Australian National Botanic Gardens

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In Flower This Week

A weekly news-sheet prepared by a Gardens volunteer
Numbers in brackets [ ] refer to garden bed 'Sections'.

4 April 1997

Banksias, correas and croweas are all flowering and this walk will concentrate mostly on the first of these. However a most pleasant garden to see is one in the carpark where a tussock-forming grass, Pennisetum alopecuroides [Section 168] with narrow, arching leaves and long, erect stems bearing heads of feathery purplish flowers, shares the garden bed with white and yellow straw daisies, Bracteantha bracteata [Section 168] and small, soft lavender daisies, Brachyscome species [Section 168].

In front of the cafe building see Crowea `Festival' [Section 131] aglow with pink star flowers and nearby Crowea `Pink Blush' [Seaction 131] bearing white, with a dash of pink, flowers. At the end of the building Banksia spinulosa var. spinulosa [Section 131], Hairpin Banksia, has fine, short leaves and bright golden flower-heads. A similar shrub nearby has flowers ribbed with purplish-black styles. When viewing the banksias notice the diversity of leaf shape, the varying colours of the flower-heads and whether the seeds are retained in the fruit cases. Banksia integrifolia var. integrifolia [Section 143] is tall and slim with pale yellow flower-heads blending with the silver-backed leaves. Banksia ericifolia var. ericifolia [Section 143] is a 30-year-old shrub laden with old, grey cones and also illuminated with large orange-red flower-heads. Banksia robur [Section 13] Swamp Banksia, near the rippling stream, has large leathery leaves and flower-heads shaded deep green when immature, changing through shades of green to cream then to a lovely chocolate colour.

Callistemon citrinus `Austraflora Firebrand' [Section 32] is eye-catching with arching branches holding brilliant red bottlebrush flowers. Banksia aemula [Section 32] is a dense, spreading shrub with squat silky, greenish-yellow flower-heads. Note the large, charcoal-coloured fruit cases in the grey cones. Banksia conferta var. conferta [Section 28] is a small tree with small flower-heads varying in shades from a pinkish-brown to lemon. Callistemon species [Section 33], beside the roadway, looks stunning with arching branches laden with fiery red bottlebrush flowers dusted with lemon. In the distance Banksia integrifolia var. compar [Section 27] glows with lime green flower-spikes among dull green, silver-backed leaves.

Banksias are a great source of nectar for birds. Today colourful Eastern Spinebills, New Holland Honeyeaters and Red Wattlebirds are enjoying the nectar. Also the tiny blue Supurb Fairy Wrens are scratching about the soil litter for small morsels and a family of shiny black choughs are strutting about their acreage.

Time now to see, in the Sydney Flora area, Blandfordia grandiflora [Section 191] with large bell-like flowers of orange-red tipped yellow, known as the Christmas Bell. There is just one plant still in flower.

Great place ...

Barbara Daly.

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