The name gives it away. Megaherbs are particularly large herbs. 'Carrots', 'cabbages' and giant diasies up to 1.5 meters tall with big, colourful flowerheads and leaves the size of dinner plates. They are only found on a handful of islands south of New Zealand in the middle of the Southern Ocean, in a zone between the temperate and the Antarctic. The sub-Antarctic. Here, extreme temperatures are not the main problem: rather, the near-constant wind, rain and general cloudiness make it challenging for both the plants and their pollinators.
On our first morning, we awoke close to the Snares, with hopes of a zodiac cruise and Snares Crested Penguins. But 60 knot winds left that idea dead in the water. Instead, we headed onwards toward Auckland Island...
Fast foward 24 hours and we awoke to complete calm: the sun was rising, the wind was still, the waters of Ross Harbour were smooth, and everyone was smiling. It was going to be a good day.
This week, from the 12th to the 19th of November, is Australian Pollinator Week. It was created to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and of the recent declines in insect abundance. Say g'day to an insect, plant a flowering shrub, and don't use pesticides, and the indispensable insects may just survive.
Ahhh fieldwork. It never goes according to plan. But, finally, my field season has come to an end and its time to put aside the 4WD, camping equipment and car fridge, and actually unpack the bags which have been moving between the car and house since May.
Tozers Bush Camp is a wonderful little patch of bush, surrounded by farmland, on the road to Bremer Bay. We were drawn to visit the place because of their now-famous orchid tours including the highly sought-after Queen of Sheba, Thelymitra speciosa, which we saw. But the place is so much more than a couple of admittedly spectacular orchids. We were so taken by the place that I've dedicated a whole blog post to highlight some of the wonderful flowers that we saw when were there in late August this year.
I've never written a review of a camera or lens before, but I've been asked by many people what I thought of this lens since getting it, so I thought it was worth putting fingers to keyboard and getting some of my thoughts out there.
It is entirely possible that each time I go to WA I will come back with a new favourite Banksia. This August, Ali and I discovered the gaudy, eye-watering colours of Banksia coccinea, the aptly named scarlet Banksia.
Its been a while since my last blog post. Almost a month, in fact. I think I've been waiting for a theme or an idea to explore, but in the meantime I've been accumulating plenty of images that I want to share. So, a blog post with odds and ends from here (mostly Perth) and there (one from Canberra), all taken over the last month or so. Ming Thein calls these kinds of posts 'singles' on his thought-provoking blog.
A month or two ago I wrote a blog post about how beautiful Banksias are. Last month I was in Perth doing fieldwork and saw some even more beautiful Banksias. I just had to write another blog post about my new favourite plant, Banksia menziesii.
Banksia flowers are actually hundreds of tiny flowers grouped together. As the Banksia 'candles' age, they form multiple hard, woody fruits known as follicles. These hard woody fruits act as a protection for the seeds inside. In many species, the follicles are so tough that they require fire to break them open, and release the seeds. Many Banksias flower during autumn and winter, often at a time when not much else is flowering.