Tag Archive | wildflowers

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.

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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.

A Walk in the Park

Round Australia Road Trip #17

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From its vantage point on Mt Eliza, Kings Park has unrivalled views of the city of Perth and the beautiful Swan River. The park is home to the Western Australian Botanic Garden, which covers 17 hectares and displays more than 3000 species of Western Australian flora. There are guided walks with park volunteers every day and self guided walking maps are available at the Visitor Information Centre.  Let’s go for a wander together.

The State War Memorial sits in an imposing position near the Visitor Information Centre. The memorial includes the Cenotaph, Court of Contemplation, Pool of Reflection and Flame of Remembrance, honouring all Western Australians who have served their country in battle.

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Near the War Memorial is this regally attired River Red Gum. Fondly known as The Queen’s Tree, it was planted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954.

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The entrance to the Botanic Garden is just a little further down the hill. The garden represents the regions of Western Australia, with beds featuring the flora of each area. There are also beds displaying particular endemic species and other beds designed simply to showcase beautiful floral displays. In spring the Everlastings are spectacular; thousands of papery daisies in pink, yellow and white nod gently in the breeze.

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Other beds feature Waxes, Grevilleas, Eucalypts and Banksias. There are several varieties of Kangaroo Paw including the new Anniversary Gold, specially bred to celebrate the Botanic Garden’s 50th anniversary in 2015.

Three Honour Avenues of magnificent eucalypts are accompanied by  small plaques. They remember service personnel who have died while serving Australia and are either buried in overseas war cemeteries or have no known grave. The Sugar Gums on Lovekin Drive were dedicated in 1948.

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Two thirds of Kings Park is protected bushland and a walk down Lovekin Drive onto Forrest Drive leads to the Bushland Nature Trail. The entrance to the trail is marked by a sculptured mia mia copied from the temporary structures built by the local Nyoongar people. Traditionally constructed from grass tree branches, a mia mia provided shelter while on hunting trips.

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The Nature Trail is a one km loop track through native bushland. Even though more than 70 bird species and 20 reptile species have been identified in the bush, none are about in the heat of the day.

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On the other side of Forrest Drive, opposite the mia mia, is the Pioneer Women’s Memorial. Set in an ornamental lake, the bronze sculpture of a woman cradling her baby is surrounded by fountains representing the bush where pioneer women made their homes.

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Further along Forrest Drive, the DNA Tower stands on the highest point of the park. There are 101 steps in each of the double helix staircases but it’s worth the climb to see 360 degree views of the park and the city of Perth.

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For yet another glorious view of Perth City and the Swan River, cross over Forrest Drive  to the entrance of the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, an elevated boardwalk through the treetops on the edge of the escarpment. In the middle of the walkway a glass bridge rises up over the forest floor.

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Covering 4000 hectares, Kings Park is one of the largest public parks in the world and a single day isn’t enough to explore it all. Let’s head back to the gallery at Aspects of Kings Park. I need to buy a flower identification book!

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Banksia

Nature’s Designs ~ Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Ornate

When spring comes to Western Australia the wildflowers bloom in abundance. At first glance the blossoms look simple but closer inspection reveals the fine details. These wildflowers were all found in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Ornate