On a flower trail to the capital city

Pictures: Geevarghese Kollannur, Joy Paliakkara (Weeping cherry blossoms)

Canberra is not a city essentially known for its floral beauty except for when it hosts the Floriade during the springtime. As Covid played spoilsport this year, all of the 1 million tulip bulbs prepared for Floriade have been spread around and planted within the city that has a land area of 800 odd square kilometres, thus making us visitors go around the city instead of hanging on to the Commonwealth Park alone unlike the previous years.

Apart from this largely promoted floral gorgeousness, Canberra does offer a lot more in this year’s spring for anyone that is fond of flowers.

Canola fields

The canola fields have been getting so much of attention this year from in-state travellers, with the Victorian and Queensland borders closed. Instagram handles have been spilling yellow for quite some time with pictures of these golden fields and predictably, the number of pictures has skyrocketed during the spring school holidays. A professional as well as amateur photographer’s delight, it’s hard to catch a Facebook or Instagram handle without the picture of this spectacle this year – and the recent rains have made sure that the flowers are in all their glory, to give the much needed treat to the traveller’s tribe that come to visit them after months and months of staying at home. The fields around Goulburn and Harden have been quite popular, giving a great revival to the small businesses around them as well!

Purple hills

The hills and valleys along the side of Remembrance drive from Sydney to Canberra is something that you cannot pass without noticing its purple ground cover – looks as if someone has spread a purple carpet underneath the trees! Apparently, it is an invasive weed that has a strange name – Paterson’s curse – which strips the nutrition off the pastures, but I must admit that it has created quite a display!

Yellow Cape weed in bright yellow

Alternating with the purple carpet is the yellow carpet – a profusely flowering Cape weed, which has totally flowered this year like it lost its marbles. One particular sight was where an olive grove with perfectly pruned olive trees spaced evenly had the cape weed as its ground cover – the dull green standard shaped foliage of the olive tree in sheer contrast with the bright yellow cape weed – something to carry within me for a long time to come!

Floriade reconceptualised

Of course, there is no denying that the tulip trail as part of Floriade is quite an amazing sight – where you can travel from one suburb to next to catch some tulip gorgeousness across the city. Certainly, a way of winning over the pandemic that tried to dampen the Floriade spirit. Some of these plants are boxed, some planted in wheelbarrows and some in temporary garden beds. And it is quite a sight to watch all the commonplace activities happening around these amazingly beautiful flowers – Canberrans have grown so used to it, they run the errands without even paying attention to the gorgeousness around them which is plain bizarre!

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms never ever fail to impress me no matter how many times I see them. Alongside Lake Burley Griffin outside the Floriade is where I catch it usually but this time around, I spotted them all over the city – all I needed was to keep my eyes open!

Native and wild flowers

Wildflowers along the walking trails around Canberra are the next set of blossoms to catch. Another good place to see these in the natural settings is the Australian National Botanic Garden – from paper daisies to native plants, in a spectrum of colours!

And to top it all off, we did catch the sunset amongst the mosaic of growing forests in the Arboretum. As someone anonymous said – “If everyone in the world watched sunset, there will be much less problems in the world”.

Golden sunset

Tail piece: Spotting a snake while traversing through the wilderness at the National Park was not something we signed up for , so it will be a good thing to be on your guard too; but they do warn you if the reptile has been seen in the garden.

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