It is generally thought that winter isn't a great time for flowers, but proteas are the exception to this. There are many protea species that flower in autumn and winter, when other flowers are hard to find. They grow through spring and summer, sending up long stems, and then in autumn they set buds and begin to flower. Three years ago, we planted some new proteas called Protea Repens or Sugar Bush. They have flowered for the first time this season, beginning in autumn, and continuing now into early winter. I am delighted with them. They are quite different to our standard Pink Ice protea. They are waxy rather than hairy (!) and don't have the silvery bloom that many common proteas have. When we have a new flower, I love to put a few on my kitchen windowsill and watch them open over days and weeks - I guess as a kind of road test! Here are some of our new beauty.
We have spectacular sunsets at Swallow Nest Farm. I think that the autumn sunsets are the best. Its something about the autumn light here in Tasmania - and probably helped by a bit of smoke from Forestry burn offs. This was the sunset that provided the soft lighting in the protea photo above it.
As the Sugar Bush flower opens, its colour starts to soften, and the centre structure starts to collapse into a wider, less tidy shape. I think its quite beautiful.