I think I might have mentioned it before, but our Bull Banksia is a triumph both of neglect and comprehensive ignorance regarding the proper cultivation of this treasured and infamously temperamental genera.
Native to a fairly restricted area of Western Australia, B. grandis likes to stutter along for a few years in exotic climes and then abruptly perish, just when you were getting your hopes up.
I planted ours in memory of my Aussie dad in a patch of crappy cliff spoil and it's been leaning outward and exploding in all directions ever since, throwing out these giant velvety candle flowers once a year in summer. They are literally traffic stoppers, inducing tourists to stand gawping in the middle of the road outside our house; Asian visitors in particular seem especially appreciative, dividing their enthusiastic clicks between this plant and our giant Aeoniums. I don't blame them. We look forward every year to these eccentric inflorescences.
Our local honey eaters don't really distinguish between native flowers and introductions from Australia, which is unsurprising given the fact that many plants from Oz existed here until relatively recently, geologically speaking, and must feature in their ancestral memories.
This is the Bellbird, happily ubiquitous around these parts, the adult male featured above with one of his older chicks sitting to the left there.
This young bird is currently tooling around the garden warbling its way furiously through the entire Bellbird songbook, its garbled phrases becoming slightly more polished and coherent with each passing week.
Following its progress is a privilege we both treasure. They are pretty accustomed to us, ignoring our scrutiny and only occasionally flitting off to avoid R's camera.