From last month’s notice you might have heard that the walk through the reserve was well attended and that there was lots to see. Now, a month later, most of the obvious flowering activity has disappeared, however the beautiful beaufortias are in full bloom, especially B. incana and B. schaueri. B. incana especially would make a good garden shrub as it has a long flowering period and grows in sand or laterite. Another good garden plant would be Banksia sphaerocarpa var. caesia. Both plants would probably need a bit of pruning as they can grow rather wide. But they are waterwise plants and wouldn’t need much water after they have been established. I do not know if any local nurseries grow these plants but it might be good to ask around.
I found some new sun orchids last month, and am seeing plants that were not in flower last year. I am getting the distinct feeling that in this part of the Wheatbelt not only is the flowering related to rainfall, but a number of plants might not flower every year, and prefer to conserve their energy by putting it into new growth, or into underground tubers. Some plants regrow leaves every year, but if they haven’t had enough rain, (or a fire), no flower stalks will be formed. It doesn’t help either that our climate is changing so rapidly. This is rather frustrating as I only have a small window of opportunity to find the flowers of these species, and I can be looking for them for 2 years and not see any flowers. Such is currently the case with Chamaescilla spiralis, Microtis sp. (a Mignonette Orchid), and Drosera erythrorhiza (Red Ink Sundew). Or they flower for a short period when I am not around…. I was lucky enough to find a native storksbill, Pelargonium havlasiae in flower, which also grows in the damper areas of the reserve.
I was very fortunate this month to see a trigger plant (Stylidium neglectum) putting on a mass flowering display, offset by the yellow Waitzia everlasting, which complimented the pink carpet in the reserve. These are the things that give me great pleasure to see. It is comparable to the pink and white everlasting displays up north, but doesn’t last as long. I will be back from 2 till 7 December, focussing once again upon Eucalypts.
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Article by Jolanda Keeble