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When driving on bush tracks over the past couple of weeks I have been keeping my eye out for waratahs in flower. These are the king of the native flowers, majestic in colour, size and beauty.

They have become a popular garden plant, and are available from florists as a cut flower, but there is nothing quite so joyous as seeing their great crimson heads in the wild.

Photo: Waratah, Mount Hay Road, Leura

Words to walk with:
From the Waratah and Wattle by Henry Lawson 1905
"Though poor and in trouble I wander alone,
With a rebel cockade in my hat;
Though friends may desert me, and kindred disown,
My country will never do that!
You may sing of the Shamrock, the Thistle, and Rose,
Or the three in a bunch if you will;
But I know of a country that gathered all those,
And I love the great land where the Waratah grows,
And the Wattle bough blooms on the hill.

Australia! Australia! so fair to behold
While the blue sky is arching above;
The stranger should never have need to be told,
That the Wattle-bloom means that her heart is of gold,
And the Waratah red blood of love."