Mount Wilson is noted for its large homesteads with expansive English-style gardens. People visit for the flowering shrubs in spring and the autumn colours in - well - autumn. However, in the natural bushland there are shrubs and flowers that I find more interesting because they are new to me. On a hike last week, we came across drifts of flannel flowers (Arctotis helianthi), a lovely sight. I remember these flowers from my youth in this country and how soft and fleecy the bracts surrounding the pinhead flowers are to the touch. They are in the carrot family (Apiaceae), and are one of many plant groups that flourish after the bushfires that are prevalent in this region.
Although my photo of the habitat isn't very good, I'm including it to give an idea of the rough and seemingly inhospitable terrain that the flannel flowers seem to like.
We also noted a graceful shrub with black branches, bright green leaves and tufts of small, tubular, yellow flowers at the tips of the branches. Someone identified it to me as a Geebung so I was able to look it up and find that its botanical name is Persoonia, it's a member of the Protea family and it produces tasty fruit. Sadly, it is difficult to propagate either by seed or cuttings so it is not easy to obtain a plant for the garden.
The other significant thing about Mount Wilson is that it supports the kind of subtropical rainforest found only in particular pockets of the Blue Mountains. We walked through some of this lush jungle on our way back to a barbeque dinner at Merrygarth, one of the best of the English-style gardens of the area.