Flowers on Friday – Wattle Babies

Last weekend, I saw the first signs of the coming Spring. Β The beautiful wattles start to appear in August here in Australia.


I love seeing the wattle… it makes me sneeze, but it’s so fresh and pretty, with it’s vibrant yellow-ness and heady scent.. and it’s taken me on a very pleasant journey back to my childhood.

It reminds me so fondly of the wonderful stories I used to read as a child, by the very talented author and artist ‘May Gibbs’.

As a child growing up in the country, I felt a great affinity to these stories – they were brought to life for me by the real bush and the uniqueness of it – the flowers, the seedpods, the wildlife – everything and more she tells us in her stories and shows in her beautiful illustrations.

I love her stories and her books, still today. They are such treasures.

..and here are the dear Wattle Babies.. only some of the wonderful ‘imaginations’ of May Gibbs (1877 – 1969). Such a clever and talented lady.

Image found on Pinterest
Image source – Pinterest

‘Frontispiece’ for ‘Wattle Babies’ 1918. Watercolour by May Gibbs.

Here is a wonderful excerpt from the book ‘Mother of the Gumnuts – Her life and work’ by Maureen Walsh.

She says of May Gibbs.

“The artist was May Gibbs, her creation the bush world of the gumnuts Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, their cousins Bib and Bub and a host of other gumnut and other wildflower babies: a world of scribbly writing, koalas, possums, bull ants and beetles, kind old lizards, evil snakes and the horribly wicked, uncouth and cruel Banksia men.

Her unique vision so captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of Australians that today the bush babies – those plump little bare-bottomed figures with their gumnut hats or ragged-blossom skirts and their wild blue eyes – have become national symbols…”

First published in 1985.

It’s hard to tell, hard to say,

I don’t know if the bush babies found me or if I found the little creatures.

May Gibbs

To read more about May Gibbs, you can visit the State Library of NSW in Australia – they have more information on her story and many of her wonderful illustrations. See here May Gibbs: an australian classic

What a very pleasant trip down memory lane πŸ˜€ I hope these are rediscovered one day.

Enjoy your Friday and have another great week ahead. I’m hoping to visit the Art Gallery NSW today to view the very popular and always surprising Archibald Prize exhibition.

28 thoughts on “Flowers on Friday – Wattle Babies

  1. I love the wattle too, it is everywhere at the moment, I’ve been going down to the local park to take photos of it. I never read the May Gibbs stories, maybe I should give them a try.


    1. Isn’t it wonderful Leanne and so many different types. Glad you’ve been capturing some too. I think the May Gibbs stories are wonderful and I’m sure you’d appreciate them from an artist’s point of view. She had a great imagination πŸ˜ƒ


  2. May Gibbs and her wattle babies, wonderful memories reading the books and then reading them to my children. Thank you Robyn. The wattle is just about finished up here, it has been a spectacular year for flowering


  3. Great flower portrait Robin – fascinating to see the opposites of our growing season – sweet powdery Mimosa scents and yellow light are a de rigeur late winter vase in my house – they grow well in London gardens too. Gibbs’ rendition of wattle babies is delightful (& unknown to me) – if only these could be re-published for today’s snugglepots

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    1. Thanks for your comment Laura πŸ˜ƒ You sent me off to do some research! I didn’t know that wattle grows in London gardens. Aussies must feel right at home… and Mimosa is such a pretty name from the original. Glad you enjoy it too, although mine stays outside… Achoo!!


    2. PS I think MG’s books might still be available through her site online, but I’ve noticed they are no longer available – generally.
      I think today’s kids would so enjoy them. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ


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