Camden Haven’s Kattang Nature Reserve is full of flowers right now, but they are not the expected wildflowers of Spring, and they are mostly seen looking up.
Like this Casuarina, catching the eye with bunches of rusty red amongst the green.
But these flowers won’t produce any fruit or seeds, as they are the male flowers, growing at the end of the needle-like jointed branchlets we often mistake for leaves. Casuarina leaves are actually tiny scales at each joint.
The female trees are flowering too now, but much less conspicuously, hugging the branches in small red clusters.
It is they which will develop the woody seed pods, much beloved by cockatoos. In fact, I could hear one cracking them open for the seeds; I could see it too, but it was too well-hidden and backlit for a decent photo.
Banksias are the other trees in prolific flower now. Several varieties, with flowers and seed pods large and small. The honeyeaters were having a picnic.
May Gibbs’ wicked and hairy Banksia Men still lurk as large as ever in my imagination, but the bright flower candles eclipse them here.
The banksia trees dominate the skyline here and it is hard to stop looking up, to watch where I am walking. Too early for snakes, I tell myself.
But nearing the small paperbark swamp, now flowing under the track, I do, and am startled by bright red, not tea-brown. As if in step with the Casuarina flowers of both sexes.
To complement the reds, the wet weather has favoured the banks of mosses to delight me with green while I am looking down.
No need to wait for Spring when so much is happening in Winter!