Thursday, 1 July 2010

Winter blooms and a Yellow Robin

Winter has definitely arrived in Canberra now, each morning is crisp and frosty.  However, there are still some flowers hanging on in the gardens, in fact, some are just coming into bloom!  In particular, some of the Acacias or Wattles are starting to bud, and some even to flower. 
Unfortunately there was no label on this Acacia, it looked magical bursting into bloom whilst much of the garden appears to be sleeping.  This Snowy River Wattle Acacia boormanii was at an earlier stage, with buds appearing.
The acacia foliage can differ quite strikingly, looking like very different plants to the non-expert like me.  A number of Acacia develop modified flat leaf-like structures called phyllodes (which are simply flattened stems).  A few species lack true leaves or phyllodes altogether and in these plants cladodes (which are simply modified stems) function as the leaves.  Here is an example of one such Acacia with phyllodes, the creeping shrub-like Acacia pravissima or Kuranga cascade as it is called in the gardens, though may also be called Oven(s) Wattle, Wedge-leaf Wattle or Tumut Wattle. 
This is an example of one with cladodes (though I don't know the name of it I'm afraid)
There are some other bursts of colour around the garden too, including these beautiful bell-like red flowers I found in the Sydney region flora section, as well as these gorgeous tiny little purple flowers that I think might possibly be a kind of Shaggy Pea Fabaceae Podolobium?!  It resembles the Hovea linearis but was growing very close to the ground with highly clustered flowers.
As I was photographing the suspected Shaggy Peas I heard a noise and looked up to see an extremely cute and fluffy Eastern Yellow Robin watching me.  I hoped he would stay long enough for a photo and he did - in fact I got a couple of great photos of him I'm really proud of, what a cutie!