Saturday, 25 February 2012

Garden inspiration: walking at Wattamolla

Wattamolla beach is a popular spot for visitors from Sydney, Wollongong and farther afield. It's on the coastal track that runs through Royal National Park, so you can take your pick and go north or south. Either way, there's spectacular scenery and some really beautiful plants to see. 
The sea off Wattamolla, framed by a mix of gum
trees, banksias and heath plants 
We hit one of the summer's few very hot days when we walked at Wattamolla, and I ended up with lots of over-exposed shots. But I can't resist this one of willow-leaved hakea (Hakea salicifolia) with splendid rusty-red new growth.
Some of the most impressive plants were the masses of low heath plants, pruned and stunted by the strong winds by the sea. We could see heath banksia (Banksia ericifolia), darwinias (Darwinia fascicularis), and tiny stunted casuarinas (Alloasuarina distyla and/or diminuta). Sedges and grasses were growing in the tiniest rock crevices. 
The ocean wind 'carves' these heath shrubs
so that they look like a single continuous plant
In a garden by the sea, you could probably recreate this effect, but I'm not sure about trying it in a less windy area!

The final inspiration, which would require a skillful sculptor to recreate in a garden, was this amazing wind-hollowed stone. I don't know if it has a name, but if not it ought to be called Tapir Rock. 
What a nose!
And there's still so much more to discover....
Little Marley Beach, north of Wattamolla,
waiting for visitors

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