I love a good pinata.
Many years ago in another life I led my students through a study of the country of Mexico. To celebrate the end of that unit of study we made a pinata and filled it with sweets, as tradition dictates. We had a glorious time.
But what is this wonderful pinata doing hanging around in the picnic area of the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens in St Ives in Sydney? On our visit there earlier this year we had just been on a walk along one of the trails when we came across this wonderfully coloured creature just hanging around. Not another person in sight – but we heard them.
All around this pinata were the remnants of a children’s birthday party. Baskets, food, party hats, wrapping paper, drinks and much more – and in the distance we could hear a group of excited children moving through the nearby bush. The local ranger was leading them on a discovery tour of the gardens which I gather is quite a popular event. (Details and bookings here.) They even cater for camp-fires and a spotlight prowl at night. Wonderful.
I have added another photo below. It is a banksia flower which I took nearby. It has nothing to do with the party, the children or the pinata. I just wanted to share it.
If you look back over the last week or so on this site you will see more photos of flowers I took on this visit.
I took this photo of the bark of a scribbly gum during a walk we did in the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens earlier this year. Whenever we visit this park I am fascinated by the intricate patterns on the bark of these trees. They look like someone has taken a pen and scribbled all over the bark on the trunk, hence the name. The trees are quite common in the Sydney region.
The term ‘scribbly gum’ can refer to several species of eucalypt trees, but this one is probably the Eucalyptus haemastoma. The markings are caused by the larval form of the scribbly gum moth tunnelling through the bark.
On our walk in the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens in St Ives, Sydney earlier this year we came across a number of hakea plants in flower. I have shown one of the flowers in the photos above. I failed to ask my wife if she knew the actual botanical name and as I write this she is not at home for the morning. So, being resourceful, I did a little research online and came to the conclusion that it is Hakea propinqua.
Then I had another look at the photos I took on the day.
Doh. I had actually taken a photo of the name plaque under the tree! (See photo below)
In other photos below I show the fruit and more flowers of this attractive bush. This particular specimen could almost be called a tree as it was 4 – 5 metres tall.
On our visit earlier this year to the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens in St Ives in Sydney we were delighted to see a new visitor and information centre near the entrance. After having a picnic lunch we spent a while in the new centre before going on a walk along one of the many walking trails in this park.
The visitor centre (see photo below) houses information about the gardens including posters and guides detailing what can be seen in the gardens. They also have a selection of books and other materials for sale. In an adjacent section the local Australian Plants Society has a small range of plants for sale. They also maintain and update regularly a display of what plants are currently in flower (see second photo below). This always interest my wife who has a keen interest in Australian plants. She even has a small nursery (and a website here about growing Australian plants).
A few days ago I shared some photos of wildflowers taken in the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens. Today I am sharing a few more. These gardens are in St Ives just off the Mona Vale Road in the northern parts of the Sydney. On quite a few occasions in recent years my wife and I have visited this lovely spot because it is only about a half hour drive from my son’s home. My wife enjoys seeing what wildflowers are out and I enjoy doing a spot of photography and bird watching. It is also a great place to have a picnic, barbecue or just stroll in the bushland.
While a small part of the gardens has been planted by the local council and other interest groups, the main part of the gardens consists of natural bushland. This is one of the things I find fascinating about the natural environment in many parts of Sydney. It is comparatively easy to find large sections of natural bushland right next to intensive housing or industrial areas. In many places the natural ruggedness of the bushland does not lend itself easily to building homes, and in other areas large portions have been preserved in national parks for everyone to enjoy.