Friday, July 31, 2009

Tour de l'Amitie de Tahiti

The 16th Tour de l'Amitie de Tahiti (July 31st to August 8th 2009) begins tomorrow with teams from Tahiti, France , Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia competing over ten stages covering 735km of beautiful tropical garden landscapes.

Birds love Aloes

Aloes are at their peak flowering time and are much loved by rainbow lorikeets.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pine Leaf Geebung, Persoonia pinifolia

Persoonia pinifolia 
 Pine Leaf Geebung
This is a 3 metre shrub which is found growing around Sydney on sandy soils. Unfortunately it is not commonly grown in gardens because of the difficulty in propagation whether from seed or cuttings. Even if established in a garden it may succumb to one of the root rot fungus diseases which causes some native plants to drop dead overnight. This shrub has incredibly soft foliage and attractive yellow flowers which appear as dense racemes at the end of branches from March to May. The fruits which follow take the form of an oval fleshy berry-like drupe which have the old style attached, shown here as a sharp point at the end . The name geebung is from the aboriginal word jibbong. In South Australia and Western Australia, the genus Persoonia are given the common name of snottygobbles! What a name.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora 'Flapjacks'

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora 
The leaves of this popular succulent, which is given the common name of 'Flapjacks', turn a brilliant red during winter. It is a great pot plant and may be grown on a sunny windowsill indoors or mass planted in a garden bed where its sculptural form can be enjoyed .It contrasts well with grasses or soft perennials. In summer it produces a tall stem of flowers. When the flower stem is cut away a large number of basal divisions will form around the central flower stem. These can be removed with a knife if you want to grow new plants.
2017 update: I usually have some stock available at any given time but mainly in the cooler months.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A posy of Violets today

A violet in the youth of primy nature
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting.
The perfume and suppliance of a minute.

William Shakespeare :Hamlet iii. 7.

Orchid Show

Some exotic Orchids on display from the Shoalhaven Orchid Society who held their winter show recently in the town of Berry.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Melaleuca micromera

Melaleuca micromera
 This small native shrub with its twisted conifer like appearance and mass of yellow flowers is an ideal specimen to use in a Japanese style garden or in a rock garden. The minute leaves are only 1mm long by 0.7mm wide and the equally petite flowers are borne in clusters for several months. It is found growing in a small area of Western Australia and is classified as rare.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Black Coral Pea, Kennedia nigricans

Kennedia nigricans
 Black Coral Pea
Endemic to the coastal districts of South Western Australia between Cape Riche and Hopetoun, this climber is a rampant quick growing plant which flowers from June to November.The unusual flowers are 30mm long and are black with a prominent yellow blotch. Because of their dark colour they remain somewhat hidden amongst the large 3 lobed leaves, but still manage to attract lots of nectar feeding birds.It is an ideal climber to use as a fence cover or even as a ground cover in semi-shaded sites or under Eucalyptus trees.It will tolerate light to moderate frosts.
2017 update: I occasionally have plants available for sale.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Magnolia X soulangeana

Magnolia x soulangeana
This Magnolia is at its peak of flowering at the moment . There are lots of new cultivars available as well but this one is the hardiest and easiest to grow. It used to flower in August but like many plants it has responded to milder Winter temperatures and comes into flower from mid July.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Banksia media

Banksia media with a flower the colour of the Maillot Jaune
Banksia media
 Southern Plains Banksia

A Banksia from Western Australia which is in flower now at the Illawarra Grevillea Park. This is one species which does well on the east coast The flowers are a remarkable glowing yellow and visible from quite a distance . This specimen was about 2 metres tall and of fairly open straggling habit, suggesting that pruning to shape may be needed to give it a better overall appearance.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Geraldton Wax, Chamaelaucium uncinatum

Chamaelaucium uncinatum
 Geraldton Wax
Native to the coastal sands of the Irwin district of Western Australia, this shrub has been in cultivation for a long time and is well known in the cut flower trade both here and overseas. It is a fine leafed shrub with an open habit which grows to about 2 metres. Flowers vary in colour from white to all shades of pink.It has the reputation for being a bit difficult to grow in the garden as it requires a well drained but moist soil and a climate of low summer humidity. Because its growth habit tends to be sparse, it is best planted in groups of 5 or more and kept well pruned after it has finished flowering. It is a great shrub for seaside gardens and the flowers release a honey fragrance in the warm days of late winter and early spring.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Illawarra Camellia Show 2009

"Violet Bouquet"

"Kogane Nishiki"

"Ted Craig"


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Illawarra Camellia Show 2009

The 57th Annual Camellia Show presented by Camellias Illawarra Inc July 18th ,19th 2009
Champion Collection of seven

"Man-Size" Champion Miniature
"Grand Slam" Reserve Champion of Show

"Al Gunn" Grand Champion of Show
Susie Fortson" Champion Illawarra Exhibit of Show
"Dr Louis Polizzi" Champion Collection of three

"Spring Daze" Champion Non-Reticulata Hybrid

"Tony Hunt" Champion Australian Raised Cultivar.

Greenhood Orchid, Pterostylis sp.

Pterostylis species
  Greenhood Orchid
There are more than 70 species of this Australian Orchid found growing in coastal habitats, the dry inland and alpine areas. They adapt well to cultivation and make interesting plants to grow in pots requiring a well drained but evenly moist potting compost containing sand and humus. Kept in a shaded protected location and feed using a weak solution of liquid manure, most species make rapid growth producing flowers at various times of the year depending on the species.
2017 update: Did see some for sale last year from a grower.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Elegia capensis, Fountain Rush

Elegia capensis
  Fountain Rush
This is a striking foliage plant from South Africa which forms a large clump to about 3 metres tall. It naturally grows close to streams in Winter rainfall areas which dry out in Summer, so technically it could be included with water plants. Trouble is, in areas with summer rainfall it can rot and die back especially under humid coastal conditions. This was the case when I grew it. It is probably better suited to places with a cool temperate or Mediterranean climate or, if growing on the coast, it needs to be placed in a raised garden bed. It is an excellent contrast plant with spiky or stiff foliaged plants.The stems also make wonderful cut flowers when they produce the red-brown arching tassel flower in Spring.
2017 update: Have not seen it available in the nursery trade for a number of years.