Our last weekend in Perth was a feast of wildflowers.
On Saturday afternoon, we went back to Kings Park. The weather featured rapid switches between calm warm sunshine, gusty wind, and downpours of rain. Fortunately we were near shelter when the downpours came.
The flowers were quite different from those three weeks ago. Ironically, on each occasion it was “weeds”, or introduced flowers, which dominated: last time it was freesias, and this time pink gladioli. The native flowers were not so much in evidence, except for the kangaroo paw, which was even more dramatic than before.
On Sunday, friends Stephen Glasby and Marie Ferland took us on an excursion to Ellis Brook reserve. This is a lovely stretch of bush just outside the city; at the top of the reserve, the brook falls over a big waterfall, and the rocks at the top of the fall give a panorama of the city.
Marie is very knowledgeable about wildflowers, and Stephen about birds, so it was not a very fast walk: we kept stopping to look at things or take photographs. Among the birds we saw were a splendid blue fairy-wren, numerous New Holland honeyeaters and ring-necked parrots, and a group of red-tailed black-cockatoos. But the astonishing display of flowers was the main thing. We walked several of the park trails (the goanna, wren and eagle); each region had a different selection of flowers. Here are pictures of some of them. There were also some oddities such as the climbing sundew, and the WA Christmas tree (which is a parasite on the roots of its neighbours, but repays the debt by flowering at a time when not much else is available for flower or nectar eating birds).
At the end of the walk, Marie ran into a colleague who is an expert on wildflowers, and got the message that some rare orchids including the red hooded orchid were in flower at Wireless Hill. So we decided to stop there on the way back. The top of the hill used to be a communications centre, but now is a wildflower park; the marked-off lanes through the bush were crowded with flower lovers. The general flora was similar to Kings Park, with the red-and-green kangaroo paw, the pink gladioli, and various white flowers; cats’ paw, colours red, orange and yellow, were also much in evidence.
There were indeed many orchids, some of which – including (I think) the red hooded orchid – are shown in the picture. Serious photographers and others with mobile phones happily swapped information or guesses as to what some of the orchids were.