Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I have gotten several questions about waratahs, especially from people who live outside Australia who have never seen or heard of them. Before I moved here, I hadn't either. I am offering a selection of three photos of these lovely native Aussie flowers. I will be starting a new waratahs painting, so I have these photos out anyhow, looking to decide which of them will be a reference for the new painting.

Waratahs are great subjects for a painting, or for an arrangement. They have a structural quality and they are very striking. With a very characteristic shape not shared by many other flowers, they are very distinctive. Like many native flowers here, they are a long lasting cut bloom and also long lasting on their plant. They bloom just once a year, but are so spectacular, it is worth the one season a year wait for their blooms.

Waratahs are traditional in red but as you see they do come in white and also pink. The red one on the right is Telopea speciosissima and belongs to the Proteaceae family of plants. It is a floral emblem of the state of New South Wales and it features on many emblems and logos in stylised form. The ones in the mixed color arrangement above that look pale green are probably considered "white". Waratah hybrid varieties now also come in yellow, but I haven't seen that sort yet. There is a native white form that is considered a bit rare. They are hybridised too, as the white one shown below here (which is from my garden).

Another traditional Aussie native flower here are flannel flowers. A very delicate flower with a star shape of a creamy warm white on a grey green foliage plant. The come into bloom in October to December. Here in my garden to bloomed about a week ago, so a bit early due to the warm winter we had. I will have to post how they look now en masse blooming in another post. They got red dust on them from recent dust storms, so I need to let them get rinsed in rain we expect this weekend, or when I next water them...then I can photograph them ! But here is one.

Waratahs and flannel flowers are notoriously difficult to grow in many gardens. I am lucky they both seem to like this area :)

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