Category Archives: Out And About

Adorable Sunday

Mmmm… the Pink Everlasting is nice and soft… 🙂

Little bears with Thinnid Wasp, Granny Bonnet, Kangaroo Paw, Silver Princess, Golden Wattle and Pink Everlasting

Kings Park Wildflower Festival wouldn’t be complete without the Adorable Florables — mischievous larger-than-life wildflower characters each with a personality to match their bloom — who rove around the park on Sundays.

Pink Everlasting
Golden Wattle
Thinnid Wasp
Granny Bonnet
Silver Princess as Gumnut
The majestic Kangaroo Paw surrounded by Adorable Florables

The Adorable Florables are the brainchild of Kings Park Festival Director Jacqui Kennedy. In a move to educate and entertain the public, the team at the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority has devised a series of characters representing the state’s native wildflowers. The golden wattle, Queen of Sheba orchid, pink everlasting, banksia and kangaroo paw are some of the native plant species portrayed by performers who don flamboyant costumes and make-up, transforming themselves into real-life representations of the species.

The costumes for the Adorable Florables are designed by Isaac Lummis, a Melbourne based costume designer and maker, whose body of work extends across a diverse range of performers and performance genres. He has designed costumes for dance, circus, theatre and festivals.

The Adorable Florables first appeared in 2007, and every year since. Between 2007 and 2009 they were known as the Wandering Wildflowers and in 2010 they became the Adorable Florables. In 2011 two new characters, Silver Princess and Western Spinebill Bird, were added to the group. In total, there are ten members of the Adorable Florables: Granny Bonnet, Queen of Sheba Orchid, Kangoroo Paw, Silver Princess, Zamia Cycad Warrior, Pink Everlasting, Banksia and Golden Wattle plus Thinnid Wasp and Western Spinebill Bird. All ten made a guest appearance at the Government House Garden Party, the official state reception for the royal visit to Perth on 28 October 2011 during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The Adorable Florables are stunningly creative works of art.

Little bears with Thinnid Wasp, Granny Bonnet, Kangaroo Paw, Silver Princess and Pink Everlasting
Little bears with the Adorable Florables in 2014 – Pink Everlasting, Western Spinebill Bird, Queen of Sheba Orchid, Zamia Cycad Warrior and Silver Princess

The Wildflowers of Western Australia

Western Australia’s wildflower season begins in June and lasts for 6 months.

There are some 12,500 flowering species in WA, 60 per cent of which are endemic to the state. The wildflowers of WA are inventive survivors forced to diversity in order to try to survive in the west’s sandy, loamy soils. As a result WA’s wildflower endemism is second only to perhaps South Africa’s in the world of botanical riches.

The sparkling globules on a sundew (Droseraceae sp.) are not actually morning dew condensation, but sticky nectar used by the insect-catching plants to tempt unsuspecting prey. Any invertebrate unlucky enough to be caught is then ingested by the pretty carnivores. The plants compensate for the lack of water and nutrients in the soil by digesting the insects.

Sundew (Droseraceae sp.)
Smoking bush (Conospermum sp.)

The bulbous flowering head of the kingia (Kingia australis) sprout after fire, their growth likely triggered by the release of ethylene gas. Endemic to south-west Western Australia, this slow-growing, silvery-leaved plant has a thick, often blackened trunk that reaches 4-8m tall.

Kingia

Fruitful Mottlecah (Eucalyptus macrocarp) flower in spectacular fashion, bursting from a large pod, splitting it slowly in half to produce flowers up to 10cm in diameter, usually bright red or pink-red. The species name is derived from the Greek words, makros, meaning large and karpos, meaning fruit.

Fruitful Mottlecah (Eucalyptus macrocarp)

The flower of slow-growing grass trees (some examples of which are among the oldest living plant species in the world) are sometimes used as a bushy’s compass because their flowers open most on the sunnier, northern side. Their stems also made good fishing spears and the waterproof resin, taken from the leaves near the trunk, has a multitude of uses.

Grass tree flower (Xanthorrhoea sp.)
Wildflowers in Kalbarri National Park

Explorer William Dampier collected the first Australian daisy, a Brachyscome, in 1699 from Shark Bay in Western Australia. Many Australian daisies were introduced into Europe prior to the mid 19th century and were very popular in the colony from the 1860s until the turn of the century.

Daisy
Yellow leschenaultia (Lechenaultia linarioides)
Mop heads (Petrophile linearis)

The red ‘lip’ of a king spider orchid (Caladenia pectinata) attracts wasps who, thinking that it’s a mate, rub against it and take away pollen to fertilise another flower.

King spider orchid (Caladenia pectinata)
Stark white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda eminens)
Donkey orchid (Orchidaceae diuris) – two large petals stick up towards the top of the flower giving it a donkey-esque appearance

After his 1699 expedition William Dampier was among the first to cast aside the idea that WA’s low, scraggly looking vegetation was of little botanical worth and commented on the predominance of blue flowers.

Blue bounty
Yellow leschenaultia (Lechenaultia linarioides)
Pincushion cone flowers (Isopogon dubious)
Blushing spider orchid (Caladenia lorea)
Flame peas (Chorizema sp.)
Fringe lilies (Thysanotus multiflorus)
Banksias

Little bears are partial to everlasting daisies, pretty, delicate and soft… Some wildflowers are prickly!

Photography by Don Fuchs from Australian Geographic.

Kalbarri National Park

Kalbarri is one of Western Australia’s best known national parks, with its jaw-dropping unique landscape, scenic gorges, white and red banded sandstones and soaring coastal cliffs. The park covers an area of 186,000 hectares and contains abundant wildlife, including 200 species of birds, and spectacular wildflowers between July and November.

There are two faces to the park: coastal cliffs line the coast south of Kalbarri, with great lookouts and walking trails connecting them. Inland are the river gorges.

Natural bridge and coastal cliffs

Along the coast, wind and wave erosion has exposed the sedimentary layers in the sandstone cliffs that plunge more than 100 metres to the ocean. Red Bluff, Mushroom Rock, Rainbow Valley, Eagle Gorge, Island Rock and the Natural Bridge are among the best-known features of this rugged coast.

Coastal cliffs

Kalbarri National Park surrounds the lower reaches of the Murchison River, which has cut a magnificent 80 kilometre gorge through the red and white banded sandstone to create formations such as Nature’s Window and Z-Bend.

Nature’s Window

Natures Window perfectly frames the Murchison river and is top on the list of photo opportunities 🙂

Considered by many to offer the most breathtaking view of the park, at Z-Bend the gorge plunges 150m down where red river gums create a striking contrast against the earthy Tumblagooda sandstone.

Z-Bend

The Tumblagooda sandstone is a geological formation deposited during the Silurian or Ordovician periods, between four and five hundred million years ago, and now exposed in the river and coastal gorges of Kalbarri National Park, straddling the boundary of the Carnarvon and Perth basins. Visible trackways are interpreted by some to be the earliest evidence of fully terrestrial animals.

Z-Bend

The Murchison River is the second longest river in WA, at 820 kilometres long and has a catchment area of 82,000km2 (larger than Tasmania!).

The Murchison River rises on the southern slopes of the Robinson Ranges, about 75 km north of Meekatharra in central Western Australia. The river travels across dry plains, hills, salt lakes and gorges with many tributaries forming a massive catchment area, before entering the Indian Ocean at Kalbarri.

Mouth of Murchison river

The night sky and galactic centre above Kalbarri National Park.