Some years ago, when we lived on our olive farm beside the Cudgegong River, we spent many pleasant evenings with neighbours further along the river, often sitting around a campfire, talking well into the night, solving the world's problems, or not, as the case may be. It was a particularly agreeable place to be with soft grass and lofty she-oaks highlighted by the fire's flames.
Often we would see the resident geese, escorted by their gander, waddling their way down to the water to spend their nights away from the mischief of foxes and if we were lucky, we might see a possum tucked away in a tree's hollow. Around us were the sounds of night animals; kangaroos and wombats and the last notes of birds as they settled down for the night.
A sweet memory from those times was the sight of the flowers of a nearby small tree, like crisp white butterflies quivering in the reflected light of the fire. They seemed to rival the stars in brightness.
This small tree is called the Hibiscus Syriacus, named so because it was once collected from gardens in Syria. It has a smaller, less showy flower than other hibiscuses and it comes in a variety of colours. It's the white one I prefer, and the one in the riverbank garden was a double one with a touch of red in the centre. It flowers prolifically and for a long time through the warm weather, and it's deciduous, which is perhaps why it can survive our cold winters here in the Central Tablelands where we sometimes have frosts down to -7 degrees celsius.
Eventually we riparian dwellers all left our beautiful riverside for various reasons and moved on to other destinations, other chapters of our lives. But before we went, I took a cutting of that old white hibiscus, struck it, and it's growing in my suburban garden now: a plant of dreams and reminiscence.
Good times, G&R, thanks for the memories.
Postscript: An observant blogger pointed out to me that I had misidentified this plant. I originally thought it was an alyogyne, also a type of Hibiscus, and I have corrected my error. It's nice to know that someone reads my blogs so carefully!