A Blue and Green City: Perth, Western Australia
Photo by Melody

A Blue and Green City: Perth, Western Australia

By Jean-Jacques Segalen (jjacques)January 20, 2014

One often gets images of yellow and red sands or grey kangaroos and brown koalas when the name Australia is heard but the images I brought back are green and blue.

Gardening picture

  Of course the country is so large (over 7.6 million square km) that all colors can be found there, but I will focus on just one state, Western Australia (shortened as WA). With about a third of the whole Australia itself WA is the largest of the six states (2.5 million square km) and with only 11% of total Australian population, there is plenty room to play! Of course very large portions are made of sand and/or stones; deserts where yellow, red, grey and brown may indeed be the dominant colors but I will once again focus on Perth. This is by far the largest city in WA, the fourth in Australia, numbering 75% of the state population and still growing.

So the reader who never visited this city may wonder where I brought my colorful memories from.


     City center seen from Kings Park      Australian Venise at night
River, black swans and city 

  Simply the blue of the sky, sea, lakes, ponds and waterworks plus the green of grass, shrubs, vines, ferns and trees! Yes, the sky over Perth is bright blue most of the time, pure crystal air carrying only light fluffs of delicate clouds soon disappearing in the azure. The sea, or to name it more accurately the Indian Ocean seems to mirror the sky but with a greater variation in shades; the white sand underneath produces Mediterranean-like turquoise in shallow creeks, depth and algae turn further spots to dark blue while the vanishing waves graduate from peacock blue to navy blue.

 Image Image Image
       Green and blue....
      Paddling on the blue
      Streched-out sand beaches

  The correctly named "City Beach" is a long strip of pure white sands bordered by ocean blues, Floreat beach just follows and is matched by Cottesloe and Scarborough beaches. Lakes are a common sight, as well as ponds and rivers, thus inducing an even more aquatic atmosphere throughout the city. The many ponds, lakes and streams welcome the famous black swans (Cygnus atratus) a water-bird from South Western and Eastern Australia which has found its way onto the flag of WA and its coat of arms. But blue also comes from the great many lilies of the Nile (Agapanthus praecox) massively used in private gardens, both white and blue flowered mixed with gusto.

      Anthocaera chrysoptera
      Cacatua pastinator
      Cygnus atratus

   Green comes from the amazingly numerous parks, gardens, lawns, recreational areas, picnic spots, golf courses, street trees, bush-land walks and potted flowers that seem to be the rule here with 16 major parkland areas. Kings Park, right in the city center is 400 hectares (990 acres) wide! I will of course take you back to Kings Park and the Botanical Gardens within for a more detailed promenade in further articles. Seen from an incoming airplane the city looks like houses scattered among gardens, interlaced with lakes and rivers.

 Image Image Image
 Modern art in the University's gardens
      Big country, large cars!      Colorful metal cat

  Great-Britain has obviously greatly influences the city structure and development so gardens are a must but golf courses also have a true right of presence. Although golf greens are meticulously kept with manicured lawns they also provide shelters for a variety of wild life from kangaroos to parrots, kookaburras, Australian magpies and many other birds, even a white ibis (Threskiornis moluccus) is often seen wandering here and there in parks and in front of private lawns where its long down-curved bill gives a rather exotic touch.

      Western grey kangaroos
      Mother and son
       Grazing on golf's lawn

  Macropus fuliginosus is a very common sight on golf courses in the afternoon, when those western grey kangaroos flock in to graze. Those funny looking animals hop and jump around, careless of golf players and zooming golf balls, the adults keep watch of young ones while the small joeys (kangaroo's babies) stay safely within the mother's pouches.
Parks and sidewalks are planted with local trees mostly but a few exotic ones can be seen here and there: Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia), flame of the forest (Delonix regia), golden shower (Cassia fistula), and frangipani (Plumeria rubra). Local species are the many Eucalyptus (500 different species within this single genus!), Corymbia (110 species), Callistemon, Melaleuca (100 species), all belonging to the same botanical family Myrtaceae. Eucalyptus are quite special, a symbol of Australia and the sole food of the national koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) the leaves of those trees go from glossy green to green-blue while the peeling bark of some species soon reveal a striking shiny white bark. Pavements and street borders are ornamented with various flowering trees, often with bright colors in the orange, red and yellow variations, the stunning brightness of Nuytsia floribunda being a special treat.

  Blue and white lilies of the Nile     Stunning plumeria flowers
     Nuytsia floribunda

   I hope this short discover of Perth has convinced you that the place is colorful, there is much more to say and write about it, we will soon go back and stroll through Kings Park.

  About Jean-Jacques Segalen  
Jean-Jacques SegalenI am a Parisian born professional horticulturist specialized in tropical seeds producing, living on Reunion island (just between Mauritius and Madagascar) for 22 years . I spend a lot of time gathering seeds in the wild, the ones I do not grow that is. Also a dedicated Tai-Chi practitioner and fully certified arborist-tree surgeon Just released my first book on tropical plants and fruits, check it at http://www.barbadine.com/pages/livrejjGB.html

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
What happened? cybercrone 3 12 Feb 11, 2014 5:41 AM
Pleasant surprise. MargaretK 3 11 Jan 22, 2014 7:40 AM
Memories! jazzy1okc 1 7 Jan 20, 2014 8:09 AM
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