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Showing posts from November, 2016


Jacaranda, the Tree of Heaven

The magnificent Jacaranda While most of the colour has drained from the bush and it seems to be a quiet time while it catches its breath, the city streets have erupted in a blaze of purple.   This is because the Jacaranda is in bloom.   I always thought that this was an Australian tree because it is so widespread on most of the east coast, but it turns out that according to Wiki  the Jacaranda is a member of the Begonia family and a native of tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America, although it is now very common in South Africa too. Close -up of the blossom According to Helen Curran, Assistant Curator of the Sydney Museum, in her delightful article "The Dream Tree: jacaranda, Sydney icon"   it has come to us via those intrepid plant hunters of the C19th. with the first specimens arriving in Australia from London. Curran explains how the tree became so ubiquitous despite early difficulties. I especially like the following quote: “The

Kambarang - Parrots in the roses, Kangaroos in the front yard

Kangaroo enjoying the shade and very probably the much too long grass  This week there have been kangaroos in the front garden and parrots  among the roses. Bush creatures are coming down for moisture, food and shade. In the bush, many more birds can be heard and seen taking advantage of all those burgeoning seed heads and the weather has become very hot and dry with several days above 35oC. We’ve also had the first bush fire alerts and warnings that this year – climate change deniers please note, the chance of catastrophic fires is particularly high.  Whiskers the resident Bandicoot stealing the food we left out for a stray chicken  There was such an abrupt shift in both the weather and the vegetation this week, that I wondered if it had meaning in the Aboriginal Calendar of Seasons. I had read that both the Tasmanian Aborigines and those of the Top End (Darwin, Kakadu) had six different seasons, even though Europeans consider the north to have only two. Here in t

Shades of Lilac as the Bush Parade moves on

This week's star of the bush- theoretically a Blue Flag, but all the ones I saw were a reddish lilac I shouldn’t have said that about the Lechenaultia being stayers. This week they have almost gone and the bush is the poorer for the loss of their vibrant colours. While there are still a few new flowers, these are more subdued and with a few notable exceptions, namely the fringed lilies and the purple flag, it is the season of seed heads and grasses and a sense of nature turning inwards to get on with its real business of making fruit and fat rhizomes out of that glorious floral display. The co -flowering Fringed Lily is also reddish lilac in this area There is no sign now of last week’s magnificent “Blue Ladies” which, like the enamel flower which I also saw, are in fact covert orchids according to my guru in such matters, Ray from G’day from WA who says that their central petals just look “like the other petals to mimic co-blooming blue flowers.” Speaking of

Wildflowers of the Week – more floral wonders of the West

The true Blue Lady - over a metre tall and sometimes seen in other colours The time for photographing wildflowers has almost passed. Not only have they begun to diminish, but we are now getting those typical Western Australian days, hot, dry and sunny - too much contrast, too much UV, which results in pictures so overexposed that you can barely make out the detail, not even when you adjust the exposure. That ominous rustle and crackle in the undergrowth is also starting to make me wary of heading into the bush alone, but there are still a few pleasant surprises. Blue Lady tending to blue grey/ purple My first Flower of the Week is the true Blue Lady of the hills, not that one I showed you earlier which was smaller - about half a metre tall and only had two or three flowers per spike. The real ones are much taller – around a metre or so and their densely clustered flower spikes come in several shades  from bluish grey, through several blues, to pinkish purple.