Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas Bells arrive early at Barren Grounds

One of my Facebook friends, Caroline, asked me for some "Pretties" yesterday. So I promised to show her these wonderful Christmas Bells which I found at the Barren Grounds yesterday.
These Christmas Bells are the species Blandfordia nobilis.

I was pleased to be able to show these plants to my friend Pi-Wei, on a brief, late afternoon excursion. This gave her a chance to see some of the local plants in flower in nature, as distinct from in botanical artworks on her walls in the Gallery. There is a certain vibrancy in Nature which is impossible to capture in art (no matter how fine it may be), or photography - try as we might.
Christmas Bells Blandfordia nobilis

Close-up view of Blandfordia nobilis

Christmas Bells in situ - wet heath at the Barren Grounds
The habitat will also seem familiar habitat for Mick, as it is as close as we get to the "Wallum" habitat in her part of the world. Except that our wet heathland is on top of the Escarpment, at 600 metres. But it is a very high rainfall area, over a sandstone plateau. The Queensland "Wallum" country is, I believe, typically, coastal heathlands.
 This shot shows the range of micro-habitats here.
There is Epacris heaths in the foreground,
A large clump of Banksia ericifolia in mid-ground
then "Button Grass in the gully, then
as the soil rises in the distance, Eucalypts start, 
where the soil gets better drainage.
Habitat shot of wet heathland at Barren Grounds

Thelionema umbellatum - the Lemon Flax Lily

This is one of the prolific Boronias which flower at the Barren Grounds
and nearby Budderoo Plateau.
This one is a wet heath specialist.
Boronia thujona is found over shallow rock beds in the Barren Grounds.
It grows quite tall, (twice as tall as this plant)
and has pinnate leaves, 
which have a strong pungent odour when crushed.
Boronia barkeriana
  The lovely Round Leaf Tea Tree Leptospermum rotundifolium
This plant has large, soft pink flowers.
Very common on the sandstone heathlands and a prolific flowerer.
One of the loveliest plants on the heathlands.
Leptospermum rotundifolium
 This is the Pink Swamp Heath, Sprengelia incarnata
Sprengelia incarnata
And finally, to show one of my own favourite cultivated (garden) plants, the lovely "Duchesse de Nemours" herbaceous Peony. It is a Paeonia lactiflora variety. It has an exquisite scent.
White Peony - Duchesse de Nemours - a sweetly perfumed flower
I hope that there are enough "Pretties" for Caroline in this posting.


mick said...

Very beautiful "pretties" and I can never have too much of them! Thanks for the habitat photo. It does look similar to the wallum country up here. The only thing I don't see is any hakea - or am I not looking closely enough. Those Christmas Bells are very early. I haven't seen any around here yet but maybe haven't looked closely enough - plus a lot of the bush immediately around the town was burnt just recently.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick.
You are spot on with your observation.
I didn't have a wide angle lens with me, so my photo missed the Hakea.
The main one out there is the "Dagger Hakea", a really nasty beast. H. teretifolia.
Yes, this Christmas Bell is really early for this area. Often they don't flower here, till mid-January.

Miss Eagle said...

Lovely Denis. Denis, when I lived in Sydney I would see Christmas Bells everywhere. In Melbourne, I don't see them as much. Is there a reason.

BTW, love that peony at the top of the blog. Fantastic! It looks only an nth away from a painting. You were cooking with gas the day you took that one.

Le Loup said...

Good one, lovely. Thank you.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Brigid
Christmas Bells are restricted to certain habitats.
These ones are close to their southern range.
They then stretch north into Southern Queensland.
Victoria misses out, unfortunately.
But they have other nice plants instead.
I suspect the plants you called "Christmas Bells" (from Sydney) were something else - a weedy plant called Mother of Millions
That is a succulent plant with plastic-like leaves, and it grows on rocks and out of cracks in footpaths, etc.
The flower shape and colour is similar, but they are not related - simply Nature repeating a flower shape which is successful.
Thanks for the comments on the Peony on the masthead.
The plant's beauty deserves the praise (in this case a human "breeder" was involved).
But I'm glad you like it.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Keith.
Glad you liked it.

ValeriaVine said...

Such a wonderful time of year to see all the pretties out in their glory! Loved the stroll in Barren Grounds, a real eye opener. Thanks for taking me along!

Denis Wilson said...

Valeria Vine is always welcome to accompany me on strolls like that.

Snail said...

Christmas bells are the best sort of Xmas decorations. Gorgeous plants!

Denis Wilson said...

I agree, Bronwen.
But only out in the Bush.
No picking!