Saturday, July 20, 2013


I know I probably post about this every winter but Banksias are one of my favorite Australian native flowers and the ones that bloom this time of year are pretty spectacular.
While they obviously grow wild in the bush, they have also been cultivated (and hybridized) for the nursery trade.
This one is in a private garden near 'our' beach and is used as a screening/boundary plant.
This particular variety naturally grows in the sandstone coastal heath environment and is very salt and wind hardy.

The 76 species of Banksias are named after Sir Joseph Banks an English botanist who accompanied Captain James Cook on what turned out a voyage of discovery of the east coast of Australia in 1770.
The voyage of HMS Endeavour from 1768 to 1771 went to South America, Tahiti (for the transit of Venus), New Zealand and Australia.
They made landfall at Botany Bay (just south of where Sydney is today) and at the Endeavour River (now Cooktown) in North Queensland where they spent seven weeks repairing their ship after it was holed when running aground on the Great Barrier Reef.

While they were in Australia, Banks, the Swedish botanist Daniel Solander and the Finnish botanist Dr. Herman Spoering made the first major collection of Australian flora, describing many species new to science.
According to the State Library of South Australia's web site:
"Banks' Florilegium is a monumental work which records the botanical collections made by Sir Joseph Banks and his team of naturalists aboard James Cook's Endeavour , 1768-1770. It includes drawings of plant specimens from South America, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia.
The drawings were prepared by Sydney Parkinson during the voyage from specimens collected and preserved. In England, following Parkinson's death, Banks then had the drawings engraved on copper plates for printing. This did not proceed because of the enormous cost involved. The plates were subsequently transferred to the British Museum after Banks' death, and remained unpublished until the early twentieth century, when James Britten arranged to publish a selection. In the Alecto edition, the method used for the colour printing is known as la poupée (rag-doll style). It is meticulous and slow, but produces very distinct colours. Only 100 copies of this edition were published.

It was not until the 1980s that the Museum, in association with the publisher Editions Alecto, decided to renovate the copper printing plates which were still in safe storage and then to print from them, for the first time in colour, the complete set of images. A limited edition of 100 sets, under the title of Banks' Florilegium, would be produced. Over ten years the project came to completion, which is an interesting comparison with the eleven years it took Banks to arrange for the engravings to be completed in the 18th century. This brought to a close what must be one of the most lengthy printing projects ever and was a fitting tribute to the daring and foresight of Banks, Cook and their brave crews"

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