Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tasmanian Flora at the TMAG

I recently visited the newly renovated Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.  What a treat!  The renovations and restorations are just brilliant - I felt very proud to be a Tasmanian!  There were many favourites from the visit - some spectacular printmaking by Tasmanian artist Raymond Arnold  
and some wonderful contemporary paintings.  I really enjoyed the section of Australian art from the 1950s and 60s too.  I also found this gorgeous hand painted screen that I thought I'd share with you.  I was so excited when I found it, taking photos and enjoying it, that I forgot to take note of the artist and the year - all I remember is that it was in the same room as a Margaret Preston painting so I can only assume it was produced in the early 20th century.  

I'm sharing it here because it has some beautiful representations of plants that we grow here at Swallows Nest Farm.  The first panel on the left depicts the Tasmanian plant Richea Dracophylla, or the Pineapple Candle Heath.  It is a rainforest shrub that generally grows at higher altitudes and can be found growing in the wild on the slopes of Mt Wellington, among other places.   It is a very striking plant that I'm very proud to be growing.  Its an unusual cut flower and gets a lot of comments during its flowering season in spring.  

The next panel depicted the Mountain Pepper Berry plant or Tasmannia Lanceolata - it wasn't lit well enough to get a good photo.  Then, one of my fabourites - the Tasmanian Waratah - Telopea Truncata, which we grow here at Swallows Nest.  Its another spring flowering Tasmanian Native.   Its cheery red flowers are a sight to see in the wild.  They are such a beautiful cut flower too, smaller than the well known mainland Waratahs but finer.  I love them!

Next, no Tasmanian floral screen could be complete without the Blue Gum, Tasmania's floral emblem.  It's a bit of a strange floral emblem, actually, because it is such an imposing large tree.   Eucalyptus Globulus can grow to 60m and is a gum tree that grows wild in the area around where I live.  Its beautiful flowers appear in October - January.  They are creamy white and quite large as far an gum blossom goes - 4cm.  They make good honey! The gum nuts are distinctively shaped and coated in a silvery blue bloom with a very strong eucalyptus smell.  Eucalyptus trees often have different foliage as a sapling and then develop their more typical "gum leaf" shape as a mature tree.  The foliage of a juvenile Blue Gum is really lovely - very large leaves covered with the same silvery blue bloom as the nuts.  I use it in bunches and arrangements - its colour really contrasts well with other flowers and foliage. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little peek at the treasure I found at the new TMAG.  If you are local, don't miss it - the renovations are really fabulous and there are some great pieces to see.  


  1. What a wonderful blog post this is Grace, I love your words of enthusiastic description. Great how you presented the close up photos till the end to the whole thing - the paravent is just so gorgeous!