I am just loving the eruption of colours in our bush and heathlands, and the wondrous scent of all those wattles.
With so many choices I have decided to highlight plants with red and pink flowers. I must mention again our wonderful red and pink forms of the Common Heath, Epacris impressa.
However I have yet to see them in such abundance as shown in a photo taken several decades ago, on display in the ANGAIR meeting room. It is also, in even more vibrant colours, on the front of Mary White’s book ‘The Flowers of Anglesea River Valley’. This book is now out of print, but available from our library with Mary’s lovely line drawings.
Last month I was entranced by swathes of the Small Sheoak, Allocasuarina misera, in flower. I consider this species a renegade as it flowers three months later than the other species. Being a low bush it makes it easy to see the flowers and how they differ on the male and female plants. The deep red flowers of the female plant run up the branches in small globular flowers heads, the tan tassels of the male plants grow in profusion at the end of the slender branchlets.
Small Sheoak female
Small Sheoak male
A striking late winter/early spring flower is Leafless Bitter-pea, Daviesia brevifolia. I just love the transformation of this plant from bare spiky branches to a coverage of small, vibrant, salmon-pink, pea-flowers.
Running Postman, Kennedia prostrata, a common and vigorous groundcover, is set to make a fine display of its striking red pea-flowers. I have not noticed before that the centres are unusual in being greenish-yellow.
The bright lilac-pink flowers of the aptly named Pink-bells, Tetratheca ciliata, can form striking displays. The black centre on the nodding flowers are hard to see, but have given rise to another common name of Black-eyed Susan.
In the heathlands, look out for the delightful purplish-pink pea-flowers of the slender Heath Milkwort, Comesperma ericinum, standing out above the other plants.
I am always on the lookout for two less common, and very inconspicuous low-growing plants with just gorgeous and unmistakeable small pink flowers. Both can be found at Fraser Avenue. Dwarf Boronia, Boronia nana, has small four-petalled, pointed waxy white to pale pink flowers.
Rosy Baekia, Uuryomyrtus ramosissima subsp. prostrata, which I find almost impossible to photograph, has delightful pale pink, five-petalled flowers facing downwards, sometimes almost touching the ground. The deep pink of the stems and floral tube stand out from the pale petals.
I was challenged to find red or pink flowers along the clifftops at Aireys Inlet, but Slender Velvet-bush, Lasiopetalum baueri, should be in flower soon. It has pretty pink drooping flowers with five pointed ‘petals’. They are worth a closer look as the pink ‘petals’ are actually sepals, and inside these are the five minute dark red petals. I am enjoying the fact that the long grey/green leaves which droop in the hot dry summer weather are looking quite happy and ‘alert’ at the moment.
With these, and so much more to see, you will really need your Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.