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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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!