Sunday, February 1, 2015

#FKA Hibiscus species

 Jacob Paul Storck (1836-1893)
Botanist and Nurseryman
Berthold Carl Seemann (1825-1871)
Botanist and Plant Hunter 
'Formerly known as' or 'name unresolved' applies to two interesting Hibiscus species which have an Australian connection and they are Hibiscus storckii and Hibiscus denisonii.
In 1859, German born Jacob Storck was working at the Botanic Gardens in Sydney where he met fellow German Berthold Seemann. The following year, on April 20th they set sail for Fiji on a plant hunting expedition where they discovered a pink flowered Hibiscus growing in the wild. Seemann named it Hibiscus storckii for his companion. Following this initial discovery it was never sighted again but later a Hibiscus which matched the description was found in Sydney and was named Hibiscus denisonii after Sir William Thomas Denison (1804-1871) who was a Governor of New South Wales from 1855-1861. Are they one of the same and where can I get my hands on one.? In the meantime they have been lumped together as just forms of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.
The video below is an interesting retelling of some adventurous 19th Century garden and plant history.

Jasminum sambac 'Grand Duke of Tuscany'

 Jasminum sambac 'Grand Duke of Tuscany' (Oleaceae)
"Gardenia Jasmine"
How sweet it is...This is the Italian form of the Arabian jasmine which has button-hole perfect white flowers like mini Gardenias which become stained with purple on the outer petals as they age. The flowers are scattered through straggly angular stems embraced with quilted oval leaves and the resulting bush of a metre or more will never win a prize for being neat, clipped and tidy. It makes a good pot plant and table centre piece when in flower and growth is generally quite slow. The flower buds of the single form are used to make jasmine tea especially in the Philippines.
 I bought this one from the Growing Friends Nursery at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney earlier last year.

Plectranthus 'Pygmy'

Plectranthus 'Pygmy' (Lamiaceae)
and when coping with light foot traffic.
A terrific hanging basket, ground cover or vertical garden plant, this Plectranthus ,which is probably a form of P.australis, has been available for a few years now and the only down side I have found to growing it is that it grows too fast, needing constant trimming back in a pot to keep it in check.
Pretty mauve and white flowers appear in autumn on the end of the trailing stems though it is the purple underside of the glossy leaves which are the real highlight. It will grow in full sun or deep shade and can spread a great distance to form a weed suppressing mat. Even if it strays across a path and gets trodden on it keeps on growing. It is a low water use plant and will tolerate some light frost but may need to be replaced in a pot when it 'exhausts' the growing medium as it exhibits tawny or cream leaves from fertilizer stress when this happens.

Cadel's Day

Fernery at Geelong Botanic Gardens 1890's

Place to be today for the final event in the career of champion cyclist Cadel Evans, that is the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Congrats to him on a stellar career.

Geelong Botanic Gardens is worth visiting for those with a passion for Salvias and Pelargoniums as the national collections of those plants are held there.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Carnation 'Grand Slam'

Dianthus caryophyllus 'Grand Slam' (Caryophyllaceae)
 Cut-flower Carnation
 I am not sure why red flowers are so difficult to photograph without appearing over-exposed? I bought this variety a few months back because I like Carnations and for the name, being a tennis fan with the Australian Open starting today. A terrific event every summer
No perfume on this one though it produces strong buds which open to good sized blooms. The calyx does not split as often happens with some. It is hardy and suitable for growing in a pot or in a garden position of free draining soil prepared with the addition of some dolomite lime.
This plant was produced by the Queensland nursery Propagation Australia Pty Ltd who supply the nursery and cut flower trade with quality stock.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hosta envy


I can't grow Japanese Hostas or the so called Plantain Lily. They like a cool climate, a shady location with humus rich moist soil and a vigilant protection from snails and slugs. That said I admired these in a plant trade market last week. That means they are available right now in retail Nurseries and Garden Centres

comic relief


a rainy day......tanks are filling....don't have to water anything.....home made pizza with some.......Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Fallon