Collecting our plants in Menindee

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One of the delights of the Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Project is going out into the field to find our plants. The habitat here, in the arid areas of outback New South Wales, always looks so desolate. Driving along in the car all you see are salt bushes, Sennas and sometimes the white bobbing heads of daisies. 


As soon as you step a few metres away from the car you see a different world. Tucked away are little plants. Some are pretty like the blue wahlenbergias, some are stunning like the patches of Sturt Desert Pea. There can be swathes of purple swainsonia or poached egg daisies. 


There are many that you wouldn’t look twice at, or think they may be weeds, only to find out that they are little treasures. Believe it or not, this little one, nestled in the takeaway coffee cup, is actually a daisy.


So looking takes time. We wander around, with our heads down, admiring, wondering and identifying.


Then we take samples so that we can identifying the plants correctly in the hall. (We have permission to collect, and we collect according to strict herbarium guidelines, including only taking 10% of the population in the local environ.)

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17 Comments Add yours

  1. katechiconi says:

    What a vivid blue that bagged flower is. Do you get flannel flowers there? One of my very favourites, and perhaps a bit difficult to capture its texture…

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    1. anne54 says:

      The blue flower is a wahlenbergia. They are daintly little things, but quite prolific. No flannel flowers, but there are different sorts of paper daisies, like the poached egg daisy – White with a vivid yellow centre. These daisies hadn’t come up when we were there, but lots of the button types.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. anne54 says:

      Thanks Marina. Do you find the same thing in the Greek environment, where the more you look, the more you see?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. M. L. Kappa says:

        Yes, it’s true. Little treasures everywhere, If you look for them.

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  2. ladyredspecs says:

    So true that you need to walk eyes down to seen the rich diversity and beauty of our arid land. Fabulous project Ann

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    1. anne54 says:

      If it wasn’t for this project, Sandra, I wouldn’t have learnt about how much diversity there is just beyond the car. It has been a fabulous project in so many different ways. And our exhibition will be happening February 2018 at the Ballarat Art Gallery.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ladyredspecs says:

        I was a reluctant grey nomad who became passionate about our remote areas oxff the well beaten track..

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  3. acflory says:

    What a strange contrast. I guess in our harsh climate/soil, beauty can only survive in small, hidden spots.

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    1. anne54 says:

      They are so good at taking any opportunity to grow, and have their own micro habitats. One of the plants I have painted grows prolifically on flat open areas and yet another of the same species loves the more sandy banks.

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      1. acflory says:

        Pretty amazing. I’m learning things I never knew!

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  4. An excellent project

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    1. anne54 says:

      Thank you! It has grown out of quite humble beginnings, and we feel now that we have contributed a little to the current understanding of plants in the area. And, as I said before, we are working to our exhibition in February 2018!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. cedar51 says:

    what an interesting place…and yes as you drive by, you see absolutely nothing; but then you show what treasures are sheltering and flourishing within the harsh but protective bush…

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    1. anne54 says:

      Yes, like so many things….it is a matter of stopping and taking the time to look. The National Park has different treasures, but unfortunately it was too wet to get in there this year. The roads were closed.

      Like

  6. What fun, Anne, looking for treasures in the otherwise desolate outback. And I know what beautiful art will appear at the end of your pencil or brush.

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  7. Lois says:

    What a fascinating project!

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