Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our First Day of Spring Downunder ... and Our National Wattle Day!

Tomorrow ... September 1st ... is the first day of Spring downunder ... and on this day every year we celebrate National Wattle Day!!

Wattles ... Acacias of course being their botanic name ... have a very special place in the heart of all Aussies.

Let misers hoard and hide their gold;
Here there is treasure-trove untold,
In yellow blossom, mass on mass
Spread out for wayfarers who pass
With hearts to feel, and eyes to see
How lovely is the wattle tree.

One of our native wattles (seen on the left) - Acacia pycnantha or the Golden Wattle - is our national floral emblem  ... and, of course, our national colours ... green and gold ... were inspired by the Acacia.

Towards illimitable skies
From the earth the trees arise:
Givers of Joy, their gold and green
Against the blue of Heaven is seen.
A symbol of man's destiny
Is the blossoming the wattle tree.

(Selected verses from Dora Wilcox's 'The Wattle Tree')

Acacias welcome in the Spring in many parts of Australia ... although there are many species that bloom at other times of the year.  There's over 1000 different types of Acacias ... Australia has around two-thirds of the entire world's species.  There are some that are metre-high shrubs ... and then others that are trees reaching to 15 metres tall!!

I am in no way an expert in Acacias, despite being an Aussie, as so many just look identical to me and I find it hard to tell them apart. But putting my lack of expert knowledge aside, I shall attempt to share some of the Acacias that surround me here ... there are a couple of varieties out in the bushland around my home and a number of these have sprung up on my property.  I thought I'd join in Noel's Hot, Loud and Proud meme and show some of these magnificent Acacias with you ... the names are just educated guesses!  (Please correct me if you think I'm wrong ... my shoulders are broad!)

An interesting fact about the flowers of Acacias is that there are two types - rod-shaped and ball-shaped.  There are examples of both of these flowers on the Acacias that grow here.

Here's the first Acacia that's a common sight out in the bushland. 
I think it's Acacia simsii, commonly called Sim's Wattle.

It has ball-shaped flowers.

It has seed pods that look like this ... pods alternately raised and depressed over the seeds inside.

There is also this beautiful Acacia that has bright, golden yellow rod-shaped flowers. 
This could be Acacia auriculiformis ... the Northern Black or Ear Pod Wattle.

The common name Ear Pod Wattle can be attributed to the look and shape of the seed pods.

Then finally, there is this wonderful Acacia with its grey-green foliage and creamy lemon flower spikes. 
I think this one is Acacia holosericea, commonly called Silver Leaf Wattle.

This Acacia has the most remarkable heavily curled and twisted seed pods.
These pods eventually turn brown and will stay on the tree long after the seeds have been dispersed.

As I mentioned earlier, not all Acacias bloom in Spring ... and mine don't!!!  There are no gorgeous wattle flowers out in the bush or on my property right now ... all these varieties bloomed back in Autumn.  There are seed pods on both the Ear Pod and Silver Leaf Wattles ... but that is it.  So to end this National Wattle Day post, here's a few more photos taken earlier this year.  Enjoy the green and gold on this first day of Spring.


  1. Bernie, I love the texture of your acacia flowers, and the sunny color. I just visited your previous post ... you have a beautiful home, and stunning garden. Pam

  2. Interesting, when I hear 'wattle' I think of British woven fencing.
    We've lots of Acacias in this area, too, although I believe people associate them with allergies!

  3. Happy spring! What a beautiful way to welcome in the season. Love your native wattle tree!

  4. aloha,

    yes i love your wattles too, even though i'm extremely allergic to all that pollen...and to think i lived previously on a lot that was filled with these huge giants...they are really spectacular during the spring though :)

  5. Thanks for showing so many great photos of acacias. It's a group of plants I know very little about.

  6. A neighbor of mine has a tall acacia farnesiana tree, also known s sweet acacia. Its used in perfume and shampoo production too! In fact, now that i looked it up for the right spelling, I just realized that my mystery seedlings are sweet acacia seedlings that I found on the ground in a park! What a happy wattle day indeed!

  7. Thanks for showing us this beautiful wattle tree! Those flowers and leaves are all pretty, even those twisted seed pods! Love your background music too.... Happy Spring!

  8. Happy Wattle Day Bernieh. Lovely blog and beautiful pics. Acacias are beautiful. so bright and cheery. Love lindalooloo. x

  9. Thanks you all!

    Alice ... I haven't heard about wattle being used for fencing. I have heard about the 'wattle and dab' building technique and actually saw it at a small cafe over in England when I visited.

    Noel ... how awful to be allergic to these beautiful flowers! Especially if you had to live close to them.

    Rainforest Gardener ... yes I've seen the Sweet Acacia before and it has the cutest little golden yellow puffballs. How lovely that you've recognised your unknown seeds ... a great addition to your garden.

    Linda ... now I can reply to my Anonymous commenter!!!

  10. I remember Monty Python's ode to the wattle: "This here's the wattle - the emblem of our land. You can stick it in a bottle or you can hold it in your hand." A tad more prosaic than your poet!

    Incidentally, wattle is a generic term used in fencing and building; it refers to the use of slender branches or wood in the construction of both. I've lived in wattle-and-daub buildings, which were constructed out of wood lath, horsehair, mud and topped with plaster. The walls were excellent insulators.

  11. Hello,
    I love these tree and when it is full of flowers, it's a dream to look at it.

  12. Hi Bernie, thank u for this post. It's fascinating how many different wattles there are - and I certainly didn't know about the weird curly variety. My garden favourite is a. ityphealla - I have 4 of them. I had a very large wattle - can't remember which one and after about 12 years it just died. Apparently some are short lived. cheers, cm

  13. Hi Bernieh; A fantastic post about the wattles.The pictures are delightful. I would plant many more species if they would do well. I think it is such a cheerful sight the golden fluffy flowers. In spring my mother would buy a bunch, which came from Nice France, my mother called them Mimosa.
    Thank you for the e-mail; T.

  14. I never get tired of wattles - they're just spectacular - and it's an exceptional year for them!

    Happy travels!

  15. Lovely trees! I can see why they are the National symbol. I found a baby ear acacia when we were in Fort Myers, Florida a few years back. I brought it all the back to Houston and grew it here in for almost a year. It was almost 3 feet tall. But, they don't like frost, do they? Mine died in a bad freeze.
    May I ask you a question...I found your other garden blog and was looking at that one as well.
    Do you have your 2 garden blogs divided in some way by content? Or?...sorry I'm so curious or if this is a personal question. My apologies.
    Sadly, it's everything I can do to maintain my 1 little garden blog. My first guess is that you're twice the gardener I am. ha ha :0) Love your blogs.
    David /Tropical Texana /Houston

  16. Hello Bernie,
    It is David again from Houston. Since posting my question, I've been reading up on some other profiles and found someone with 6! Can you imagine? :-)
    All the best!
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  17. hi Bernie, those are beautifully flowered Acacia. They are all yellow, are there not other colored Acacias? By the way, i remember Casia alata, not an Acacia but also a legume, which also has beautiful drooping spikes, we call them golden shower. However, here they bloom in summer and sometimes all flowers without leaves. Happy Spring! I visited Sydney in Spring and that was still vivid in my recollections, and i miss it.

  18. Bernie -- Happy Spring! That Acacia Simsii is the coolest! (They all are fascinating!) So looking forward to keeping up with your 'Summer' as we go into fall and winter.... Happy September! :D --Shyrlene

  19. Those are neat. I love the twisty ones.

  20. Hello Bernie!
    Thanks for sharing all these beautiful wattle photos, many of our local wattles are in full swing at the moment, but my little one that I planted on your recommendation earlier in the year is not quite there yet (but it does have buds). You know, I didn't even know that we had a National Wattle Day until a few weeks ago :) Heidi.

  21. This is such a lovely post. I love the verses that you have selected from Dora Wilcox's Wattle Tree. We used to have many acacia trees in our country but they don't seem as lovely as yours or perhaps I had a jaundiced view then.

  22. Oh, what a wave of nostalgia you've brought on with this beautiful Wattle post, Bernie! I absolutely love seeing the wattle and dearly miss it. I think this, more than anything else, says "Australia" to me :)
    It's fascinating to see the different varieties...something I didn't pay attention to when I lived there.
    Those seed pods are amazing!
    The fuzzy pom poms are my favourite of the flowers.
    Thanks for bringing back precious memories :)

  23. Elsie X ... I think when you see something everyday you just don't appreciate it as much as you should. I've only really grown to appreciate the Wattles around here since I became more interested in the garden in the last year or two.

    Kerri ... there is just something about the sight of a wattle branch bursting with those golden yellow flowers for an Aussie. I'm happy to share these photos and I'm so glad they've bought back some lovely memories for you.

  24. Heidi ... just catching up with your comment finally. Now my computer's functioning I've realised I have missed quite a few comments. Anyway ... yes we do have a National Wattle Day ... lol, I only found out about it around five years ago through my work at school!!! Obviously it's not advertised up here very well!

    Missy ... the curly seed pods are a fascinating sight!

    Shyrlene ...the garden will not be at its' best during our Summer. It's a harsh time of year here ... and hard work for gardeners! I do hope I have something decent to show.

    Andrea ... no, as far as I know, Wattles only have either golden yellow or lemony yellow flowers. The Cassia alata you talk about is a common sight here as well. We call them the Candlestick Cassia.

    David, thanks for your lovely comments. I answered your question on one of your blog posts. Hope it clears up the confusion about my two blogs ... each one has a slightly different slant on my garden.

    Red Nomad ... you're so right. The Wattles up here have put on a fabulous display this year ... I think it was the lovely rain we got during the Summer and Autumn.

    Titania ... yes I've heard that some gardeners overseas often identify Acacias as Mimosas. I'd never really heard of that word before I joined the blogging community.

    Catmint ... yes it's a shame when a much-loved Wattle dies off. I had a particular favourite in one of my very early gardens many years ago ... and it was quite short-lived!

    Ellada and Terra Mirabilis ... thanks for your great comments. I'm so glad to share these lovely trees with you ... they really are a fantastic sight when they're blooming.

  25. Absolutely incredible. I can not pick one but all. The trees are spectacular. Oh I want to visit.


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