The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

If you have heard of the Fes­ti­val of Ideas you would prob­a­bly agree that it is in it­self a great idea. I have al­ways wanted to have a fes­ti­val of gar­den ideas. But of­ten there are more ideas than you can poke a stick at, many re­quir­ing great su­per­fi­cial­ity and large amounts of cash.

Well that’s what a gar­den is all about re­ally, an airy fairy ex­pe­ri­ence or maybe a jum­ble of items that fin­ish up as just that. An idea.

But it’s ideas that make our gar­dens what they are – unique.

I am talk­ing about ideas on how to beat a bud­get into obliv­ion and clev­erly ap­ply other ideas on how to get the best look with as lit­tle cash as pos­si­ble. Or the other big ideas that are out there – big time, enor­mous ven­tures verg­ing on the pre­pos­ter­ous, such as a Christo­pher Skase idea to buy up a whole plan­ta­tion of oil palms in the Dain­tree and move them one by one and tonne by tonne to give a Hol­ly­wood hit to the en­trance to what was a sleepy old Port Dou­glas at the time. The idea seems to wane at times with the han­ker­ing for their re­place­ment with some drab lo­cal plants that are a good idea and in keep­ing with the ecol­ogy of the place, but miss the orig­i­nal idea of some gar­den ex­trav­a­ganza, glam­our and botan­i­cal bling for a re­sort town.

Other ideas that came with good cash back­ing in­clude a recre­ation of the great gar­dens of Europe, with be­quests and lav­ish lolly doled out by the well-heeled to re­mind them­selves of the gar­dens of home, in a colo­nial cli­mate, where most of the plants would end up be­ing de­clared a pest.

Surely some­one thought prickly pear would be a good idea as a most at­trac­tive do­mes­ti­cated plant grown from a small slip from Eng­land. A good idea in­deed...

An­other good idea is to replicate home over the seas, like cas­tles and gar­dens among the tow­er­ing rain­for­est trees in a place that recorded Aus­tralia’s high­est rain­fall. Jose Paronella con­cocted an idea of the ul­ti­mate plea­sure gar­den among the rain­for­est at Paronella Park.

We all know and love his story of procur­ing land and re­selling to fund the next stage of his love and ad­ven­ture.

Hand-made ce­ment was mixed with wet sea­son sweat (and prob­a­bly a few tears) to cre­ate and craft tea and ball­rooms in a fairy­tale cas­tle style ar­chi­tec­ture with its own power gen­er­ated by the crash­ing Mena Creek wa­ters al­most a cen­tury ago.

Never give up on your good idea. Of all the ideas we have about a gar­den, one will drop like the prover­bial penny.

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