The Caladenia Rosella Orchid
One of the really lovely things to happen since beginning Isiiad has been the making of connections at Dunmoochin. It's meant, life drawing sessions, exhibition openings and opportunies to meet many of the fine artists who take up residence there. Last weekend I was afforded yet another considerable privilege courtesy of Dunmoochin. I was escorted through the bush to the location where the exquisite Caladenia Rosella Orchid grows. So rare and carefully protected is this endangered species of native orchid that if I told you exactly where it can be found, I'd have to kill you. So my lips are sealed.
The Dunmoochin Foundation's charter has been based on the belief that,
a community can gain knowledge and inspiration from living in a close relationship with nature. (Dunmoochin website)
Therefore the bush at Dunmoochin and its flora and fauna, is an integral part of the artist in residence program they offer. Accordingly, the Foundation works hard to protect the environment. The Rosella Orchid holds a prominent place in that care and protection. Follow this link to read the story of its care, involving the Foundation and the work of Geoff Carr and Cam Beardsell.
Many things have conspired to make the orchid's future precarious- the White-winged Chough, which eats its tuber, the recent drought, which had it unsuccessfully compete with an introduced grass (Briza Maxima) for water and ultimately the threat of houses and buildings being built over its habitat. The plant is tiny. A small ribbon of grass announces the flower's imminent arrival. I was acutely aware of my big size eleven feet while weaving through the bush toward it. What if I were to unwittingly step on a plant and render it unable to flower? Perish the thought. The above photograph stands as my permanent reminder of this tiny example of the fragility of our environment and the need to tread carefully on the earth.