Presenter Hazel Dempster has made an outstanding contribution to the knowledge of Australian plants, in a voluntary capacity during her membership of the Wildflower Society of WA for over 40 years. She is an Honorary Life Member of that Society. Hazel is also a voluntary associate consultant with her daughter Sue in her firm, Dempster Local Plant Strategies, which is dedicated to working with native plants in commercial and modified landscapes.
Hazel’s talk about the Red Trees at Anthill Farm led us through her journey with a group of intrepid plant hunters. It was a journey of discovery and gaining a greater level of knowledge of our ancient land and its unique flora. Anthill Farm is a wheat-growing property near Geraldton that experiences an explosion of colour after good rains, in both virgin and reclaimed bushlands.
Hazel first discovered Anthill Farm when she had an invitation from Jane, the owner of the farm. Jane enquired about a plant she had never seen before when she was taking a load of wheat to the Yuna Silos. She called it a ‘Top Hat plant’ (Verticordia oculata). Later she took a piece to Geraldton with her to show a friend, Jenna Brooker. Jenna recognized it as the plant on the front cover of Elizabeth George’s publication ‘Verticordia: The Turner of Hearts’. And so, the relationship with Jane started.
Hazel’s talk underlined her passion for colourful wildflowers, vast knowledge of WA flora and expertise during the many visits to the farm. The presentation gave the branch members an outstanding visual understanding of the biodiversity of the area during seasons of little to no rain compared to those with average rainfall.
Hazel generously shared her knowledge and passion throughout the many questions presented to her.