Skip to content →

Wireless Hill: unplugged in 1968, flowerful now.

Garden City is a large, bland shopping centre. Inside, you could be anywhere.  But an easy short walk away –  “next door” – is a botanical wonderland that could be nowhere other than Australia’s southwest.

All photos in this post (which will conclude with a little surprise, back at the shopping centre) were taken today, August 30, 2016.

The image atop looks down at the top of a catspaw, Anigozanthos humilis.

The Anigozanthos genus has just eleven species. All grow naturally only in the south of Western Australia, although they – and hybrids thereof – now grow in gardens in many other places.

Catspaws, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Catspaws, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

From 1912 to 1968 Wireless Hill was home to the Applecross Wireless Station; the most suitable hill was just “south of the river” – the Swan Estuary, around which Perth wraps.

Its suitable location had already made the hill a “communications hub” for the Whadjuk Noongar people for thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

Although far from pristine, most of Wireless Hill Park’s 38 hectares are now a priceless “island” of bush, in suburbia, easily reached by private car or public transport.

As I type, many thousands of catspaws are flowering there.

Catspaws, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016.
Catspaws, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016.

 

They are a single species, but with much variation in colour.

Also currently impossible not to notice at Wireless Hill are numerous fine examples of WA’s floral emblem,  Anigozanthos manglesii – Mangles kangaroo paw, also known as the red-and-green kangaroo paw.  (see earlier post)

Kangaroo Paw with Banksia trunk behind it, August 30, 2016.
Kangaroo Paw with Banksia trunk behind it, August 30, 2016.

 

Among substantial cities, Perth is almost certainly the greatest place on earth for flowering plants.

Locals can become so blasé about “commonplace”, easily-seen plants – like those in the next two photos here – that they forget just how extraordinary and beautiful they are.

Cowslips, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Cowslip orchids, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

Donkey orchid, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Donkey orchid, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

Countless donkey orchids are currently conspicuous in much of Perth’s remnant bushland.

On Wireless Hill – and not a few other bushy places within Perth suburbia – one can also find an extraordinary array of generally less conspicuous orchids.

Dancing orchids - petite - on Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Dancing orchids – petite – on Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

Spider orchid, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Spider orchid, Wireless Hill, August 30, 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

Red fire orchids, Wireless Hill, August 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Red fire orchids, Wireless Hill, August 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

The red fire orchids- aka Red Beaks and Elephant Ears – were flowering in astonishing profusion on a little patch of Wireless Hill that fire scorched, last summer

All photos here are my own; if you would like to know more about these and other WA orchids, (and see some better photos) I urge you to visit Noel Hoffman’s site.

Only a few minutes after my beloved and I had encountered the red fire orchids we were walking through one of Garden City’s cavernous shopping malls, grinning.

Could whoever selects their canned music have a keen sense of irony?

Wafting through the filtered, conditioned air was the author’s original version of Bob Dylan’s Gotta Serve Somebody!

 

Published in nature and travel photographs Western Australia

One Comment

  1. Bernice Ong Bernice Ong

    subscribe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *