Sunday, February 1, 2015

#FKA Hibiscus species

 Jacob Peter 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.
2017 update: I have stock in 140mm pots. 

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.