In The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Flanagan names the flora of Tasmania in a way that makes you feel like you're there, under 'the boughs of the wildly snaking peppermint gums that fingered and flew through the great blue sky overhead'. Walking to the beach yesterday, Daisy noticed some overgrown hebes in the front yard of the house a few doors down. She tried to pick one for me. She's four and hundreds of kilometres from home and she knew at a glance that they were hebes.
I wondered for the next few blocks if it the saltbush and rough ground cover that stretches back from the sandy beaches and cliffs of Innes was native, or if the wildflowers, yellow and white and tiny specs of purple grew anywhere else.
I'm resolved to learn the names for things.