'Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for,' the remarkable Maya Angelou suggested in her first book of essays, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now. With this in mind, it was time to escape to one of my favourite places in the company of a kindred spirit.
Not quite a secret garth, Tulip Top Gardens are tucked away in a valley just off the Federal Highway. My friend, Christine, (pictured above) had not yet been and I knew she would love it, so we picked a perfect spring day to make a pilgrimage together.
Magnificent vistas greet us as we make our way down the gravel path from the entry marquee towards the bridge over the watercourse. Weeping Willows and blossom trees surround garden beds filled with tulips, pansies and a collection of other flowers. Ten acres in all. Christine's eyes light up. 'Oh, how lovely,' she exclaims.
We veer to the right and, almost immediately, go our separate ways, admiring the colours that appeal most. Cameras in hand, we meander around the park, stopping often to capture this beauty with the camera lens.
Dragonflies with their transparent wings hover and dart across the pond. Frogs call. Birds sing. There are fairy wrens, magpies, willie wagtails and more. Bees buzz en masse. We try our best to photograph them, but they are so quick that it is close to impossible. Classical music is piped throughout the gardens. It is enchanting and the scent of the flowers is intoxicating.
Later, we sit and nibble on ice cream cornets. There is no real need for conversation. We have been lulled into a placid state, like bees drunk on sweet nectar. This is a joyful place. A healing place. A place that is good for the soul.
On the walk back to the car, Christine mentions that she feels so very refreshed. As do I. It has been a blissful day.
'I'm so pleased to live in a place where we have such hidden gems. I love the Australian bush, but there's a delicacy about tulips that appeals to my English heritage,' she concluded, as we made our way home.
Tulip Top Gardens are located off the Federal Highway, just 15 minutes from the Canberra CBD. Note, there is an admission fee, which includes a sausage sandwich and tea or coffee. Other refreshments are available for purchase. For opening dates and times, and more information, please visit the web site.
Tell me dear readers, do you love to take photographs of flowers? And is there a secret garden like this in your part of the world? ❀ ❀ ❀
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.