Dune Fan Flower.
This pretty blue flower, called Dune Fan Flower Scaevola calendulacea, grows on coastal sand dunes from South Australia right up to north Queensland. It should be part of a colourful complex that includes grey green Dune Spinifex grass Spinifex seraceus, yellow Guinea Flower Hibbertia scandens and bright purply pink Pigface Carpobrotus spp, which grow together in the sand, acting to stabilise and bind the shifting grains. Sadly, it and its indigenous companions are being pushed out by vigorous interlopers such as Beach Pennywort Hydrocotyle bonariensis from America and Ground Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus 'Sprengeri' from Africa.
Native Pigface (with the succulent leaves and shocking pink flowers) being swallowed up by triffiding Ground Asparagus Fern.
These non-native species are often capable of holding more sand than the native plants, resulting in the dunes getting steeper and altering the shape, behaviour and access to the sea of coastal lakes. Ground Asparagus Fern, forms a dense matrix of rhizomes, blocking out any other plant. It is considered such a problem in certain areas of New South Wales that it is illegal to propagate, sell, or even give it away. The problem is that birds eat and transport the seeds, spreading the plant widely. Rather alarmingly, the current government recommended control method is to saturate the plant with diesel!
International Firefighters Day: All the firefighters in Preuilly are volunteers, and across France about 50% of firefighters are salaried, 50% volunteers. They are the lead emergency service group, and not only fight fires but attend car accidents and natural disasters. They risk their lives regularly, and the psychological impact of their job on individuals can be enormous. Firefighters often have to deal with dead or injured people and pets. They say that the worst are fire fatalities and the sudden death or injury of children. They need support not only to run the fire brigade, but also to cope with the stresses of the job and get on with their off duty life. International Firefighters Day is 4 May, set up to acknowledge and support their work. Many towns will set their fire sirens off at midday on the first Sunday in May as a prelude to a minutes silence in remembrance of those who have lost their lives.