The secret stories of bush plants

Posted on August 11, 2014


When I was a child one of my favourite stories was a beautiful little picture book that that told tales of the fairies of the Australian bush.  It was one of my favourites because these flower fairies reflected the plants I saw, smelt and touched on our family’s farm. They weren’t fairies draped in dainty cherry blossoms and gossamer from English brooks, they were decked out in hues of grey and pale greens,  wearing warrior costumes of gumnuts and bottlebrushes, dancing across desert landscapes and lush rainforests.

Being isolated on a continent, Australian plants are as unique as our animals, and just as hardy, beautiful and and resilient. They weren’t always appreciated as such in modern times – in his book, The Australian Ugliness (1960), Robin Boyd wrote that many people regarded even eucalypts and acacias as ‘primitive landscape and elements – unfamiliar, strangely primeval – which must be eradicated from the home environment’.

I couldn’t disagree more.

I’ve been obsessed with Australian plants for as long as I can remember. On one family holiday I collected all the rocks and leaves I could find and made them into a display for other guests to view. Nowadays I resist the temptation to pocket everything I find (though I still have a collection of rocks and leaves in an old tin box on the farm) and I rely on the power of my camera lens to capture the stories of the plant world and take photographs of the plants that hide just out of eyesight. I still imagine there are fairies nearby.

Here are some of my favourites from my wanderings:

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Posted in: Photography