Although they have the appearance and feel of softness and fragility, I’ve discovered that flannel flowers are very tenacious and robust. The headland where they grow is quite exposed and often subject to strong, coastal winds. Their flexibility and willingness to bend with the wind allow them to weather the storms; the long petals and stems seem to dance with joy and freedom, exhilarated by the gusts.
Far below where the flowers live, at the base of the cliff, the waves crash day and night. Their pounding sound and motion is an integral part of the plant and animal life on the headland even though some plants, like my flannel flower friends, have never seen the ocean. They carry it within them and have a different personality to the flannel flowers I see in the bush away from the water’s edge.
In some places, the flowers are very exposed to the elements. They are confident and brave in the open, almost illuminating the space with their blooms They grow in more sheltered areas as well. Perhaps these are the shy ones. Also brave in their own way and expressing a quieter, more delicate beauty. They share a chromatic conversation with the green foliage around them allowing the colour to complement their white petals. It is a subtle, exquisite song of nature that you can hear if you stop and listen quietly for a long time.