Plants have no shame. Royal National Park, Audley, NSW, Australia

A short drive south of Sydney will take you to the second oldest (1879) national park in the world, the Royal National Park.  The park basically consists of two types of scenery, coastal cliffs and heathland.  Most of the plant in the Park salt resistant hearty, prickly little things that somehow managed to eke a living out of probably some of the poorest soil in the world. Come to think of it, that’s probably why it was declared a national park, because it’s absolutely useless for farming.

Since the weather finally cleared up on Sunday, my wife and I went for a drive and a walk in the Royal National Park.

We’ve had a few rain falls over the last couple of weeks and although it’s still technically winter nobody seems to have told the plant world, because nearly everything with roots in the soil is blooming. 

A regular plant orgy

As you look across the heath it is though one is looking at a slow motion corybantic dithyramb of plants in heat presenting themselves to all comers. With no brains to experience any shame, the plants wantonly went about their reproductive business, oblivious to rest of the world. I’ve always thought it strangely ironic that we humans present the torn off sex organs of plants to the targets of our desires. Not very a subtle hint and a rather callously barbaric practice when you actually think about it.

Most of the heath plants have tiny little spiky leaves to preserve moisture and their flowers tend to be quite small.  Around about the size of a little fingernail.

Most of the flowers are very small

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule,

The Gymea Lily

and in the Royal National Park it is the Gymea Lily (Doryanthes excelsa) which send flower spikes up to 6 m high (about 18 ft).

Doryanthes excelsa

After witnessing all of the botanical fecundity last weekend, my wife and I intend to follow nature’s lead and begin planting out our vegetable garden, next weekend. This year we will be trying out some heritage tomatoes (old styles that are no longer commercially own) that have been bred for taste rather than toughness for transportation such as the ones available in supermarkets.