It’s wildflower season in WA’s southwest and it’s been impossible not to think of Georgiana Molloy in the last few weeks as we’ve watched the bush blooming. Winter’s long wet tail has been good for so many of the native plants and this has to be one of the most spectacular displays for years. We recently went to Bunker Bay to speak at a conference and we could see several different species of orchids glowing in the bush even as we drove along the road. A hint of the wonderful variety Georgiana found nearby at Castle Rock Bay when she went there to collect. Around our home, everything seems to be flowering at once and today we discovered a few new arrivals that haven’t appeared here before including a red Drosera. I know this early summer glut will soon be over and we’ll move into the time when Georgiana would be marking the plants for seed collection so it’s time to photograph what we can now to enjoy them later.
It’s been a very busy few weeks of editing my new manuscript and speaking at events and then a housebound week with the same horrible virus that many friends have had this year. But it’s also been an unexpectedly exciting time for research and I’ve been amazed (after all this time) to find new sources from the 1830s and remarkable new stories from Georgiana’s life that have left me speechless with delight. They may have to wait until a second edition! This ‘flu has prevented me from transcribing the new letters but a first read through is thrilling and I’ve also been looking at photographs of botanical specimens Georgiana collected that I’ve never seen before, including a Blue China Orchid. I’ve been coming to the realisation over the last two years that her first collection, thought to be lost, was not lost at all but writing that up is another piece of work and a top-of-the-list job in a few weeks’ time.
Now I just need to get rid of this cough and get back under the pump so that I can work out how best to incorporate the new material into Georgiana’s story.
And there’s some exciting news coming soon, too…
P.S. For anyone interested in the settlement in Augusta at the time when the Molloys were living there: the SBS documentary ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ airing on Tuesday evening tells the story of the ancestors of the actor Jane Turner including her many times great-grandfather James Turner who was Georgiana’s neighbour during the 1830s. You might just spot me, too!