Much of the WA landscape is arid — but just add water and the country blossoms. Wildflowers abound.
The trick is the right amount of rain at the right time of the year, and follow-up rain (but not too much).
It’s a tricky business, and it can be patchy.
Heading north through the Murchison on the way to the Pilbara on July 28, there were signs of the season shaping up.
Heading south again last Sunday, wildflowers were out, with the promise of plenty to come.
Seeing them in their natural habitat is a treat, and one that still excites Kings Park and Botanic Garden senior curator Grady Brand (pictured above while checking out the wildflowers near Great Northern Highway near Paynes Find).
We are standing together in the wildflowers, and he says: “This is what inspires and informs me.”
And, once again, that inspiration will bring us the Kings Park Festival, which begins on September 1.
For we are fortunate. The Western Australian Botanical Garden in Kings Park is not just a “stamp collection” type of garden, but a true representation of the flora of WA, organised in its regions. It includes flora from the Wheatbelt, Goldfields, Stirling Range, Rottnest Island, the Kimberley, mulga and southern coastal landscapes.
More than 17ha of beautiful garden displays, around 3000 of WA’s 12,000 species of native flora are on display.
And behind that is sound scientific knowledge. Kings Park seed collector Luke Sweedman is on the road, collecting seed of sound provenance. Kings Park science and nursery staff are handling and grow the seed. What you see in Kings Park and Botanic Garden is genuinely West Australian, from known sources — from known and understood landscapes.
“There is nothing like being in the natural environment ... in the country ... seeing the natural wonders of the world,” Grady says. “Just add water and this mulga country erupts into paper daisies en masse.
“For over 50 years, Kings Park and Botanic Garden have been bringing wildflowers to the community and visitors in authentic displays, to inspire them to come to places like this.”
A spokesperson explains: “Kings Park produces all its own seeds and plants for the native floral displays. The Kings Park Nursery has grown more than 25,000 plants for the 2018 Kings Park Festival.”
Approximately 25 staff and 20 volunteers will have planted wildflowers during a three-month period leading up to the Kings Park Festival.
Appropriately, the theme for this year’s festival is The Greatest Show on Earth.
In its 55th year, the festival is presented by Kings Park and Botanic Garden and the Friends of Kings Park, with the support of Lotterywest.
From September 1 to 30, Kings Park Festival will present spring displays of WA wildflowers and free events including outdoor exhibitions, guided walks and talks, photography displays and family activities.
Around half a million people are expected to visit the festival.
But there is plenty of time to be out and about in WA, being inspired and informed.
There are spreads of pink everlastings around Mullewa, Coalseam Conservation Park is in bloom, and there has been a strong show of wildflowers in the Shark Bay area.
This could be the best and biggest display in a decade, says a spokesperson for Australia’s Coral Coast tourism region, which includes Shark Bay: “The density of flowers is due to the unseasonal amount of rain the Coral Coast’s inland rural farming towns have received this year, followed up with good sunshine to help germinate.”
- For details visit bgpa.wa.gov.au.
You may also like
Photography: Top tips: How to take better wildflower photos
Heading out to see WA's wildflower season? Here's how to capture some blooming good shots.
Arrivals & Departures: Tree-mendous concert for conservation
Operatic works by the likes of Puccini, Verdi and Mozart will be performed against the spectacular backdrop of tall tingle trees and the Tree Top Walk when the WA Opera returns to the Valley of the Giants in December.
Driving: Thar she blows as whales pass by...
Stephen Scourfield sets off on an enjoyable drive along the WA coast.