Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pink, white, vermillion - a day of visual contrasts.

In a day of visual contrasts, the main street of Robertson was coated in pink snow (fallen petals of the Cherry Trees). By contrast, the road to the Cemetery was graced with lovely white blossoms of Clematis, as well as the sweet-smelling Orange-blossom Orchids, and then, at sunset, we had brilliant orange-vermillion sunset.

The Orange-blossom Orchids, which I had taken somewhat for granted here, are highly regarded by the Illawarra Orchid enthusiasts from ANOS. They tell me these are a very good form of this species. Their flowers are larger than those found down on the coast, apparently. I did not know that, until I showed some of the local plants to a friend last year, and he got very excited by them. As with most epiphytic Orchids, they are somewhat difficult to see up close. Fortunately these are in a position where one can clamber up an earth bank beside the host tree (a Blackwood Wattle) and reach the camera over as close as one can go, without overbalancing, and then hope that the auto-focus settings on the camera work properly.

All in all, this was a pretty good result. More nimble photographers would simply climb the tree – but I am not up for that.
The very first time I saw this species in flower it was at the very top of a dead Blackwood, a huge tree, on the edge of the Nature Reserve. At least these flowers are a bit more accessible.

The Labellum of this Orchid is somewhat “slipper-shaped” in the manner of the familiar florist Orchids. But these plants have lovely detailing of deep tan stripes, against a yellow patch on the labellum. They also have a wash of purple on the petals. These details are barely visible unless one gets close to the flowers. Brilliant sunsets always fascinate me. At this time of year, the sun sets out in the open, (not behind a tree) when viewed from my kitchen window or from my back deck. The intensity of the colour deepened just after the sun set below the horizon, as it reflected its rays off the clouds.
The end of a day of colourful contrasts.


mick said...

A great description of the color contrasts. The orchids sound especially beautiful.

Mosura said...

That epiphytic orchid looks a real beauty. Seems to be doing well too the way it sprawling over the branches.

roentarre said...

You are a true biologist. Such a beautiful series of ambient nature

Gouldiae said...

Beautiful Denis. Love the orchids, and you did well getting those shots of them. Your "...end of a day of colourful contrasts" has provided me with a nice start to my day, thanks.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks for the comments, folks.

We now know Gouldiae starts his day early on the computer. Happy to help add some colour.

I should have explained that the Orchid is a weak grower, and that it is surviving amongast a mass of "Rock Felt Fern" which covers the trunks of old Blackwoods. It has weak white roots about 6 inches long, only. The ferns help trap moisture in which the roots of the Orchids grow.

It is a very nice plant, but does not dominate trees the way some of the related Epiphytes do with SheOaks around Jervis Bay, and Kangaroo Valley.


Anonymous said...

Lovely photos Dad. I mean it. Very good work.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Zo.
Nice to have your comment.