Despite a few hiccups in the preparation for our wildflower walk, the visit to the Brisbane Ranges was certainly one to remember.
We had hoped to meet up with some of the Friends of Brisbane Ranges, and that they would join us as our guides, but this was not able to happen. Failing this, we decided that a small group of Friends of Eastern Otways would attend the Brisbane Ranges Flower Show on Sunday, October 13 and use that occasion to determine the program for our visit. But this did not really prove worthwhile, as the large bus we joined was not able to go on the smaller tracks, and the wind, rain and hail we experienced did not really help with viewing flowers.
However we did manage to meet up with Judy Locke, Ranger from Brisbane Ranges, at the Wildflower Show and Judy suggested some places to visit.
Saturday, October 19 was just a perfect day – and an absolutely ideal day for showing off the beautiful landscape and flowers of this special part of Victoria, and the 17 members who came along could not help but be impressed with what they saw.
Our first stop was on the roadside near Geebung Track where we explored the slashed area along the Ballan Road firebreak where we saw many flowers that we were able to identify.
It was early in the day and the sun orchids were just starting to open. We were pleased to find two of our favourites in the Salmon Sun Orchid Thelymitra rubra and Rabbit Ears Thelymitra antennifera.
We also found a Tiny Caladenia Caladenia pusilla hiding in amongst the grasses.
After morning tea we crossed the Ballan Road and drove along Switch Road stopping near Aquaduct Track and Nelsons Track and walking along the tracks . Although we were able to identify many of the flowers, we were pleased we had the publication “Wildflowers of the Brisbane Ranges”, by Clive and Merle Trigg that helped us to identify unfamiliar species.
This included the beautiful Golden Grevillea Grevillea chrysophaea.
We were most impressed with the display of Fringed Everlasting Chrysocephalum baxteri and Dwarf Bush-pea Pultenaea humilis that was growing in profusion along the tracks. We do have a small colony of the beautiful Fringed Everlasting that grows near Forest Road but it is very rare in our area.
A bit worn out with looking at flowers, Lachie, Ray, Joe and Frank decided to explore some of the tracks and meet us for lunch at Stony Creek Picnic Ground.
After lunch we drove up to the northern section of the Park and were just ‘blown away’ with the display of landscape and flowers. Grevillea steiglitziana Brisbane Ranges Grevillea (looking very similar to our Grevillea infecunda) was in full flower along the roadside.
The Massed Bush-pea Pultenaea pedunculata and the Dwarf bush Pea P. humilis spread out along the inhospitable terrain.
The display of Baekia ramosissima ssp. ramosissima (now Euromyrtus) amongst the rocky landscape was just one of the highlights of this section.
We could have stayed much longer admiring the flowers, but it was time for us to return to our own beautiful part of the world. Most likely what we envy most is the lack of environmental weeds in the Brisbane Ranges. The maritime climate and coastal soils of our district certainly encourage weed growth.
But what would we do with our time if we didn’t have weeds to attack?
Photos by Phil Watson