Angus StewartPublic parks will save our wildflowers

Australian landscape architects and designers are gradually evolving a distinctively Australian style to their public parks and I recently came across a great example of this in a municipal park in Dunsborough WA, Seymour Park.

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia2

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

The plantings in the park are a fascinating mixture of cultivars derived from species local to the region such as Pimelea ferruginea ‘Magenta Mist’ and Anigozanthos ‘Bush Pearl’. These cultivars provide spectacular feature areas that are complemented by plantings of the indigenous species of the region such as sword grass Lepidosperma and tall kangaroo paw Anigozanthos flavidus and silver bush Leucophyta brownii.

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia10

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

One of the dilemmas of ecotourism to the western Australian wildflower areas is that there may be nothing for people to look at in a bad year. The other problem with wild areas is that taking tourists into them causes irreparable damage in many cases.  Sometimes this is overt through people trampling the very plants they have come to marvel at. In other cases the damage is more insidious such as the introduction of dieback disease caused by the cinnamon fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi.

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia9

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

The creation of regional parks around Australia that can showcase local wildflowers in structured gardens provides the obvious benefit of a predictable display. It can also be done in an environment that can avoid the damage that inevitably occurs when large numbers of people go to wild areas. A further benefit is that infrastructure for tourists such as roads, toilets and accommodation can also be provided with less damage to the local environment.

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia4

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

The overall result achieved by my particular example of Seymour Park in Dunsborough, WA is to showcase the amazing Western Australian flora in a beautifully balanced way. It highlights both the less spectacular wild species as well as the ‘wow factor’ cultivars that are emerging from breeding and selection work within the nursery industry.

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

Seymour Park in Dunsborough, Western Australia

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Angus Stewart

About Angus Stewart

Gardening Australia TV presenter, author of 'Creating an Australian Garden', 'Australian Plants for Year-round Colour' and 'Let's Propagate', garden travel guide, native plant specialist and breeder. Central Coast, NSW. Find out lots more about native plants at Gardening with Angus.

2 thoughts on “Public parks will save our wildflowers

  1. Jeff Howes on said:

    Angus,
    A great article and Parks like that are an excellent showcase of our native plants.
    Jeff

  2. I have to admit jumping out a the car somewhere out of Alice Springs and oohing and ahhing as I walked among the wildflowers beside the road, photographing everything. I was taking not care to tread on them but I did contemplate at the time what damage I was doing that I couldn’t see – to tiny seedlings, or the soil structure, or by bringing in weed seeds on my shoes and clothing. We humans have a habit of loving to death things that we value so much. I think these wildflower parks are a great idea.

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