Friday, June 11, 2010

Week 24/52 - Western Australia's midwest wild-flower carpets

Welcome everyone to week 24 of my 52 week tour Downunder Western Australia.

This week we continue northwards from York and Toodyay our last destinations through New Norcia and up into wildflower country - I hope you have your cameras, and plenty of memory space ready for some wonderful photographic opportunities along our wildflower drive. Luckily our driver knows the call "stop the car!" when we see yet another new lot of wildflowers to photograph. Of all the places in Western Australia going north to photograph wildflowers is my favourite way to travel during spring. If the season is good (and it can vary from year to year depending on rains) the wildflowers are spectacular!

Heading north via the Great Northern Highway we visit Australia’s only Monastic town, New Norcia, a Spanish-influenced religious settlement founded by Dom Rosendo Salvado for the Benedictine Monks in 1846. Registered as a National estate, several hours could be spent here touring the beautiful buildings, 27 of which are classified by the National Trust.

This is St Ildephonsus at New Norcia.

From Life Images by Jill

Continuing north, we collected information from the Dalwallinu Visitor Information Centre as we knew from previous experience that local information is invaluable to know what is flowering where, as the best locations can vary each year depending on the season.

Influenced by rain and sunshine and boasting up to 12,000 known species, the Western Australian wildflower season spreads over several months starting from July in the north’s Pilbara region till November in the south. It is no wonder the Western Australian wildflower season attracts thousands of tourists to the Midwest every year from all over the world.

Stopping along roadside verges and nature reserves and walking into the bush gives you the opportunity to find flowers you won’t see travelling along the highway. It is a good idea to photograph the flower, leaves and environment, or take notes, to assist with identification in a wildflower book later.

This is Dampiera - with rain drops....

From Wildflowers
Our first major stop for wildflowers is Jibberding Reserve - a photographers’ delight, as the carpets of everlastings and a kaleidoscope of wildflowers including the blue native cornflower were spreading out through the trees on mass. We have been here several times on our way north and it always delights. It is amazing how the wildflowers erupt from the seemingly dry dirt during spring.

This is the blue native cornflower...

From Wildflowers

Further north we had lunch under the shady trees at White Wells. We have camped here in the past overnight - it is a good overnight camping spot away from the highway and traffic noise. Here the carpets of pink everlastings were everywhere, dotted with sprinklings of white and yellow everlastings and other wildflowers.

Here is the pink everlasting.......

From Wildflowers

You have heard me talk about carpets of wildflowers - well here is a photo of a carpet of everlastings - in a good season it is like this everywhere in the mid west region of WA - stunning isn't it.... I would really like to show you a more expansive view, but that scrappy dry bush gets in the way - but I hope you get the idea.

By the way they are called everlastings (or paper daisies) because when you pick them you hang them up in a bunch upside down and they last for years.

From Wildflowers

We’ve been told that the Wreath Leschenaultia, is in flower on Sanderson Road, and as I’d never seen them before I was excited at the prospect. I am not disappointed. Not far along Sanderson Road, the wreaths appear, sitting on the sandy road verge like giant cream buns, their pink and cream flowers surrounding their green centres in perfect circles.

Here is a close up of the Wreath Leschenaultia...

From Wildflowers
And a wider view - amazing aren't they...

From Wildflowers
There are thousands of varieties of wildflowes in Western Australia. Photographing them and finding varieties I haven't seen before has become a bit of a passion. But with so many gorgeous wildflowers can you blame me?

This is a close up of the Emu Tree.

From Wildflowers

Thank you for looking everyone. I hope you are enjoying the wildflower photos this week. I really want to show you some more wildflowers. So stay tuned for Week 25 and week 26 when we explore more of the Midwest.

In case you hadn't realised I LOVE photographing wildflowers and feel incredibly lucky to have such a huge variety virtually on my doorstep - I don't have to go far to find some variety of wildflower flowering.

Here is another - this is the Goodenia -

From Wildflowers

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Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this tour around Western Australia. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for taking the time to comment.