I’m delighted to be part of the Book’d Out Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop celebrating Australian writers and stories. I’m giving away a copy of my latest novel Turtle Reef, and a copy of Jilted by the fabulous Rachael Johns. The giveaway is only open to Australian residents. Stop by the other blogs on the tour to win more great prizes.
My Australia Day blog post is about a little Australian native orchid, that connects my memories of a lost brother with my upcoming novel, Journey’s End.
There is little more poignant in life, than helping to pack up the house of a loved one who has died too young. This has been my sad task recently, since the untimely death of my brother, Rod Scoullar. He was a learned man, a man who loved Australia’s fauna and flora – a naturalist of the first order. His study was a gold-mine of nature books, stored on impressive floor-to-ceiling shelves that covered an entire wall. It was here that I found the holy grail for Aussie orchid lovers – Australian Indigenous Orchids Vol 1 & 2 by A W Dockrill. These are hard to find volumes, and sell on-line for up to $200 a set. But aside from being the definitive treatises on native orchids, they also provided me with a wonderful link to my new book, Journey’s End, which will be out in late May.
Journey’s End is concerned in part with a woman’s journey through grief. I’m deep in the edits at the moment. Little did I know when I was writing this book that it would take such a personal turn. It’s set in the wild, mountainous, subtropical rainforests of the Great Eastern Escarpment, and the rare Ravine Orchid (Sarchochilus fitzgeraldii) plays a significant role in the story. So I looked it up in my brother’s books, and found a glorious, full-colour plate of this beautiful and delicate flower.
The Ravine Orchid is found in wet, humid rainforests of the Great Dividing Range, where waterfalls cascade from the tablelands. It is lithophytic, which means its roots cling to rocks or creep into humus-filled crevices. Old colonies form mats many meters wide, and relish the constant play of cool air through the deep, damp ravines. Plants also occasionally grow on the moss-covered buttresses of ancient trees. The fragile flowers appear in October and November, and are up to forty millimeters wide. Colours vary from pure white, white with a red heart, to a rare all-crimson form. They are borne on graceful, pendulous stems which may measure more than a meter long. Quite a sight, when draped in full bloom on the rocks above a mountain stream.
I was fortunate enough to buy a tiny specimen from the Tinonee Orchid Nursery when on a research trip for the book last year, pictured right. According to the wonderful Ray Clement, it should do well in the climate of the southern Victorian ranges where I live. So far so good. One day it may flower, and I’ll think of my brother, and his passion for Australia’s marvellous native plants.
To go into the prize draw leave a comment on this blog post. Don’t forget to check out the other blogs at Book’d Out to be in the running for more great prizes!! (Entries will close at midnight on Wednesday January 27th)
Beautiful and sad and hopeful … all at the same time. Thank you.
Why thank you Lis!
I think he would be tickled pink to know that there is such a deep connection between the story and his orchid. I know he didn’t discover it, but it somehow feels as if it should be his, doesn’t it?
It sure does 🙂 x
Thanks for the opportunity to win, Jennifer! Turtle Reef sounds great, as does Journey’s End – love the setting!
Thank you Kathryn. Good luck in the giveaway!
What a beautiful link for Journey’s End and the Ravine Orchid. The botanical name provided a link to my own memories from years ago – a workmate at the time lost his life in an accident the night before he turned 21 (his last name was Fitzgerald).
Thanks foe the giveaway, both books sound fantastic.
Thanks for the comment Kylie. Glad the post struck a chord with you.
Lovely post. I do hope your orchid flowers. I am a big fan of orchids and have a few. Turtle Reef is already on my to read list.
Thanks Dale. I hope it flowers too! Good luck in the draw.
My son has given me two orchids as gifts and they are beautiful. I’m sure yours will flower over time.
Thanks Veronica. They are fascinating plants.
Orchids are just gorgeous and I bet when this flowers it’ll be so beautiful. Thank you for the chance to win.
Thanks Sarah. Good luck in the draw!
Hi Jennifer, what a beautiful post. I think orchids are gorgeous.
This blog hopping is fun and the prizes are very cool. Love your giveaway, Jennifer, thanks for the opportunity.
Thanks Sue. Good luck, and thanks for your comment!
How lovely you have such a connection there! I hope your Orchid flowers soon.
I love this blog hop, always so many new authors to discover and books to add to my wishlist.
Thanks for your comment, and good luck in the draw!
Thank you for sharing such a sad time. Good luck with your orchid growing. I manage to keep the orchid plant alive but they never seem to flower.
That happens with me a bit too. Fingers crossed this time will be different.