Ecology Quest 2 – Bauhinia and what’s in a place name ?

Bauhinia Purpurea – June Perkins

I am in the midst of a first draft of a ‘nature essay.’  The journey of this essay includes being fascinated by the plants in the streets around me.  There are at least four varieties of Bauhinia.

This plant originates in India.  The one above is the Bauhinia  Purpurea, also known as geranium tree.  The tree flowers in September and in December it changes appearance and long greenish pods appear.

The other research for the essay has been finding the cultural and social layers in the land around me.

One interesting thing is that many of the places around me have names based on Aboriginal words,  and have meanings like ‘Place of Stones’, ‘Gully of Water’, ‘Water Dragon.’   I am incorporating this into my essay.

Gwen Harwood, a poet and librettist was born here in Taringa.  She guest lectured at University Tasmania when I was first at university.  She wrote poems with motherhood, and music embedded in them and often adopted alter egos.

Here I am raised in Tasmania (born in PNG), now living in her early home, writing of motherhood, music and the tapestry of plants and birds.

Unfolding these layers is giving me new thoughts for poems and stories.  There is a richness in unpacking the meanings in the space around me.

(c) June Perkins

Ecology Quest 1 – Bush turkey holes, and finding a bat wing coral tree

Bat Wing Coral Tree – June Perkins

Yesterday I read the following from David Attenborough

“Where in 1945 it was thought that the way to solve the problem was to create wildlife parks and nature reserves, that is no longer an option. They are not enough now. The whole countryside should be available for wildlife. The suburban garden, roadside verges … all must be used.”

I agree.  We have bush turkeys, ibis, crows, and cockatoos frequent our back yard.  They enrich our lives.

The down side is that we can’t start a vegetable patch outside because of the bush turkeys digging holes everywhere. However  the upside is that they love eating all our scraps and it’s kind of cool they  are protected and have the run of the neighbourhoods. We are going to start a vegetable patch on the veranda.   I’d love to attract more butterflies to the backyard, perhaps because I miss the beauties we had in Feluga and Murray Upper.

I was thrilled this week to discover an interesting and attractive new plant not far from home. In my ecology quest I’m making a point to find out the names of unknown plants and animals. Today I present to you the Bat Wing Coral Tree – and here is a photograph where it does look like a bat wing!  A friend who lives in Mission Beach, but who knows heaps about the natural world, helped me identify it from a photograph I posted.


I hope to use my ecology quests to develop my poetry and stories.  It will be fun  and empowering to look at things and be able to name them.  

Whilst living in North Queensland I learnt a lot about the variety of  palms – which prior to living there I had a limited knowledge and interest in.  Being surrounded by them I could see so much variety, it became intriguing.

Returning to Brisbane after an eight year absence I am determined to know more about the more obscure looking plants in the garden, parks and streets.

(c) June Perkins words and images

Postscript – A friend has suggested that I can create raised vegetable patches and bush turkeys won’t touch the vegies. Looking into this and may post the garden in process.  Spring is in the air.