn’t take much skill on my part to take nice photos when there is so much beauty right in front of me. I’m really glad you enjoyed the post. From your blog it is also obvious that you truly love spending time in nature too and I hope you’re able to have some more time off in the future to do this. Your work schedule is so busy right now! Thanks for your continuing encouragement. Have a safe and happy week. 🙂

  13. I’m not hungry now, but your second picture of banksias reminds me of corn (maize) on the cob.

    My first impression upon seeing a photograph of a water dragon was that it’s similar to an iguana. I looked them both up and found they’re in the same order of reptiles, Squamata, but differ beyond that.

    • Hi Steve! The banksias do indeed look somewhat like corn on the cob (one of my favourite foods from childhood – with butter and salt of course.) You may not be hungry now but you’ve made me hungry thinking about it! Thanks!
      I’ve often thought water dragons look like iguanas so am not surprised to read that they are in the same order. Sometimes I’ve seen over 20 water dragons at Nerima gardens in one small area. They actually have a rather interesting set of behaviours when it comes to breeding and territory. Sometimes when I get too close, I’ve had them start nodding at me as though I am another dragon… Perhaps some people may think of me as a bit of a dragon when I am sleep deprived. 😉 Thanks for reading and adding your thoughts and knowledge, Steve. I always appreciate your input. 🙂

      • In fact I ate some corn on the cob with butter and salt just two days ago, something that could have reinforced the way I saw the banksias, though I think it was an easy enough imagining that needed no reinforcement.

        As for dragons, I have a post coming up in a few days about a small tree whose genus name means ‘dragon leaf’. And did you know that the English word dragoon is historically the same as the word dragon?

        • No, I didn’t know about dragoon being historically the same word as dragon. Another interesting fact. Thank you.
          I look forward to the “dragon leaf” post! 🙂

          • Just as weapons today are given fearsome names (e.g. Tomahawk Missile), centuries ago a certain type of gun was dubbed a dragon. The French pronunciation caused the word to pass into English as dragoon, with the meaning having shifted from the weapon to the soldiers who used it.

            The “dragon leaf” will arrive on Thursday, along with a goer thereupon.

  14. Hi Jane. I totally understand the need for these little adventures to keep sane, I’m exactly the same. Not every walk has to be a life and death struggle through the wilderness, I get the same mental rejuvenation walking around a local nature reserve as I do trekking in Patagonia, its just the scenery that’s different. Once again you’ve posted some stunning photo’s I wish I had your talent with a camera. Cheers Kevin.

  15. Thank you for this wonderful tour of a place you hold dear. I love it. You certainly are in survival mode. Every day life holds threats that would wear us done or cause some to wither, shrinking into nothing. A space such as this is certainly one that strengthens the “I” of self and fills us with the peace you mentioned.

    • Thanks Jude! I’m glad you enjoyed the tour. It is a great place to re-energise. And I am thankful I have access to these places. I find if I can do that on a regular basis, I can handle stress much better. Thanks for the encouragement and support. I look forward to reading more of your words and enjoying the pictures on your great blog. It’s a great resource! I hope your week is a lovely one. 🙂

  16. I love the reproductive shot, what a great timing ! And the tortoise looks really incredible. The texture of the gum tree is quite nice as well. Oh well, everything looks amazing !!! It’s really beautiful. A nice place to relax 🙂

    • Thank you! The reproduction shot was lucky. I kind of wish I hadn’t read about the process though. It’s a bit rough to the female! I haven’t seen a tortoise with all that plant growth on it before. The others I saw were devoid of it so I wonder why. It is a beautiful spot to relax. Thanks for reading and the lovely comments. I appreciate it. Have a great week. 🙂

    • Thank you, Shanda! Yes, another reader made that comment about corn on the cob too. They actually smell quite sweet, like honey due to producing so much nectar. When the flowers dry off and turn black/brown, thy feel quite bristly. My children used to play with the old flowers and call them banksia people. Thanks for reading and your lovely comments. I hope you have a lovely week indoors and outdoors. 🙂

  17. Stunning photos as always Jane. The water dragon pics are amazing, as are the cycads and what extraordinary reflection pics. The pools at the garden must be well protected from wind. And komorebi – what a brilliant word. I am also very keen on the effect of light filtering through leaves – it is especially noticeable and beautiful with the lower light of autumn and winter. During the recent wet weather the komorebi of light shining on water vapour was also much in evidence. Thank so much for that term… I’m sure I’ll be using it very regularly – a great piece of mental equipment!

    • Thank you for the nice words! You are right about the Japanese Gardens being protected from wind. There are solid walls on three sides I think. One side is just wire fence so that allows for some breeze. I’m glad you like the word, komorebi, too. I found it on a list of words that are supposedly not easily translatable. You’ve probably already heard of the German word, waldeinsamkeit? It’s another favourite of mine meaning the feeling of being alone in the woods, but not a negative experience. It is more suggestive of the contemplative atmosphere afforded by a beautiful setting. Here’s a great link to a page which explains how to use it properly.
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Looking forward to your next entertaining read. Have a lovely week. 🙂

    • Thanks very much. I’m very glad you enjoyed them. Your website looks interesting and informative. I will have to take a further look. Thanks for checking out mine! 🙂

  18. Jane, I quickly scrolled through your received comments and did not notice that anyone mentioned the link for the dragonflies information was broken… I may regret asking, but can you fix it? 😉

    I thoroughly enjoyed your tour of the park today. It truly is lovely! I am also surprised at how well established it is for such a young installation! I must assume it is all the rain? Thank your for sharing your lovely views of the flora and fauna.

    PS: I agree with Steve that the Banksias reminded me of corn on the cob too. And, if at all possible, you really must plan on meeting Lori someday. She is such a treasure!

    • Thanks Lynda,
      I just tried the link for the dragonfly and it seemed to work for me so I don’t know what’s happening there. Maybe it is a country access thing? It’s a National Geographic link so perhaps people in the US need to pay for it. Here it is again:
      Can you try the one within the blog post it and let me know if it still doesn’t work for you and I will put a different one in? Alternatively, you could try this one:
      Thanks very much for letting me know. I hope it was just a temporary thing and will work now.
      Also thanks for the lovely comments. Many of our native gum trees grow very quickly and we have had some wet years recently as well which helps. The park actually makes use of some storm water drain run off too I suspect. My own yard has grown amazingly in the 6 years I’ve been here. We’ve had two major floods during this time.
      Yes, Lori is certainly a treasure and I do hope to meet her one day. 🙂
      Have a lovely week, Lynda. 🙂

      • It is working perfectly. I tried several times when I first read you post and I couldn’t even get the cursor to react to the link! Go figure…

        I am so glad not to have been created a Lady Dragonfly. o_O

        • That seems to be the way of technology. Sometimes they just don’t work for whatever reason. Yes, I am also thankful that I’m not a lady dragonfly. Yesterday I went to wetlands in a park at lunchtime and the dragonflies were in a frenzy of mating. One coupling even landed on my hand while I was taking a shot of something else. The couple stayed in the heart shape on my hand while I took photos of them one handed. I was amazed, but having read about their mating I also felt a little icky. 😉

          • I would have too, Jane. We have a pond on our new place and I will never look at them the same. It is interesting information to know, but a harsh reality.

  19. Great post Jane. I remember going here when I was little. The first portrait of the water dragon is my pick of the photos. The background in shadow really accents the dragon. Beautifully sharp too.

    • Thanks Cameron! If only my other subjects would be kind enough to place themselves in front of dark backgrounds (and if only I knew how to edit properly too!) Most times I see things and they are camouflaged quite well. You’d think they’d be a bit kinder to me, hey. 😉 Thanks for reading and your encouragement, Cameron. Great to see your article published in Wild! Have a lovely week. 🙂

    • Thanks Brittany! The castle post may be a while coming though as it is proving difficult to track down the right people I need to ask for copyright permission on some photos. I may have to draw some pictures myself which may prove amusing although probably far from accurate given my lack of talent in that area! Have a great week. 🙂

  20. So many responses! Clearly you don’t need to do anything death defying to connect with an appreciative audience.
    I, too, like the fact there is a Japanese word describing light filtering through leaves.

    • Thank you, Margaret. It’s a good thing people seem to like the gentle nature posts as I’m getting older and my joints don’t like tough walks as much these days. 🙂 Thanks for reading and adding your thoughts too. It’s always lovely to hear from you. I really enjoy your beautiful walks through gardens and other places as well. Your art is lovely too. 🙂

  21. That looks a great place to visit. We have a less grand place called Ashton Court which is an old Manor House and its surrounding countryside that has been open for public use. It too has woods, rolling hills and ponds plus a rather grand Manor House.

    Hopefully the owners will give you permission to use the copyrighted materials so that we can see more of the place 🙂

    • Hi Rob,
      Ashton Court sounds like a beautiful place to visit. One day maybe if I am ever over there. I’d love to explore the castles in your country. You have architecture that is so much older than ours.
      The copyright issues are more so the trouble of tracking down people who wrote about and took photos of the castle. Some have died. Others I just can’t find. I will probably just make the post smaller and do some drawings of old photos. They may cause a few laughs though! Thanks for reading and commenting, Rob. I noticed you have a new post and will read it and comment later in the day when I can load it properly. Have a great week! 🙂

    • Thanks again, Julie! I do love orb weaver webs. They look so lovely glistening in the sun and even better against a dazzling blue sky. I’m glad you appreciate spiders too! 🙂

    • Hi Gail,
      Yes, it’s a spot I know will always help me to unwind. I’m thankful I’ve got these wonderful places to go to. Many people don’t have that option. Thanks for reading and commenting, Gail. Lovely to hear from you. 🙂

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