At the Bromeliad show I gravitate towards the Tillandsia or Air plants on display. I always end up buying some as well from the sale table to add to my growing collection.The ones I bought this year are pictured below (with a blue background) though they are still a bit small to look much different from one another.
Yesterday all the best Bromeliads from local enthusiasts were on display at Corrimal. It is the time of year for dividing up crowded clumps if you have them in the garden or are growing them in pots. I like to grow them in a mix of part potting mix and part Orchid bark. In pots I put big chunks of broken up Styrofoam boxes around each plant to give them a secure footing while the new roots start to grow.
This shrub is in full flower now and getting lots of comments. I have grown it commercially in the past but it can be a bit tricky to propagate from cuttings. After it has finished flowering is a good time to try cuttings or in summer. One day I will work out what is the best time for a successful strike rate.
It was a real shock to learn yesterday that Open Gardens Australia is ceasing after 27 years of operation. A big thanks has to go to the hard working volunteers who kept it going over those years.I thought it was here to stay and would be a part of our culture forever.
I obviously spend way too much time reading literature or creating music playlists on 'Spotify' and so I tend to miss the boat when it comes to "fashionable" plants. Last year's Australian Garden Show Sydney featured display gardens using plants which cascade either from 'Green Walls', vertical gardens or hanging baskets; plus the Sydney re-development of the old Carlton and United Breweries site at Broadway, now known as Central Park, has fostered an interest in vertical gardens on a grand scale.
Many of the plants used in this style of gardening are either epiphytic, like the two pictured here, or are 'eco friendly' and have low water, fertilizer and maintenance requirements.
As a grower, the frustrating part of the demand for these type of plants is being able to keep up the supply; as you cut back your stock plants to next to nothing and then wait for ages till they grow back enough so as to take another batch of cuttings.
Just to confuse everyone,there are three or probably more scented leaf Pelargoniums which have the 'Snowflake' title. This is the Australian version which was bred by the late Mr Ted Both of South Australia who was a horticulturist and plant breeder of some renown by all accounts.It is a small shrubby plant and has large 'trilobed crenate' leaves which are well marked and flecked with creamy white. They have a fresh minty rose scent when crushed.
The American, Logee's Snowflake' is more of a spreading plant as it has the groundcover species capitatum as a parent, while 'Atomic Snowfake', also from the USA, has leaves edged with cream or yellow. It originated in Camden, Maine at the famous Merry Gardens Nursery of Mary Ellen Ross who specialized in scented Geraniums and herbs.
August is the worst month for me as I have very little stock ready to take to market. When you grow a lot of perennials, grasses and sub-tropical style plants you play a waiting game until the weather warms up and these plants come back to life. I am not one for pampering plants by supplying the sub-tropicals with a warm glasshouse over winter so instead they have to tough it out with temperatures of 5C when they prefer a minimum of 10C. Hibiscus keep on flowering despite the cold though the petals fade to a pastle colour and the double flowered varieties fail to open properly.
Winter flowering Hibiscus
In a week or so I start to propagate grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis by division. This task is not one I look forward to as the sharp edged leaf blades invariably cut deeply into fingers however careful you are to avoid it happening It is only succulents which look terrific at this time of year as many such as Echeveria and Crassula respond to the cold weather by producing richer and or more vibrant colours. The upcoming Australian Garden Show Sydney, which is on at Centennial Parklands from the 4th to the 7th of September, has been a real boon for growers and nursery owners this month as designers scramble to select the best plants on offer to use in their display gardens. Last year I had some of my large and in flower Dietes robinsoniana, the Lord Howe Island wedding Iris, used in a garden and this year a batch of my Agave americana 'Medio-Picta alba have been included in a design. This display garden is to dismantled and relocated after the show to a real home. I can't wait to see it.
This show was actually on last weekend and gives a terrific picture of what is in flower during the winter months on the South Coast of New South Wales in Australia. Sadly these events are not particularly well attended as ornamental horticulture loses ground to food production gardening.