WEST AUSTRALIAN WILDFLOWERS – Exploring my backyard

I live in Western Australia, a State with one of the biggest collections of wildflowers on earth. More than 12,000 species grow here – and 60 per cent of them can’t be found anywhere else in the world!

Luckily WA currently is still free of any community Covid, so we can explore our wildflowers to our heart’s content. Western Australia is a big State, with various varieties thousands of kilometres apart. So, to see them all requires a lot of travelling.

I am a keen wildflower amateur photographer, so I admit I try to follow the seasons which begin mid winter in June in the dry months in the northern Kimberley and Pilbara regions, the Goldfields and the Coral Coast north of Perth.

This month – the beginning of our Spring – the season is moving south into Perth, the South West of the State and the far South East of the State.

But you don’t need to do all that travelling. Perth’s beautiful 400 hectare Kings Park and Botanic Gardens overlooking the CBD puts on its annual Wildflower Festival every September, with thousands of wildflowers from the State’s various regions on show.

I went there earlier this week and snapped some wildflower photographs to share with you. And I’ve added to this blog photographs I’ve taken in the bush over the last few years.

I’m no wildflower expert, so I am not even going to begin to try to identify them all. Simply to see these flowers that spring up in the wild by themselves is pure joy.

Kings Park is said to be the most popular visitor destination in Western Australia. It’s very easy to spot from the centre of Perth, overlooking the City and Perth’s beautiful Swan River. I’ve walked from the CBD up to Kings Park many times. It’s a bit uphill to get there, but worth it.

There’s plenty of car spaces throughout the Park – though weekends can be busy. There’s also the free Transperth bus route 935 that travels from St George’s Terrace in the middle of the CBD to the heart of the park. Another free service is the Subiaco Tram which has a hop-on hop-off service that includes Kings Park.

Kings Park includes a Visitor Information Centre, free daily guided walks, cafes, and the fabulous Aspects of Kings Park gallery shop with quality art, craft and other products from around Australia.

The Park also includes the State War Memorial. Avenues within the park are tree lined with individual plaques dedicated by family members to Western Australian service men and women who died in various wars including WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam.  1800 servicemen and women who died during war service are honoured here.

The Dawn Service at Kings Park on ANZAC Day every April 25 is not to be missed. But get up very early as it attracts big crowds.

Kings Park was officially opened in 1895. It was originally called Perth Park, but was renamed Kings Park in 1901.  Two thirds of the park is protected as natural bushland and provides a haven for native biological diversity.

You can grow Western Australian wildflowers in your home garden. Some do quite well with the right care. But somehow, never quite as magnificently as in the wild. I am always amazed at landscapes covered in wildflowers in season that just spring up by themselves.

This year Western Australia has had a very wet winter, and the benefit of that is a bumper crop of wildflowers in all regions of the State.

In my own region – the South West of WA – I’m already on the lookout for wild orchids. Western Australia has more than 460 named species of orchid, and it’s believed there are at least another 100 that haven’t been named.

September and October are always big months for my camera as I search out wildflowers in the Western Australian Great Southern and South West regions. You can take wildflower tours and visit regional wildflower festivals.

One of the best I’ve been to is the annual Ravensthorpe Wildflower show held every September. This is a remote area of Western Australia near the far South Coast, but it’s worth making the effort. The region includes the world class Fitzgerald River National Park and the unique Ravensthorpe Range hosting around 20 per cent of Western Australia’s wildflowers. About 700 species usually feature. The town has festival displays and workshops, but the best approach is to get out into the bush in the area and hunt out the wildflowers for your camera or just to enjoy – there’s such an abundance that you really can’t miss!

The Festival has ‘walks with a ranger’, small bus tours and tag along vehicle tours. I’ve done the tag along in our 4WD. It was fabulous and worth the small price charged to take part. Special tag along tours for 2WD are also held.

If you are currently in Western Australia, then watch out for our superb wildflowers through to November.

If not – then put Western Australia’s wildflower seasons in your post Covid bucket list – I promise it’s a star studded show by nature to enjoy at least once in your life!

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