Sunday, 14 October 2007

Cemetery visit

There was a time when the only, apart from the obvious, reason I went into a cemetery was for family history research. I've spent a lot of time in cemeteries, checking out the headstones and burial places of my ancestors, transcribing headstones for databases, leading guided cemetery walks.
My fellow genealogists laughed at me when I occasionally took my binoculars to country cemeteries to observe interesting birds, but I never really noticed what was underfoot until after I became aware of the plant world (as opposed to the bird world). Then it gradually dawned on me that country cemeteries are often little remnants of what the vegetation used to be like in a particular district. They haven't been ploughed and planted with crops of grasses, they are usually far bigger than necessary for their designated business, they are slashed occasionally and that suits the Australian herbs and grasses. Neglect has been the perfect management tool. Now when I visit a cemetery I am more often there to look at the vegetation than for any other purpose.
Today I went to the Anakie Wildflower Show, a good display of the huge range of plants that grow in the Brisbane Ranges north-east of Geelong. With time to spare I, and many other visitors, decided to check out some of the wildflowers on tracks and roadsides. Almost the whole of the Brisbane Ranges has been burnt in the last couple of summers but the wildflowers have responded well. Many of the peas were flowering, as well as daisies, lomandras, orchids, bluebells – the bush was putting on a show.

Golden Grevillea

Then I went to the Steiglitz Cemetery. The fires missed this area and it has always been worth a visit. Today I found the lovely Golden Grevillea Grevillea chrysophaea flowering, Flying Duck Orchids, the pink-flowering Heath Teatree (growing along the ground because of the slashing), Many-flowered Mat-rush Lomandra multiflora, Tiny Drosera Drosera pygmaea, Bent Goodenia Goodenia geniculata and the white flowers of Blunt Everlastings Argentipallium obtusifolium.

Flying Duck Orchid

Tiny Drosera

Blunt Everlasting

Bent Goodenia

1 comment:

Duncan said...

Our cemetery has put on a great show this year too, the old country graveyards are certainly among the last places to see the vanishing grassland flora.