Post 1: The Outside Amphitheatre Garden Room

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Note: I would like to share with you through these few words, photographs and hyperlinked websites, a three dimensional experience as though you were actually there with us. Click on any photograph and it should enlarge to different size ….. at least half screen or size full screen. It will be clearer in detail than the photo on the post. It will be as if you were really there looking at the actual scene. You are an armchair traveller with us.

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…. The view from the  arbour  where you look down into a small amphitheatre. It has radiating stone  seats with a central bonfire area. This was stone left over from building the internal house walls  ….

stone from the Supreme Courthouse which was  cut from the Kangaroo Pt. Cliffs in 1877. The seats are covered with foam cushions  stored  for the occasion. We use this area for large gatherings of people in the winter time when it  is cold  … see  the  photos  below ……

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….. It is  7.00 am  in the morning in mid September 2015. It is the start of spring in Australia. I am sitting reading a book in the  arbour and reflecting on life  ….. I  became retired when I had my severe brain injury  twenty years  ago in December 1995. I am just really enjoying the  early morning sun shining  through  the dark  green leaves of  the native wisteria vine growing over the arbour. The sun  shines through  the  abundance of white and mauve  pea – like flowers from the wisteria vine  … see photo  above. I am looking out to my left and see the new cottage garden that Harriet and I have been  establishing in the last few months. It is such a pleasure in seeing what new flowers are coming out this week. See the  post:  Cottage  Garden  Room  with accompanying  photos and words …..

….. Ken and Harriet having a coffee with friends in the arbour ….

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The Plants in the Arbour:

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Sculpture hanging in the arbour area. See the post: Post 12: Birdsnest Sculpturing 

I do a lot of sculpturing now. This post explains how I got into it.

 

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Hanging Driftwood Sculpture …… This has its own story. See the story below the next photograph.

February 2018

Two years ago in November 2015, Harriet & I were going on a two-week trip around Tasmania. We were going on a 42nd Wedding Anniversary of our honeymoon in December 1975. We had been married on the 9th December 1975 in Melbourne so it was only across Bass Strait on the ferry and we were in Tasmania.

When Harriet & I were on a two week trip around Tasmania in November 2015, we flew down to Hobart. We picked up this Britz Van as a camper van for two weeks and drove slowly around from East to West of Tasmania. We got to the little town of Deloraine and Harriet said we had to do shopping. She carefully parked the big camper van in the narrow street and said she was going down to Woolworth’s to do shopping. I then said I would read in the van ….. I didn’t want to go down to Woolworth’s.

When Harriet got out of the van, she called to me and said that I would love this gift and craft shop outside the van. I was interested as I have a great love of art and handmade things. I went into the shop with my camera and began ‘ooing’ and ‘aahing’ at all the things in the shop. One of the first things I saw was a three-dimensional piece of driftwood sculpture fastened on the wall. I took some camera shots and said to myself: “That is something I could do in the future at home”.

I had been through a life-changing situation. In December 1995, I sustained a very severe brain injury by falling off a boogie-board in shallow surf at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. Consequently, I was in a coma for four weeks, confined in the hospital for six months, had to learn everything all over again.

Before this for twenty years, I ran a small Landscape Design and Construction Company undertaking very creative, individual designer gardens for wealthy residential clients around Brisbane.   I was an artistic person, a lateral thinker ….. more artist than businessman. I thought of a landscape as a three-dimensional piece of space that people walked through. This space changed with time as it grew and changed with the time of day. Shadows vs. sun patterns, boulders, colour, plants, trees, earth-forms, solid structures, and water. These were the ingredients I used. Unknowingly, I was a landscape sculptor. Rather an intangible product to sell and run a business with!! However, I built a structure for my life: my marriage, family, house, and business from this base.

See two of my jobs at these Website Posts:

  • Greenmount Beach Resort 1980 – 2008: … 28 years on from when I did the garden in 1980:
  • Sheehan’s Garden in October 1984 – 2007: …  House and Garden in West End, Brisbane … 23 years on from when I did the garden in 1984:

http://www.kenaitken.net/my-past-work/sheehan-garden-october-2007/

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The three-dimensional piece of driftwood sculpture fastened on the wall which I saw was like a  miniature version of landscape sculpturing which I used to do in my former business. I came away with many ideas.

Several months later Harriet and I were staying over the weekend with my mother Norma Aitken at Ocean Shores in Northern New South Wales …. about 1.50 hours away from where we live at Chambers Flat in Queensland.

See the post:  Norma Aitken: My Mum’s House and Garden At Ocean Shores, Northern New South Wales ….

I was walking along the nearby ocean beach and began to find lots of driftwood sticks on the beach. I collected about a whole shallow cardboard box of sticks and brought them home …. intending to make some driftwood sculpture which I had seen in Tasmania a few months before. I stored them in a safe place.

I hadn’t used them for about a year when my 35-year-old son, Anthony said: Claire and Kieron’s wedding is coming up on the 24th June (2017). Why don’t you make a wedding present for them out of the driftwood sticks? Claire would love that.

Using Anthony’s new drill with a 5 amp battery (no electric cords), I began to drill the driftwood sticks. Using a short 75 mm length of thin wire, I found I could loop the wire in on itself at the top, then loop it through the hole in the driftwood stick and twist it around to make a 20 mm loop.  This loop could the be used to hook the driftwood stick onto a vertical 1.00 metre length of nylon string. By building the driftwood sticks in a symmetrical pattern, you end up with a hanging driftwood sculpture.  See the two photographs above.

I am now really into building many driftwood sculptures ….. even using thin twisted branches from trees on our five acres of land. I now have a whole new creative direction as a long-term consequence of seeing the three-dimensional piece of driftwood sculpture fastened on the wall in Deloraine, Tasmania !! I am calling it ”Birds Nest Sculpturing”.

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Storm Lilies out on our Garden and Land:

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In December 2018, we had three days of heavy rain. We have many Storm Lilies planted in our garden around the house.  Storm Lilies are a beautiful lily to about 300 mm high and have a swirl of dull green narrow leaves. During dry times of the season, the lilies are just a swirl of dull green narrow leaves.

They respond very quickly to rain and within two days send up swelling pink flower heads. Within two more days, the swelling pink flower heads burst out as open expanding tubes of pink lily flowers. Suddenly from nowhere, there will be hundreds of beautiful lily flowers throughout the garden and down our driveway.

When we built the house in 1981, I suddenly found these pink flowered lilies in a clump  under some small  trees coming down our extensive driveway. The lily bulbs are very easy to transplant into another location.

In December 2018, we had three days of heavy rain. We have many Storm Lilies planted in our garden around the house.  Storm Lilies are a beautiful lily to about 300 mm high and have sworl of dull green narrow leaves. During dry times of the season, the lilies are  just a sworl of dull green narrow leaves.

They respond very quickly to rain and within two days send up swelling pink flower heads. Within two more days, the swelling pink flower heads burst out as open expanding tubes of pink lily flowers. Suddenly from nowhere, there will be  hundreds of beautiful lily flowers throughout the garden and down our driveway.

Within about a week of flowering, swelling heads of seeds develop which  then break open to release many flat winged seeds within another week.  These seeds then fall to ground or blown by the wind to more distant areas. This is why Storm Lilies are in small clumps or single lilies out the middle of the lawn.

In December after the rain, there were hundreds of pink lily flowers out every wherein our extensive garden and down our driveway. In the garden, they are everywhere whereas with our extensive driveway, I planted bulbs on either side of the driveway for viewing the flowers after rain.

Flowering can be several times a year after rain. It is wonderful when we come home or visitors come to our house and are greeted by hundreds of beautiful  pink flowered lilies. Our house as a hand made house vs. machine built house  is a very welcoming house. Our house as a hand-made house vs. machine built house  is a very welcoming house. We have a huge community of people we relate to.

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The Outside Amphitheatre Garden Room:

IMG_0027 50This photo shows an reddish shade umbrella in use over the outdoor eating table as in the photo above.

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Big stone entry stairs provide progressive  entry  to the house  and the arbour. With big  square  stone which  has the metal solar light  beside  it, this  is special stone  from Boggo Rd. Gaol  from  1883. I obtained  ten of  these  stones in  1984 from  my demolition friend  Neil for  A$34.00 each.  Neil supplied  the beams  and  posts in  our house. See  the house post. The 1800’s is  very  old  in  Australia  as Captain Cook  from England only  came and  discovered this new  land  in 1770. Cook was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy.

I found out these also had a history. The first gaol in Brisbane was established at Humpybong, Redcliffe in 1824. Then between 1860 and 1883 the gaol was in Petrie Terrace where the old Police barracks are. Then in 1883 the gaol was transferred to Boggo Rd. Gaol. Capital punishment (hanging) was abolished in 1922. Boggo Rd. Gaol was closed in the late 1970’s and is now used for  periodic cultural functions. This finally means our ten stones date from 1883 …..

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 ….  Old handmade bricks used as  paving at the front door. This external paving picks up the internal swirl of  the  internal paving ….

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….A burning kerosene lighter being used at night. It gives a lovely  flickering light in the garden when we have groups of people over for a bonfire  …..

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… The amphitheatre in use at night. It gives a wonderful inclusive feeling  …

The group 8

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See the next post: Post 2: The Front Garden Room

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