Sunday, November 23, 2014

Coreopsis grandiflora

Coreopsis grandiflora (Asteraceae)
 The genus Coreopsis comprises 120 herbaceous or shrubby species belonging to the daisy family and they occur in tropical Africa, Hawaii and America. Two of the herbaceous species most often found in gardens are C. auriculata, which is about 60cm tall, and C. grandiflora growing to about 1 metre tall. Garden varieties have been selected from both species and these tend to have golden-yellow flowers with a crimson-maroon blotch at the base of each ray-floret, or buttercup yellow flowers overlaid with Indian yellow. While the plain yellow form is now regarded as a roadside weed and rarely offered for sale, this one with the crimson blotch is quite decorative and is one not often available. 
2017 update: I am currently out of stock

Thursday, November 20, 2014

the library jacarandas

The local library building is painted a vibrant shade of burnt orange and has contrasting Jacarandas planted as street trees outside as well as in the adjacent park. They are at their peak right now.
2017 update: Trees have been removed by Council and not sure why?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ranunculus repens 'Buttered Popcorn'

Ranunculus repens 'Buttered Popcorn' (Ranunculaceae)
 The gold leaved form of this water loving buttercup is a real winner but it can be a bit invasive if given a damp spot in shade. I am keeping mine in a pot half submerged in water so it can be moved from sun in spring to deep shade at the height of summer. Technically you could describe it as a woodland margin plant fond of damp ditches in Northern Hemisphere locations and this selected form is useful for brightening dull  garden corners, though its leaves may become less yellow in deep shade.
There are some 400 species of buttercup found in temperate zones across the world including Australia. Most have shiny yellow ,cream or white flowers.

Bulbine frutescens

 Bulbine frutescens (Asphodelaceae)
This grassy onion leafed succulent is a recent find for me and one I see adding to the range of commercial plants I grow in time. Plants with attractive bright flowers which are able to tolerate dry shade are always welcome in my book. This 30cm high clump forming perennial groundcover is found growing in South Africa to Mozambique but has been much used in xeriscaping in Arizona, Texas and dry gardening communities in the US. A mention of it in a garden forum from a South Australian resident shows it does have a small fan base here, and the comment from that person praised its use as a sun burn cure in a similar way to Aloe vera.The 'tiny tangerine' flowers with their fluffy yellow stamens are carried on tall stems up to 60cm in length and are produced in succession up the stem from spring onwards.
2017 update: Failed to sell in the nursery trade market.

Neoregelia tigrina

 Neoregelia tigrina (Bromeliaceae)
All this talk about the alleged Parisian tiger on the loose, which may turn out to be just a large marmalade tabby on the prowl, got me thinking about the 'tiger' bromeliad. I bought this at a spring bromeliad show and it came already attached to a block of wood for placing in a tree or against a wall. It's a miniature species from Brazil with strikingly marked leaves and one which is tolerant of more sun than other species. I can't wait for it to get a bit bigger and start sending out new 'kittens' into the world.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fancy leaf Geraniums

Fancy-Leaf Geraniums
My interest in growing these goes back to the late 1990's when a small nursery called Pelargonium Place run by Marjorie Edwards at 40 Mistletoe street, Golden Square in Victoria became famous in the Geranium world for producing the 'Edwards' cultivars, with some even making their way back to Europe to the prestigious German nursery Pelargonien Fischer and perhaps eventually adorning a window-box in Munich or Zurich.
The fancy leaf ones, which often have insignificant flowers, provide year round colour and are ideal for balcony gardeners who want to brighten up a space which does not receive the sun all day. They are undemanding when it comes to watering and in fact may rot if given too much or when grown in too rich a potting soil. I just tidy mine up from time to time, removing spent leaves and take cuttings when they get too tall and leggy.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

collecting succulents

Starting out with Succulents
David L Jones
New Holland publishers Australia 2012

David Jones' name is synonymous with native plants so it was a surprise to find out he was a collector and enthusiast of succulents and bulbs, though the inclusion of native "succulents" eg Doryanthes makes this book true to form.  
As he lives on the south coast of NSW the information here is local and there is a terrific range of plants included. 
Because of their relative ease of propagation succulents often pop up at market stalls, usually without names, and with this book identification via photos and descriptions are made a whole lot simpler. I try and not collect too many plants these days but am always interested in trialing new plants to see if they have the potential to cross over from "collectible" to a commercial landscaping or garden specimen. Many make better container grown subjects and the little Cotyledon pictured below is a good example. I like the torpedo shaped leaves and the tiny stems carrying what will be bell shaped flowers. It's quite a cutie and as the flower stems are quite sticky perhaps it may have that ability like some other plants originating from nutrient poor soils of being able to trap tiny insects for a bit of extra food.
Cotyledon papillaris (Crassulaceae)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gypsophila paniculata 'Rosea'

Gypsophila paniculata 'Rosea' (Caryophyllaceae)

This compact Gypsophila species sold as potted colour during spring makes a wonderful foil for spiky leaved Yuccas or other architectural plants. The fine 'rosy veil' of little pink star flowers and delicate foliage look terrific when combined in this way, though as stand alone potted specimens or massed in a border they are equally at home.This one is so neat you feel like patting its wiry cushion shape. So far it has seemed fairly resistant to heat and dry and I am hoping for another month or so flowers.

an Echinopsis

Echinopsis in flower this week
The long funnel shaped flowers of this cactus appeared this week and they held my attention for the two days they were open, reminding me a bit of a waterlily with some of that same fragile beauty that waterlilies have. With flowering over it will go back to being a nasty little brute covered in spines and loved by only a few.
The genus Echinopsis includes plants originating from the lowlands of northeastern Argentina, southern Brazil and Paraguay as well as higher elevation locations of Bolivia and Argentina.