Protea and Bottlebrush
The protea in my front garden has burst into bloom. Last year, when I was new to this house, I remember waiting and waiting for it to flower so I would see what color it would turn out to be, and I recall that the morning I went out, expecting the first flower to have opened — and some rotten passer-by had broken it off and pinched it.
No chance of that happening this time — or even if someone did pinch a flower or two, it wouldn’t make much difference. I’ve already taken several bunches to friends, and look at how many there are still, and plenty more to come.
It’s a bit of a space-agey flower, with its spiky (but soft) petals and the almost luminous orange — it looks amazing in the bright sunshine. And the flowers last quite a long time in a vase. As do the bottlebrushes — they’re the red ones in the vase from my bottlebrush tree (callistemon) out the front.
My front garden is supposed to be a native garden (except for the veggie boxes) but in fact proteas are native to South Africa. They do well here though, and can withstand heat and drought as well as most of the native Australian plants.
My mother used to say when the native plants bloom with extra abundance, it’s a warning of a long hard summer to come. I suspect she’s right. All around me the bottle brushes are blooming, and many other native plants as well. And already in some parts of the country bushfires are blazing. The pic below is my bottlebrush.