Park Love

Kind Squares Photo Challenge #4 ~ Queensland: One of a Kind

Destination: Queens Park, Toowoomba

This month I’m joining in every day with Becky’s October Kind Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word “kind”. Look for #kindasquare.

Feeling the Blues

Kind Squares Photo Challenge #3 ~ Queensland: One of a Kind

Destination: Queens Park, Toowoomba

This month I’m joining in every day with Becky’s October Kind Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word “kind”. Look for #kindasquare.

Sharing the Love

Kind Squares Photo Challenge #2 ~ Queensland: One of a Kind

Destination: Toowoomba

Visitors to Toowoomba’s annual Carnival of Flowers are spoiled for choice when it comes to gardens. Queen’s Park, Laurel Bank Park and Picnic Point have magnificent displays of spring annuals. Private gardens are also open to the public – some are entries in the garden competition and others are simply on display for all to enjoy.

The garden at Lorea House welcomed visitors for the first time this year. Created by Leisa and Serge Rossignol, it’s the result of their combined vision and hard work.

Leisa and Serge only began designing and constructing this garden in 2019, starting with a pretty pink summerhouse. Using a combination of new and repurposed materials, Serge created a retreat for Leisa that’s filled with memories. The windows came from a convent at a local church and the doors were found on a farm at Cambooya. Most precious of all is the tiny kitchen, which was originally in Leisa’s grandparents’ home on the family property at Brookstead.

Leisa says her love of gardening comes from her grandparents on both sides of her family, who all shared a passion for plants. It’s not surprising to learn that, although this garden is new, it’s not Leisa’s first. She’s been creating gardens since she was 20 years old and the beautiful space she enjoys now is her fifth.

With a compact block of just 630 m² this one was much smaller than previous gardens, and Leisa has filled it to overflowing with a beautiful mix of perennials, annuals, fruit trees and vegetables. During Carnival week, she spent her days talking about her plantings with the 2,800 people who came to Lorea House.

For Leisa, the joy of gardening is as much about sharing as creating.

See more of Leisa and Lorea House on Instagram at eleanorandruby

This month I’m joining in every day with Becky’s October Kind Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme word “kind”. Look for #kindasquare

Carnival Time

Kind Squares Photo Challenge #1 ~ Queensland: One of a Kind

Destination: Toowoomba

Every year in the last week of September the Queensland city of Toowoomba celebrates the Carnival of Flowers although, like many community events this year, it’s been a little different. For the 51st Carnival, there was no grand floral parade down the main street or lavish food and wine festival in the park and many of the regular exhibitions featuring local arts and crafts were deferred until next year.

But for most visitors at Carnival time, the decorated floats and local produce are an added bonus. The beautiful gardens in full bloom are what they come to see and the heritage listed botanic gardens at Queens Park are the main attraction.

To achieve the stunning floral display, the city council gardening team starts work in April, planting up to 40,000 seedlings and 5,000 bulbs. Their efforts come to fruition in September when gardens overflow with colour, and this year has been no exception.

So if in the future you’re planning to come to Toowoomba, make sure you come at Carnival time – it’s the best time of year to visit.

This month I’m joining in every day with Becky’s October Kind Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word “kind”. Look for #kindasquare

See previous Carnivals here and here.

Celebrating Tulips

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #15

Destination: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Where we live the climate is warm and temperate and, although our city is renowned for its beautiful gardens, tulips aren’t easy to grow here. In Canberra, one thousand kilometres further south, winters are colder and more rain falls, allowing tulips to flourish.

For 30 days from mid-September tulips take centre stage at Floriade, the largest annual garden festival in the southern hemisphere. Commonwealth Park resembles an ocean of colour, with displays of more than one million springtime flowers complemented by sculptures and art works.

It’s worth the journey to see tulips in all their glory.



While our travel plans are on hold I’m joining in every day with Becky’s July Square Perspectives Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme of perspective. My posts represent the definition of perspective as a vista – seeing something over distance or time.

Top Stop

Western Queensland Road Trip Square Tops Challenge #6

The tiny outback town of Wyandra is conveniently located on the Mitchell Highway, halfway between Charleville and Cunnamulla.

With a population of just 116, you won’t find any fancy department stores or shopping centres in Wyandra. But you don’t need them when you can stop in at the quirky Post Office Café for refreshments.

Take your delicious hot coffee and some freshly baked scones topped with jam and cream outside to the garden and relax for a while before continuing your journey.

That’s what we did!

While our travels are on hold, I’m joining in every day with Becky’s April Square Tops Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme word “top”.

Canada’s Best

Canada #45

“What was the best thing about your trip?”

We’re often asked this question when we return from a holiday and it’s always difficult to give just one answer. After five weeks in Canada, here are the things we loved best.

The Best Party 

The Best Airbnb View

Vancouver, from our 21st floor apartment – by day,

at night,

and early in the morning as the cruise ships arrived at Canada Place.

The Best Water View

Pitt River

The Best Mountain Views

Sky Pilot and Co-Pilot, Coast Ranges, Squamish BC

Fitzsimmons Range, Whistler BC

The Best Wildlife Encounters

chipmunk, Whistler BC

raccoon family, Mount Royal, Montréal QC

and the squirrels, who were everywhere!

The Best Food

20 flavours of hot chocolate, enormous ice cream sundaes, chocolate pizza! Even the ceiling was all about chocolate at Chocolato, Montréal QC

The Best Garden

Jardins Gamelin, Place Émilie-Gamelin, Montréal QC

a free community garden with a cafe, space for games, music and family activities

and several themed gardens, educational for both adults and children

The Best Adventures

For me, a birthday trip to Niagara Falls

For Glen, EdgeWalk – 356 metres above the ground at CN Tower, Toronto ON

So many wonderful experiences in a truly amazing country. Canada, we’ll be back!

A Loo With a View – The Canadian Edition

Canada #44

Canadian loos have wonderful views

of mountains, sea and sky.

Coast to coast, from west to east,

these views will satisfy!


In summer at Butchart Gardens

where flowers are celebrated,

they are blooming everywhere –

even the loos are decorated!

Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island, BC


A gentleman in his bathroom

could always sit and ponder

the view from his bathroom window

of the mountains over yonder.

Craigdorrach Castle, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC


At beautiful Deep Cove

you’ll find this deluxe facility.

Pitt River is very scenic

but the toilets aren’t so pretty.

Deep Cove, BC

Pitt River, BC


Before you take a gondola ride

have a toilet stop.

There are no handy bathrooms

on the mountain top!

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish, BC


A toilet block amidst the trees –

its location is quite practical.

With running water everywhere,

you might need to be tactical.

Brandywine Falls, BC


Old buildings at the village

tell tales of long ago.

This outhouse has seen better days.

It’s only there for show.

Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, ON


A long walk around the islands

might leave you feeling needy.

With a bathroom halfway round the track

you won’t have to be speedy.

Toronto Island Park, Toronto, ON


When the Blue Jays are in town

and you go to see the game,

learn about baseball history

in the Washroom Hall of Fame.

Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON


This pretty little restroom

is very well disguised.

It’s only when you walk around

that you can see the signs.

Montmorency Falls, Quebec City, QC


So when you visit Canada

and you need to use the loo,

it’s highly likely it will have

an amazing view!


Revisit other loos with fabulous views:

A Loo With a View – The Kevtoberfest Edition

A Loo With a View – The English Edition

A Loo With a View – The Cruise Edition

A Loo With a View – The Hawaiian Edition

or search #looswithviews

More Than a Battlefield

Canada #36 Québec

On 13 September 1759, two opposing armies met on the grassy plains above the St Lawrence River in a battle which lasted less than an hour. The area known as the Plains of Abraham was named after Abraham Martin, a fisherman and river pilot who had farmed the land a century before. French troops, under the command of Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, were overwhelmed by British Army and Royal Navy forces, led by General James Wolfe. Five days later, the city of Québec surrendered to Britain.

More than 250 years later, the Plains of Abraham National Battlefields Park is a place of peace, remembrance and contemplation. Markers commemorating the battle are placed throughout the gardens, detailing important moments and the people who took part.

After overnight showers the morning air is cool and damp and raindrops hang heavy on flowers in the gardens.

It’s a quiet weekday morning and the only creatures we meet are hungry squirrels foraging for breakfast…

and these quirky musical penguins.

Water plays in the centennial fountain, constructed in 1967 to celebrate 100 years since the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick united to form one independent nation.

Beyond the manicured lawns and neatly kept gardens, the grass is longer and the path, now just a narrow dirt track, leads to the top of Cap Diamant. We come to a Martello tower, strategically placed high above the St Lawrence River. Once a defensive fort housing a garrison of soldiers, the tower is now a small museum.

Following the path along the edge of the ridge, we arrive at Terrasse Pierre Dugua-De Mons. From this elevated vantage point, we admire again the wide expanse of Dufferin Terrace, the elegance of Château Frontenac and the St Lawrence River, silvery under the overcast sky.

Later, on our way home, we come across memorials to the two leaders of that long ago battle on the Plains of Abraham. Both died after being wounded by musket balls; General Wolfe not long after the battle began and the Marquis de Montcalm the following day.

They may have been on opposing sides in 1759 but today they are equally remembered for the roles they played in Québec’s colourful history.

Join Jo for Monday Walks

A Day of Learning

Canada #34 Musée huron-wendat, Wendake

After exploring the banks of the Akiawenrahk River and wandering through the First Nations reserve of Wendake, we were curious about the history of the Huron-Wendat Nation. The Musée huron-wendat was the perfect place for us to learn about this matriarchal society.

The museum, opened in 2008, showcases the history and culture of the Huron-Wendat people. Exhibitions of indigenous arts and crafts, beautifully decorated with beads and feathers, tell stories of the ancestors. Clothing and jewellery, household items and hunting tools explain traditional ways of life. They are displayed with photographs and explanations in the words of the people who made and used them.

The Ekionkiestha’ longhouse, where as many as 60 people from one clan would have lived, stands behind a tall protective palisade. The longhouse is made from white birch and alder trees; the lengths of timber and wide strips of bark would all have been gathered when the site was first cleared.

While the men were builders, hunters and fishers, the women of the clan tended abundant gardens, providing up to 80% of their food supply.

The garden beds surrounding the longhouse were filled with crops. The “Three Sisters” combination of corn, beans and squash grew together, companion planting at its best. The corn stalks provided support for the climbing beans, the beans renewed nitrogen in the soil and the large leaves of the squash plants shaded the soil, keeping weeds to a minimum. Jerusalem artichokes and sunflowers also flourished in the garden.

Inside the longhouse it was cool and dim, with light only entering through the narrow doorway. Platform beds lined the walls, furs piled high ready for sleeping. Cooking fires glowed as tendrils of smoke drifted up to the high domed roof.

Standing in the longhouse, it was easy to imagine families gathering together at the end of the day, children playing while the evening meal was prepared. The Musée huron-wendat brought the culture of the Huron-Wendat Nation to life for us in a way that reading never could.