Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Jacobean Lily, Spreklia formosissima

Jacobean or Aztec Lily, Spreklia formosissima

This lily has just gone dormant so I have been dividing up some clumps and separating offsets from the main bulbs for replanting. It is one of those tough easy care bulbs which is native to Mexico and Guatemala and will grow across a range of climates as long as it gets a freely draining soil. In colder frosty areas it is better to wait till early Spring to plant out the bulbs or they can be grown in a pot which is best kept on the dry side over winter.In warmer climates they can be left undisturbed for years in the same spot and can even be dug up in summer if you want to share a few plants with friends. The main flowering time is early spring but flowers can occur at intervals throughout summer as well. If growing it in a pot it makes an interesting and unusual plant to bring indoors when in flower, especially if you love a splash of deep crimson or scarlet contrasting with a glossy black container.
2017 update: I no longer have this plant unfortunately.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Woody Pear

Pear shaped seed pods of Xylomelum angustifolium from WA
I am reading Barbara York Main's book in which she writes fondly of the Woody Pear tree growing in small pockets of uncleared bushland in the Western Australian Wheatbelt: Tassels of heavy scented, small white tubular flowers hung from the terminal branchlets of the woody pear trees... distal to the bizarre clumps of 'pears' arranged in groups along the branches, each clump representing the fruits of past successive flowerings. Growing elsewhere in association with the 'pears' the large orange flower heads of Banksia prionotes were coming into bloom.......
The Woody Pear tree of New South Wales is Xylomelum pyriforme and as a protected plant it cannot be propagated or offered for sale in Nurseries. I once saw a specimen growing in an old "mansion" garden in the Sydney suburb of Darling Point. It was probably left behind amongst the largely exotic plantings because of the quaintly decorative fruit which were a popular florist item before the protection status was given in the mid 20th century.

Xylomelum pyriforme
Woody Pear by Edward Minchen (1862-1913)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Saying no to plastic pots

Inspiring Nurserywoman Kerry Mitchell

Kerry Mitchell is a woman with a mission,that is to only sell plants grown in biodegradable pots. Her coir fibre pots cost about 50 cents more than the plastic ones but buyers are happy to pay the extra if it means making a more sustainable choice in their gardening endeavours. As Kerry pointed out to me, it also means that plants which resent root disturbance when being placed in the ground can be planted pot and all without any trouble. Inexperienced gardeners or children will welcome this idea as they learn about growing plants for the first time.
In the past I have sold plants in pots made from compressed rice hulls but ran into problems with size, shape and supply. Meeting Kerry has given me inspiration to try and follow her lead.

Biodegradable coir fibre pots