Hyacinth Orchid | Dipodium roseum

… for the Lover of Orchids

Have you ever considered the sheer abundance and diversity of flowers? Internet sources tell me that flowering plants make up about 90% of the plant kingdom with more than 250,000 species being documented and many still being unidentified.


“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.”  ~Lydia M. Child


The Orchidaceae family is one of the largest groups of flowering plants in the world with around 800 genera and 30,000 species found on all continents except Antarctica. In Australia, there are about 100 genera and more than 1,200 species of orchids. Orchids get their name from the Ancient Greek orchis , meaning ‘testicle’, derived from the appearance of the paired root tubers of the plant.

Commonly, when we think of orchids it is those with large blooms we can buy at florists or see in the hothouses of botanic gardens.

Phalaenopsis aphrodite from my local market in Melbourne


Yet, we may pass them when bush walking and not notice them, perhaps because we expect to see large beautiful flowers calling for our attention.

Australian native orchids are diverse and stunning but have much smaller flowers, they often blend well into their environment making them hard to see when we don’t know what to look out for.

Blue Lady Orchid (Thelymitra crinita) – Porongurup National Park, WA


Expecting them to be much larger and prominent I saw native orchids for the first time when visiting the Porongurup National Park in Western Australia in October last year and with my eyes being attuned to their fragility I found them growing beside a path on a walk surrounding Hanging Rock in Victoria last December.

Hyacinth Orchid (Dipodium punctuatum) – Hanging Rock, Victoria


Some of the Australian native orchids have been made into flower essences by Living Essences of Australia and the Australian Bush Flower Essences.

Purple Enamel Orchid_webThe Living Essences of Australia range has 13 essences that are made from native orchids. Purple Enamel Orchid (Elynthranthera brunonis) flower essence for example supports us in balancing our energies. It is indicated for those, who feel they are not doing enough, having a tendency to overwork. Their lifestyle fluctuates between a high energy output and then collapsing having expended too much energy.  The harmonising qualities for this essence are consistence, confidence, regulating Qi, stamina and achievement.

Cowslip Orchid (Calandenia flavia) is supporting a person that craves acknowledgement and when not recognised by others, has a tendency to respond negatively. The essence is indicated when the mind of the person is drawn too quickly away from their body onto their surroundings, they are too externally concentrated and overly alert. The harmonising qualities of the essence are humility, confidence, being self-assured and having inner satisfaction.

IMG_2813Yellow Cowslip Orchid essence is part of the Australian Bush Flower Essence range and is  indicated for a person with an overactive mind and as a result this person may be blocked off from their feelings. Out of balance there is a tendency to be excessively critical and judgemental, aloof and withdrawn. ABFE indicates these positive qualities for the essence: humanitarian concern, impartial – can step back from emotions, constructive and ability to arbitrate. This essence is included in the Dynamis combination essence supporting a renewal of enthusiasm and joy for life.

Living Tree Orchid Essences is a range entirely dedicated to orchids grown in greenhouses and  made in the UK by Don Dennis and Heather Decam.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin


Jacaranda – Focus, the key to concentrate your power

In late Spring Melbourne’s streets and gardens are bathed in the intense lilac colour of flowering Jacaranda’s.

The tree’s origin is South America, especially Brazil and Argentina but Jacarandas can now be found in subtropical and IMG_3382tropical countries across the world. The genus Jacaranda comprising of around 50 species is part of the Bignoniaceae plant family of mostly tropical plants and shrubs.

In South America extracts from the fern-like  leaves have been known to treat bacterial infections of the skin, kidneys and bladder.  More on Jacaranda’s medicinal properties can be found in this research paper published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Vol 6.

When photographing this flower close-up it proved to be challenging as the branches  moved in the slightest breeze. I often lost my focus on a particular flower to portrait, jumping my attention from one to the next that promised to keep still just long enough.

IMG_3354Changeability and rushing are some of the imbalances that are transmuted by Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosaefolia)  flower essence from the Australian Bush Flower Essence range. The essence is for the personality type that has a tendency to dither being easily distracted by the outside world. It is for those that have difficulty making decisions torn by their ever changing minds.  Projects are excitedly started and left incomplete. Driven by insecurity there might be a tendency to go back and forth over the choices with no clear focus on which direction to take.


One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. ~ Tony Robbins


The Jacaranda flower essence supports centredness, decisiveness, being clear-headed and quick-thinking. For these qualities it has been included in the Calm and Clear and Cognis combination essences of the ABFE range.

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution for 2013 think of taking Jacaranda flower essence to help you manifest your intention being centred, decisive and focused.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin


Meeting Southern Cross in the Stirling Range

In October, a long time wish came true to visit and walk the Stirling Range National Park which is located about 340 km south-east of Perth, Western Australia.

The Aboriginal name for the range, Koi Kyenunu-ruff, means ‘mist moving around the mountains’.

Stirling Ranges view from Bluff Knoll

The Stirling Range is internationally recognised as one of the world’s 34 hotspots for biodiversity. This biodiversity is a result of the multitude of conditions of this landscape with mountain peaks, sheltered valleys, windswept lowlands and moist gullies. The Stirlings are home to more than 1,500 species of flowering plants and 80 of those only exist in the range.

Flower field Stirling Ranges

My heart jumped with delight when seeing the multitude of wild flowers during my visit in the height of the Spring wild flower season. Sometimes I come face to face with flowers that I’d been studying and using as a flower essence practitioner and these encounters are akin to meeting someone in person you have known for a while but never met.

Here in the Stirling Range I met up with Southern Cross.

Southern Cross (Xanthosia rotundifolia) is an herb from the large Apiaceae family that includes carrots, parsley and fennel. With about 20 species Xanthosia are endemic to Australia and 11 of those can only be found in Western Australia.


The common name Southern Cross comes from the resemblance of the flower to the constellation of the same name.

Southern Cross flower essence is available in the Australian Bush Flower Essence and the Living Essences of Australia  ranges.

The essence from the Australian Bush Flower Essence range supports personal power, taking responsibility and being positive. It allows you to take responsibility for the circumstances you find yourself in instead of succumbing to a victim mentality and blaming the circumstances itself for your lack and misfortune in life.


The life we want is not merely the one we have chosen and made. It is the one we must be choosing and making. ~Wendell Berry


It also helps us opening up to the abundance around us, overcoming poverty consciousness.

Southern Cross flower essence from the Living Essences of Australia range supports positive aspects of acceptance, empathy, wisdom, understanding and awareness. It is indicated for being judgemental helping us to put ourselves into the shoes of others overcoming judgemental attitudes and short sightedness stemming from inexperience, arrogance or a sheltered life.

In summary, both essences deal with aspects of a belief that focuses on judgement of others either by shifting blame towards others and circumstances for our lack of achievement or by being judgemental due to a lack of understanding and short sightedness. They support us in taking responsibility for our lives and with this comes a feeling of having personal power which in turn allows for wisdom and empathy to blossom.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin


Eucalyptus macrocarpa – Recharge your batteries

On my recent visit to Kings Park in Perth I was excited to finally see Eucalyptus macrocarpa in bloom knowing it to have the largest flowers of all the eucalypts. I’ve read about the the bright red or pink flowers that can grow up to 10 cm in diameter when studying the Australian Bush Flower Essences. Eucalyptus macrocarpa or Mottlecah is a mallee-type species from the wheat-belt region of south-western Australia. This shrubby eucalypt grows up to 4 metres in height with stunning large flowers and fruit. The name macrocarpa stems from the Greek macros (large) and carpos (fruit).


The healing properties of the Macrocarpa flower essence are derived from its doctrine of signature … the strength of energy that is released when the large cap is catapulted off by the stamens of the flower. This remedy supports energy, vitality and physical endurance and is described by Ian White, founder of the Australian Bush Flower Essences, to have an affinity with the adrenal glands. As a quick reminder, the adrenals produce the hormones adrenaline and cortisol in response to short and long-term stress exposure. The flower essence can be of support to us when convalescing, we’re tired and exhausted, burned out and have low immunity.


There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. ~ Martha Graham


On a physical level Macrocarpa can help to recharge and vitalise the body and serves as a tonic for people that need a quick energy boost. It supports endurance at competitive sports and prolonged physical labour. Macrocarpa is a component of the Australian Bush Flower Emergency Essence.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin


Boronia – Reset Your Mind To Clarity


This week, a friend introduced me to the St Kilda Indigenous Nursery Co-operative in Port Melbourne. The nursery offers seedlings and plants of a wide range of coastal, heathland, woodland and grassland species that are native to the Melbourne area.

The pictured boronia (Boronia muelleri) seedling greeted me with a cascade of pink and white flowers. Boronias are native to Australia with around 100 or so different species. The genus is named after Francesco Borone, an eighteenth-century Italian botanist.

As a flower essence Boronia (Boronia ledifolia)  helps people to resolve obsessive and stuck thought patterns into clarity. For me, the signature of the flower with its four open petals symbolises a clear, focused and open mind. It supports a serene and quiet mind allowing us to get out of our heads, become aware of our bodies and to connect to our hearts.  It can be used to intensify focus in creative visualisation and guided meditation.

You can take the flower essence to clear your mind after a busy day at work leaving your thoughts behind at the door when going home or to turn off the dialogue in your head before you go to sleep.

Boronia assists us when a relationship has broken up and we can’t stop thinking about the lost partner, particularly when we feel hurt and sad. In this case, you could combine Boronia with Bottlebrush essence to be able to release the past and move forward. For long term grief and sadness combine with Sturt Desert Pea.

Boronia, Bottlebrush and Sturt Desert Pea essences are available in the Australian Bush Flower Essence range.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

Silver Princess flower

Silver Princess – The princess that gives direction

‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.’ ~ Henry David Thoreau


Silver Princess waves her languid branches, long silvery grey leaves and shining red flower heads in the breeze as if to gently guide us … “Over here dear traveller, this is your path, take this direction”.

This eucalypt tree, Eucalyptus caesia, is also known as Caesia and Gungurru and is endemic to the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. The name ‘Gungurru’ comes from the indigenous Noongar people of this region. The tree was in danger of extinction some years ago when it was only found inhabiting Boyagin Rock, a granite outcrop believed to be up to 2000 million years old, but has now become a popular cultivar and can be found in gardens and parks across Australia.


As her appearance suggests, the flower essence supports us on our life path when we are aimless, feeling flat, find ourselves without direction or not knowing which step to take next when standing at a crossroads. When having achieved a life goal the essence gives us the motivation to pursue a new direction.

Part of the Australian Bush Flower Essence range Silver Princess is included in the Combination essences ‘Transition’ and ‘Travel’. In the later it resets our inner gyro system for latitudinal or north/south travel.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin



Change, the only constant


“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu

Beginning where I ended my last blog with this quote by Lao Tzu there is a flow taking place that is asking to write on change. It was sparked this week, when I listened to a program about astrological aspects of the current Uranus – Pluto square while initially wanting to write about Bottlebrush flower essence. Co-incidentally, both are about change.

The Pluto – Uranus square is about major changes that are shaking up all aspects of our lives – personal, political, institutional, banking and big corporations.  It allows for old patterns to be released, to clear them, for transformation to take place. Uranus apparently let’s us see new perspectives, allowing for new insights and therefore, to support the letting go of the old.  These planets moved into this position sometime in 2011, setting in motion the wheel of change. It impacted me personally late last year, when I resigned from a permanent job in the media I’ve had for 20 years to set up my own business in complementary health. Not having a regular income has brought with it anxieties, yet at the same time, I’ve never know myself being so congruent with what I do for a living and who I am, my interests and joys in life. Now my life has started to move again, to be in flow, where before I felt stuck and unmotivated, without direction. It is, as if the seed that has been planted a long time ago has taken hold of the earth, is sprouting and breaking through the earth to be seen.

The more often we are confronted with having to change, the more we learn to deal with and respond to constant change. This in turn allows us to be able to handle its dynamics and as a result, be in the flow of life. You can find out more on the astrological aspects when following the links below, while I will highlight some flower essences that can be of support when being confronted with change.


Bottlebrush, an essence from the Australian Bush Flower Essences (ABFE) range, helps you deal emotionally with major changes in life that may include starting school, getting a job, redundancy, marriage, divorce, buying or selling a house, retirement, moving interstate or to another country. Also including the two major changes in life … birth and death.  These events can involve feelings of uncertainty, apprehension or overwhelm. When taking the Bottlebrush essence, it allows a person to flow through life and its changes. It fosters the ability to let go of the past and move ahead into new experiences. Bottlebrush is also part of the ABFE Emergency Essence.

From the Desert Alchemy range, Prickly Pear Cactus encourages adaptability to situations and events in our life. It helps us find a state of active surrender to what is and supports our awareness in being synchronous with the events in our lives. The essence supports the harmony between feelings, thoughts and intuition and resulting in taking action when the time is right. “The strengths, calm and centredness that is fostered within us by Prickly Pear Cactus can allow us to wander the earth and always feel at home.” (Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer in ‘The Alchemy of The Desert’)

You can take Bach’s Rescue Remedy for a sudden shock, emotional upset or in a stressful situation at work or home.

For further reading here are some websites on the Uranus – Pluto square.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin


Mulla Mulla

Suspended worlds

This is a close up of a Mulla Mulla plant that was growing in a pot on my balcony. I was fascinated by the raindrops suspended in the fine hair of the plant containing a mesmerising world of its own. This plant not only looks stunning but you can try its healing powers in a flower essence from the Australian Bush Flower Essence range.

Mulla Mulla

Pink Mulla Mulla supports trust and openness as well as deep spiritual healing.

Tall Mulla Mulla helps to feel relaxed and secure with other people and encourages social interaction.

Mulla Mulla helps to calm fear of fire and heat, and can support you when feeling stressed during the hot summer months.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin


Sunshine Wattle – Let the Sunshine in


When I just had enough of Melbourne in Winter with the day cast in grey skies, whipped by fierce southerly winds and rain showers I am greeted by masses of soft and bright yellows covering trees and shrubs everywhere in gardens, parks and the country side. Bathing my eyes in the sunny bright yellow colour of Wattle flowers brings sunshine into my heart and hope of Spring being just around the corner.

In Australia, there are around 1000 variants of the Acacia species or Wattle as they are commonly known here. The seeds from some 120 varieties have been used as foods by indigenous Australians for at least 6000 years. The roasted seeds have coffee, chocolate and hazelnut characteristics and can be used in desserts, cakes and as coffee substitute. I recently enjoyed a delicious spicy chai made with wattle seeds.


The flower essence Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis) from the Australian Bush Flower Essence range helps to bring about acceptance of beauty and joy of the present … as when seeing a flowering shrub on a grey, cold day and smiling with joy. The essence supports people who had a difficult past and who are stuck there in their thoughts bringing the past into their present. It encourages optimism and joyful expectation.

“What, I sometimes wonder, would it be like if I lived in a country where winter is a matter of a few chilly days and a few weeks’ rain; where the sun is never far away, and the flowers bloom all year long?” 

… and truly thinking of Melbourne in Winter I am reminded of those words by British actress Anna Neagle and I know I live in that country.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin