Category Archives: Flowers

The Flowers That Bloom

Flowers copy

Excerpt from ‘Where To Spend The Weekend: Berowra Park’, The Sunday Sun, Nov 27, 1910

Berowra has long been known for it’s beauty as a holiday spot and for it’s natural tranquility. There is one other aspect of our beautiful area which has quite a claim to fame though – the spectacular floral displays put on by the bush as Spring arrives. Today, people travel to our area to view the amazing wild flowers which thrive in our bushland surrounds, but this is certainly no new phenomenon. As the article above, from The Sunday Sun in 1910 shows, even a century ago, our floral displays were quite the attraction!

To view the entire article, visit Trove

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Christmas Bush Collecting In The 1800s

The 2 illustrations presented here are the work of Arthur Collingridge.He was a Painter and Illustrator (1879-1901) of Australian Scenes. Arthur was a founding member of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales, along with brother George Collingridge.

Christmas bush 1

‘Christmas Bushes’, the first image appeared in The Sydney Mail (NSW1871-1912) December 23,1882. Accompanied by a Francis Myer’s poem  Christmas Bushes -A Reverie . . . here is a brief extract:

The dear old Christmas bushes
With rose tips for the time,
When the Christmas bells are ringing
In the summer’s golden prime.
The long blue mist-wreathed vistas
In the evening’s dying gleam,
And the Christmas bushes trailing
Along the shining stream…

Christmas bush 2

‘Christmas Bush’, the second image appeared in The Illustrated Sydney News Christmas Issue on December 25,1886.

Clearly Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum) has always been very popular and ‘is at this season of the year in glorious blossom’.

Robyn

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Christmas Bush Around Berowra

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As the year comes to an end and the weather becomes warm the bush around Berowra comes alive with colour. Berowra has long been known for its amazing floral displays and at this time of the year, with Christmas approaching there are a number of plants which were once harvested by residents and visitors alike to festoon their festive tables and of course decorate their homes.

In the past, Berowra Living History has focussed on the beautiful Christmas Bells which flower among the rocks in the local bush, but this is not the only flower associated with Christmas to attract early flora hunters to Berowra. Christmas Bush, which flowers abundantly with bright red, star shaped flowers is another. The flowers, which begin as white blooms and darken to red as they reach maturity were perfect for Australians who wanted to bring a touch of nature inside as they might once have done with Holly and Evergreen. As a result there was a booming trade in collecting Christmas Bush for sale in the Sydney markets, often in arrangements with bracken fern. Both bracken and Christmas Bush were available in abundance in the Berowra area and many visitors departed with armfuls to take back to their homes.

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Christmas Bells Are Ringing In Berowra

Blandfordia  grandiflora (Christmas Bell)

Blandfordia grandiflora (Christmas Bell)

Christmas is fast approaching and it brings with it much joy, expectation and happiness.

There is always a special excitement about finding these quaint red and yellow-orange bell shaped flowers in the wild. The bells hang down in clusters of 3-10 pivoting on top of a tall straight stem, as they gently nod in the breeze. Their brilliant colours contrast with the surrounding green foliage.

Yes Christmas Bells can still be sighted in the bush around Berowra. They prefer damp, protected positions. They were once a common sight along the roadside between the Central Coast and the Kuring-gai  Chase area. Unfortunately numbers have been reduced by indiscriminate picking. The Berowra area was well known for its magnificent variety of wildflowers including the delightful Christmas Bells. Margaret Preston had a great love for the local Berowra wildflowers as depicted in her art work.

My Grandfather and family lived right on the edge of Kuring-gai Chase up until 1912. I recall he used to tell us how they would collect bunches of Christmas Bells and Christmas Bush from the local bushland

(Kuring-gai Chase) at Christmas time and take them to the City Markets to sell. How times have changed!

Now days, Christmas Bells are a protected native species.  Many native wildflowers, namely Christmas Bells, are grown commercially and exported or sold locally. Today we have National Parks and other areas set aside for the preservation of native fauna and flora eg. Muogamarra Nature Reserve.

Christmas Bells belong to the Family : Liliaceae   The species that can be found locally are –

Blandfordia grandiflora  and  Blandfordia nobilis. With grandiflora the flowers are larger and spread into a bell shape whereas with nobilis flowers are smaller and more cylindrical. Both have 3 petals and 3 sepals.

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PHOTOS are taken in the bushland around Berowra and Berowra Heights. Most plants are off the beaten track and in a well-protected position eg. in a rock crevice or next to a sandstone wall.

LOOK but don’t touch!

Rosyln Mort

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Scenic Berowra Waters

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This C1940’s photograph of Berowra Waters shows the very tranquil scene of yesteryear.

Rob's BW pict 007

By comparison this 2013 photograph of Berowra Waters indicates the popularity of this area today.

How many changes can you see between the 2 photographs?

Do you have any stories about good times at Berowra Waters to share with us?

Robyn

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Preston’s Banksia

A local banksia

Artists often require complex and rarefied ‘zones’ or spaces to enact the creative process. At Berowra during the 1930s Margaret Preston, surrounded by a spectacular bushland setting on the Preston’s 11 acre property, found those spaces. By all accounts Margaret would visit, often spending hours at the site of a very old Banksia tree. Here Margaret found the ‘space’ in the presence of this majestic Banksia which lived in a remote part of the Preston’s property, spending hours in quiet contemplation. In fact, in some of Margaret’s most influential woodblock prints of this period, the Banksia tree is depicted as a spiritual presence, lifting and branching upwards against the darkness of a twilight sky. The print titled ‘Banksia Tree’ in relief, produced in 1939, the last year of her stay in Berowra, still remains an awe-inspiring work.

Rhonda

Detail of a banksia tree – an original that once grew
on Prestons property

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Rhapsody Of The Flowers

One of the most spectacular things about Berowra from late August throughout Spring and into Summer is the colourful show the local bush stages. Berowra is known for its spectacular wildflowers, massed along fire trails, sweeping up valleys and spilling over into local yards. With colours ranging from yellow and white to pink and blue the bush around Berowra is a truly beautiful place to visit. Yet according to our interviewees, what we see today is only an echo of the flowers which were once found in the area.

Local resident Bill Foster remembers:

Elissa

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