Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Port Augusta to Melrose

November 1

The best part of Port Augusta was its Arid Lands Botanical Garden. They had what they claim is the largest collection of Eremophila in the world, most with beautiful bell-like flowers in a variety of colours.

I was particularly impressed with their demonstration gardens showing how to use desert plants in the home garden.

It was afternoon when we left Port Augusta and wound our way through Horrocks Pass,

marvelling at the green hills and the beauty of this settled land after so much bleak desert.

Fields of wheat, hay, and alfalfa patterned the rolling hills in squares and rectangles. Windrows striped the fields in soft yellow, green and lavender like faded canvas awnings.

Although the creek beds were as dry as elsewhere, the river gums were much larger with rougher, gnarled trunks.

Some fields were full of the purple Echium which has become such a weed in this country (called Paterson's Curse in NSW but Salvation Jane here in SA). Nevertheless it's a beautiful weed.

The temperature was still in the high 30's, and there were way more flies than in the dry desert lands, but we enjoyed the variety of the landscape, its settled, prosperous look,

and the small picturesque towns through which we were now driving. We wondered if the owners of this place had chosen the bottlebrush outside because the flowers matched the colour of their roof.

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