Coming down from Petrie Terrace through the Roma Street Parklands yesterday, I came across these large…

Coming down from Petrie Terrace through the Roma Street Parklands yesterday, I came across these large beds of Allamanda (Allamanda cathartica ) flowering next to the footpath.

I can never see these flowers without thinking of my Aunt Meg. 

As a kid growing up in North Queensland I was a frequent visitor to her place in Atherton. Auntie Meg was what I think of as a 'big gardener'. Not big herself as she was positively tiny, but her attitude to gardening was that you have a few big things in the yard, and apart from vegetables no small garden beds.

As a result she had an enormous mulberry tree in the back yard which must have been 40 years old – a veritable haven for young kids like miself, and the perfect climbing tree.

But back to the alamandra – along one side of the house she had built with the help of some old telephone poles, a trellis that stretched the length of the house and to the roof. Standing a couple of metres away from the house she had then trained a magnificent alamadra, a massive plant which must have been 12 metres long and 3 metres high and a couple of metres wide.

Through summer mornings it kept the tin sides of that old house perfectly cool.

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