Remember the 1960s classic ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ by Tiny Tim? It was his signature song and sadly he died while singing it.
I didn’t actually tiptoe through any tulips at Araluen last week – there are signs everywhere warning ‘Keep off Garden Beds’.
But I did enjoy wandering amongst the beautiful gardens with daffodils, tulips, camellias, azaleas, magnolias and flowering cherries.
From 22 August to 4 October, it’s the Springtime at Araluen festival. During the festival there are estimated to be 150,000 tulips carpeting the park. Tulips can be single or double, and shaped like a bell, a cup, or a lily.
Tulips are native to Eurasia and North Africa. My favourites are the fringed and striped varieties. There are also beds of daffodils and other spring bulbs. These spring flowers create a kaleidoscope of colour against a backdrop of lush bushland.
Araluen Botanic Park in the Roleystone Hills has a cool microclimate, which is perfect for its various exotic plant species. Stinton Creek flows within the park all year. There are cascades and pools with shady areas for picnics.
J J Simons, a Western Australian businessman and politician, created Araluen in 1929. He founded the ‘Young Australian League’, whose members and volunteers built the park’s pathways and roads and used it as a camp.
Simons called his valley, ‘Araluen’, an Eastern Aboriginal word meaning ‘singing waters’ or ‘place of the lilies’.
The Grove of the Unforgotten was built in memory of 88 Young Australian League members killed in World War 1. The Grove is a series of terraces framed with pencil pines and water cascading down to the ‘Pool of Reflection’.
Araluen boasts 270 varieties of camellias. It is believed that early settlers brought the first camellias to Western Australia. Some of Araluen’s camellias date back to 1930 while other rare varieties have come from all over the world.
Fallen camellia blooms lay on the ground and floated down the creeks. The native trees – Eucalyptus, Marri, Jarrah and Blackbutt – provide shelter and perfect dappled shade for the camellias to thrive in. They look amazing in a bushland setting.
My favourite flowering trees are magnolias with their large leathery leaves and fragrant pink and white flowers. I came across a steel magnolia tree with the largest magnolia blooms I have ever seen.
Later in the year, Araluen has Western Australia’s largest rose collection, with species of original heritage roses circa 1800’s. In autumn, tea roses will be in full bloom.
The Department of Environment and Conservation now manages the park. Due to its popularity this time of year, it is best to book tickets online due to COVID restrictions. Araluen – Araluen Botanic Park
Araluen is one of Perth’s best-kept secrets. A passive recreation park designed for those who wish to experience the exotic gardens and the peace of this jarrah-lined valley.
Take your Dad on Father’s Day!