Saturday 20 April 2019

Melaleuca vinimalis - Thyme honey-myrtle

I am just beginning to record my next botanical painting, which will be for the Florilegium Society at the Royal Sydney Botanical Gardens. The exhibition will be in 2020 as that is the 300th anniversary of the voyage to Australia of Sir Joseph Banks and Swedish naturalist Daniel Solander, among others.

Banks was an English naturalist, botanist and patron of the natural sciences. They joined Captain James Cook's first voyage to the Pacific on the Endeavour in 1768-1771. During this voyage of discovery they landed in Botany Bay in 1770.

During the eight days of their visit, Banks and Solander investigated various areas around Botany Bay, and including explorations both south  and north west of Sydney Cove.

They collected, pressed, dried and sorted specimens with botanical descriptions. On 3rd May, Banks reported that the collections of plants had grown so immensely large he was concerned about care and longevity of the pressed specimens.

The Banks and Solander exhibition will be showcasing the plants collected from the area of the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens and that are still growing there.

My contribution is the Melaleuca thymifolia which is found growing near the gates at Mrs. Macquaries Road.  Here is my progress to date.

 I contacted the arborist at the Gardens and he showed me where the shrub was growing and made three small cuttings for me.  You can see it is a very small flower, approximately 2 cms across, so the painting will be enlarged.

 This is a cutting of the flower.

 The opening buds are very interesting.

 This is my initial drawing with one of the cuttings.

Australian natives can be kept for months in the fridge. I use a plastic container lined with damp paper towels, and wrap the stems in damp paper towel. Put on the lid, place it in the bottom of the fridge and it keeps its colour and shape beautifully.

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