I do love a well-designed garden!
My idea of a really good garden is one which appeals not just to the physical senses, but to the mind and spirit as well.
The University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba already has one well-established great public garden of this kind, in its Japanese Garden. It has done it again, with this Aboriginal garden. It is beautifully designed and rich with uplifting meaning and symbolism.
Even for those who choose to ignore all that, it is simply a pleasant place to be, even though it is still so very new. It is a great place to go for a stroll, watch the birds, take a picnic, bring international visitors, or just to have a snooze in the shade on a sunny afternoon.
I was delighted when I was given the opportunity to be shown around a few weeks ago. The Toowoomba Field Naturalists were given the first official tour of the garden by two of the people who were driving forces in its creation, Donna Moody and Uncle Darby McCarthy. It was a pleasure and a privilege. If you get the chance to do the same, don’t miss it, as it's very rewarding to be able to have a deeper understanding of the ideas behind the design.
I had been told that the university was building a new “bush tucker garden”, so was very interested to discover that this was a rather inadequate description. Bush tucker is certainly one of the components, but only a small part of the whole.
The plantings are all of local native species, but older existing plants of many other kinds have also been retained. This is a garden that is very firmly grounded in its own place in the world.
The Gumbi Gumbi Gardens are in the University’s “front yard”, stretching from West Street up towards the administration buildings. Parking inside the University can be difficult (though possible) on a weekday, but easy on weekends.