The Magic of Winter

by Inga Yandell

Winter has stirred in the land downunder with an icy wind ushering in the change of season. The damp conditions create the ideal habitat for fungi, moss and lichen to thrive in varied form and colour. The beauty of these organisms are on full display at the coldest times of the year – giving reason to go outside, brave the cold and enjoy natures riches.

Even before a true frost sets in, gardens are being abandoned for the warmth of indoors but for those adventurous enough, to rug-up and explore the forgotten garden – a discovery of treasures await.

Winter Wildlife~ Lookout for these fascinating finds in flora and fauna.

Tree moss produces unique art on wooded canvas – from rusted hues of mottled moss to luminous green tuffs, curtain like drapes and carpets that creep from the forest floor to the base of the trunk.

Learn about lichens with Jim Conrad’s Backyard Nature website – this resource delves into the delightful world of the lichen, exploring the structure and ecology with reference to further reading.

Fungi of Australia is another online database for identifying and learning more about indigenous fungi. The comprehensive reference materials include aboriginal use for fungi, a FUNGIMAP and spore prints.

Australian native plants such as banksia, bottlebrush (callistemon), eucalyptus, grevillea, hakea, melaleuca and wax flowers (chamelacium) come to life during winter and spring. Keep an eye out for these plants in your neighbourhood, to see how they look at this time of year or visit one of the excellent botanical gardens which specialise in Australian plants such as Mt Annan Botanic Gardens in NSW or Kings Park Botanical Gardens in Perth.

Checkout this list of Alpine Animals to learn more about Australia’s winter-loving wildlife. Another reference worth reading is the Fauna of the Australian Alps pdf.

Hopefully, I have provided enough inspiration to encourage you outdoors this winter to explore the season’s wealth of natural wonders!

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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