On the move again, we headed northeast from Albany, bound for the Stirling Range. These low, rolling mountains are the location of flowers that are astonishing even for this astonishing corner of Australia. Here, there are flowers that grow nowhere else—some of which, in fact, won’t grow anywhere else. One species, the Darwinias, or Stirling bells, are so specialized that each variety of the species has its own specific mountain in the Stirlings.
But it is not just the rarity of the flowers that is remarkable—it is the abundance. The flowers spread in unbroken blankets for miles around us, on all sides. In places, they were waist deep, and in others, they actually reached overhead. The scarlet Banksias (see the Oct. 22, 2008 post for more on Banksias, including a photo of the scarlet Banksias) were present in stunning numbers—miles and miles of them. Color undulated in waves across the landscape, breaking at the foot of the dark mountains. It was intoxicating.
All the flowers delighted me, but the one I thought I’d share with you today is the smokebush. The puffs and clusters of smokebush shimmered amid the dense, dark foliage surrounding me. The smokebush I was admiring was the Conospermum distichum variety, which grows to about three feet in height and has fuzzy, blue-gray flowers that don’t look much like flowers.