Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wattle Day 2009

I have previously posted about "Wattle Day" as 1 September (or 1 August for Queenslanders).

Today I shall publish some images of four of the six wattles which are in flower on my property today. Today's images are all "cultivated" species - which are readily available at commercial nurseries, especially those which specialise in Australian Native Plants. These plants are regarded as "screening plants" (not trees) and can easily be trimmed to shape with a "Long-handled Pruner" (or "Lopper") Such a tool can be bought economically from Nurseries, hardware stores, etc. Beware cheap, weak-handled devices, though.

These are all "shrubby Wattles" not trees, and not ones liable to grow too quickly, then die out in a few years. That is a feature which annoys many people who plant inappropriate species of Acacias.

Acacia pravissima - the Wedge-leaved Wattle, or Ovens River Wattle..
Here are some leaves and buds
Here is a spray of buds - which will open soon.
I like this local plant, which grows wild around Mittagong.
It has very narrow leaves (phyllodes).
I believe this is Acacia elongata
The flowers are bright golden balls, but they are spaced along the stem.
Here are the flowers - up close.
This is a wonderful garden variety
Acacia fimbriata variety "dwarf"
Dense sprays of flowers are a feature of this variety.

This year, I shall settle for republishing something Peter Garrett has published today to celebrate Wattle Day, 21 years after the Golden Wattle was officially declared to be Australia's National Flower - which happened on Wattle Day, 1 September 1988.

The history of the event is interesting, as is the association with Hiroshima, of which I was not aware.


Environment and Heritage Minister Peter Garrett today led celebrations marking the 21st anniversary of the declaration of the golden wattle as Australia’s official national flower.

At the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, Mr Garrett joined former Governor–General Sir William Deane to open a new exhibition Celebrate Our Wattle. The exhibition documents the place of wattle in Australian art, botany, history and culture, with a particular focus on the use of wattle by Indigenous Australians.

“Twenty-one years ago today, Mrs Hazel Hawke planted a golden wattle in these national botanic gardens, proclaiming the wattle Australia’s national floral emblem,” Mr Garrett said.

“The wattle has long been valued by Indigenous Australians and it has been part of Australia’s identity ever since Sydney first declared Wattle Day on the first day of spring in 1901.

“After Prime Minister Andrew Fisher incorporated the wattle into our Coat of Arms, it soon became a symbol of remembrance with Australian mothers sending small sprigs to their sons serving overseas in World War 1 to remind them of home.

“It has been a poignant symbol of loss and respect at ceremonies mourning the young Australians who died in the Swiss canyon disaster and later, the victims of the Bali bombing.

“The wattle features on our highest national ward, the Order of Australia, and the green and gold have been our official national colours since 1984.”

It is said that a wattle was the first plant to bloom in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was detonated in 1945. To mark National Wattle Day, Hiroshima’s Acacia Appreciation Society sends the Gardens hundreds of yellow ribbons as a gesture of friendship. Visitors are encouraged to take ribbons home and attach them to their favourite trees.

The Celebrate Our Wattle exhibition features an embroidered sculpture of golden wattle, commissioned by the Friends of the Gardens and created by embroiderer Lynne Stone, who lost her home in the devastating Marysville fire in February this year.

“The original sculpture Lynne was working on was destroyed in that terrible fire, along with most of her possessions, so her beautiful golden wattle sculpture is a moving symbol of loss and recovery,” Mr Garrett said.

Celebrate Our Wattle runs at the Australian National Botanic Gardens until 11 October.
For more information visit

Back to my Blogging - for the botanically minded, the Golden Wattle is Acacia pycnantha.

Here is another plant, which unfortunately, I do not have the species name for, any longer.Here is the bush seen against a background of a neighbour's Cypress tree. This plant is growing on a raised bank of soil. It is only about 2.5 metres tall.
I bought all today's plants at Wariapendi Nursery, at Colo Vale, north of Mittagong.


mick said...

I love the smell of the wattles as it drifts through the bush - or though the garden. Lovely photos and very interesting history. I didn't realize that the national recognition of the day came so recently. My dad (from NSW) used to remind us of wattle day all our lives.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Yes, Wattle Day has been around for a long time (1901 in fact).
But it did not have any significance, or status, that's all.
But how could we ignore our glorious flowers? And their perfume? - which you mentioned.

Gouldiae said...

Good One Denis,
Great plants, always a delight to see, and such a variety. Great fertilisers too, with their nitrogen fixing abilities. I must attempt to identify some of the varieties on the golf course.

Mark Young said...

Winter time looks great when the Acacias are in bloom. The Parkway looks great at the moment with all the Acacias lining the road.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Gouldiae and Mark
Yes, we are all "suckers" for our Spring Wattles aren't we?
Somehow, the ones which flower in summer and autumn do not have the same impact.