Tag Archive | wildflowers

Changing Seasons

Kevtoberfest #23 The Great Alpine Road

With the fun of Kevin’s birthday party over, it was time to say farewell and begin the long journey home. Instead of returning the way we’d come, we had planned to travel through the Alpine National Park to the ski resorts of Mount Hotham and Falls Creek. But late winter snowfalls meant the roads were closed in places and only accessible in other areas with tyre chains.

The alternative was to follow the Great Alpine Road from Bairnsdale into the mountains to Omeo, then through the mountain passes to Mitta Mitta on the other side. We’d heard the road was steep and winding, and we were warned to take it slowly on the narrow curves.

The hills and pastures of the lower alpine region were still wearing their brown overcoats, parched and bare after a dry winter.


As the road climbed we began to see signs of the change in seasons, with wattle in full bloom gilding the steep hillsides. Alpine ashes, tall and spindly, had begun to shed their old bark, revealing pristine white trunks beneath.


Even though spring had definitely arrived, winter wasn’t quite gone either. As northerners, we rarely see snow and our first glimpse of a dusting on the distant mountains was exciting. Icy remnants of long ago snowfalls remained in the roadside culverts.


We paused several times to admire the distant peaks, their white blanketed slopes in stark contrast with the deep green of the surrounding eucalypt forest.

Our frequent stops to admire the views combined with the slow pace of travel on the winding mountain road meant our journey of just 236 kilometres took more than six hours.

Lucky we had plenty to look at on the way!

 

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Abundance

Kevtoberfest #16 Blue Mountains

In late September the Blue Mountains were in full bloom, with flowering natives and exotic blossoms competing for our attention at every stop.

At Jenolan Caves, spring flowers and magnolias filled every available space.

On the Federal Pass track to Scenic World, tiny native blossoms glowed in jewel-like colours.

In Leura, cherry trees laden with delicate blossoms attracted photographers and bees alike.

Waratahs grew wild beside the road to Anvil Rock

and at the Botanic Gardens alongside rhododendrons, proteas and camellias.

Clusters of golden flowers glowed beside blackened seed pods on banksias at Gordon Falls Reserve.

Springtime in the Blue Mountains is blooming beautiful!

Meeting the Locals

Exploring England #30

Our Airbnb home near the Lake District was a pretty stone cottage, one of several in a row surrounded by verdant farmland. A mill pond complete with ducks and their ducklings lay behind the cottages, and beyond the pond at the top of the hill was the Lancaster Canal. A public footpath began at the end of our street, and we decided to go exploring in the hope of meeting some of the locals.

The path took us along the edge of the field where, even in the late afternoon, the thick green grass was still damp with morning dew.

We climbed over a stile

and up the hill to the path beside the canal.

From the top of the hill we could see our cottages and the lush farmland of the Lancashire countryside.

Late summer wildflowers bloomed in profusion along the water’s edge. Some we recognised, while others were new to us.

We did meet some of the residents but they had little to say, merely raising their heads in curiosity as we passed by.

As the sun sank lower in the sky, the temperature began to drop. We retraced our steps until we were on our lane again and, with the day almost over, our cosy cottage was warm and welcoming.

Join Jo and her friends for Monday Walks.

The Essence of Summer

There are more than 700 species of Eucalyptus and almost all are native to Australia. Commonly known as gum trees because of the sap that oozes from any breaches in the bark, they grow almost everywhere, from the inland deserts to the alpine areas of the southern states.

The flower of a eucalypt is not composed of petals. Instead, a large number of long feathery stamens are held together by a colourful operculum. As the stamens dry and fall away from the clusters of blossoms, seeds form in the opercula which dry and become hard – we call them gum nuts.

When the gum trees are flowering, we know summer has begun.

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Visit Judes’ Garden Challenge to see more of the Essence of Summer

Growing Wild

Holiday in Hawaii #20

When we travel, I like to buy charms for my charm bracelet – it’s a simple way to remember the wonderful places we’ve been to. In Hawaii I found the perfect bead. Its circlet of flowers was reminiscent of a beautiful lei, made of the flowers of the frangipani tree. When I told the shop assistant I love frangipanis, she corrected me. “These are plumeria,” she said. I was confused – I’d always thought leis were made from frangipani flowers.

Later, as we walked through the mall, I pointed to a frangipani tree in the garden and asked Marsha what it was called. “Plumeria,” she said. Mystery solved! Plumeria = frangipani; the same flower with two names.

The scientific name Plumeria honours the 17th century botanist Charles Plumier, who studied the plant species of the New World, while the common name Frangipani refers to a 16th century Italian who invented a plumeria-scented perfume.

We saw frangipanis blooming everywhere in Hawaii: in the gardens of historic missionary homes, between the headstones in churchyards, and adorning the monuments at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

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And I have a frangipani lei on my bracelet!

See more beautiful wildflowers at Jude’s Garden Photography Challenge

Mānoa Falls

Holiday in Hawaii #16

If you love seeing waterfalls at the end of easy walking tracks, Mānoa Falls is the place for you.

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Located in the Mānoa Valley, the 2.6 kilometre trail is well maintained with a small incline, until the last hundred metres where it becomes rocky and steeper.

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The trail winds through thick vegetation – lush rainforest, tall stands of bamboo and beautiful tropical flowers thrive in the damp conditions. This part of Oahu receives plenty of rain, and the insects love it as much as the plants. Remember to bring your insect repellent!

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The last short climb over a tumble of boulders to reach Mānoa Falls is worth the extra effort. The water of Waihi Stream drops 46 metres from the top of the sheer cliff to the small pool at its base, before rushing away downhill to the coast.

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If you’re thinking the Mānoa Valley looks familiar, you’re not mistaken. Parts of the movie “Jurassic Park” and the TV series “Lost” were filmed here.

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Luckily it’s almost impossible to get lost on this relaxing walking trail. Just make sure you stay on the path!

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See more close up garden photos with Jude and some other lovely walks with Jo.