Inspirational and Dreamy Garden Books: Part One: Inspiring Books and Garden Travel Books

As the growing season slows down and we head towards the cooler weather, it is lovely to know that we have some beautiful, dreamy and inspirational books to browse by the fire in Winter! As editor, Ferris Cook, writes on page 12 in the foreword to his book, ‘Invitation to the Garden’, the first book featured below : ‘ Like so many other gardeners separated from their gardens by darkness, miles or inclement weather, I love to read about other gardens when I can’t be in mine’. I have divided these books into four sections :

  • Inspiring books about gardening and plants in general
  • General garden travel books
  • Books about specific gardens
  • Books about specific plants

And once again, this post is too long – too many wonderful books and too much to say about them! – so I have divided it into three posts : Part One on beautiful garden publications and general garden travel books (today); Part Two on specific overseas gardens (May); and Part Three on books about Australian gardens and specific plants (June).

Inspiring books about gardening and plants in general

Invitation to the Garden: A Celebration in Literature and Photography, edited by Ferris Cook 1992

The perfect title to start a post on garden books and it certainly lives up to the claim of its subtitle, as well as its reputation! Indeed, it was the winner of the 1992 Award for Excellence in Garden Communication from the Garden Writers’ Association of America. Divided into seasons, it is a wonderful read, which can be dipped into at random, always finding an interesting snippet or pertinent quote, poem or prose and always accompanied by the most beautiful sumptuous photos by specialist garden photographers: Ping Amranand; Ken Druse; Richard Felber; Mick Hales; Harry Haralambou; Peter C. Jones; Peter Margonelli; Hugh Palmer; and Curtice Taylor.

A good example is the very first entry in Spring, ‘Down the Garden Path’ by Beverley Nichols, in which she describes that familiar daily habit of all gardeners, ‘Making the Tour’, involving a detailed examination of every square inch of the garden and noting all new discoveries and happenings! In reality, I probably do this at least three or four times a day!!!

There are poems by Homer and Shakespeare; John Donne and Robert Herrick; the three Williams (excluding Shakespeare, as he was so much earlier!) : William Cowper, William Blake and William Wordsworth; Matthew Arnold and Emily Dickinson; two Roberts :  Robert Bridges and Robert Frost; A A Milne and Virginia Woolf; Rainer Maria Rilke and William Carlos Williams (that’s two more Williams in one!!); Pablo Neruda; W H Auden; Sylvia Plath; and e e cummings; and that’s only a fraction of them!

There are also excerpts by Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Old Manse); Ivan Turgenev (The Rose); Lewis Carroll (The Garden of Live Flowers); William Morris (Collected Letters: Kelmscott); Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden); Edith Wharton (Italian Garden Magic); E A Bowles (The Passing of Summer); H G Wells (The Flowering of the Strange Orchid); Colette (The Ways of Wisteria; and Hellebores); John Steinbeck (The Chrysanthemums); and Laurie Lee (Segovia-Madrid), again only a small selection of the entries! Hopefully, the titles are enough to entice you to search out this book!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (430)

The Illustrated Virago Book of Women Gardeners, edited by Deborah Kellaway 1997

An equally delightful coffee-table book to be enjoyed at leisure! Illustrated with beautiful artwork and superb photographs throughout, this anthology of musings by women garden writers is divided (for easy reference) into chapters, titled : Weeders and Diggers; Advisers and Designers; Plantswomen; Colourists; Countrywomen; Townswomen; Visitors and Travellers; Kitchen Gardeners; Flower Arrangers and Visionaries. Its writers represent a ‘Who’s Who’ of the gardening world with names like Gertrude Jekyll;  Alicia Amherst, Elizabeth von Arnim, Norah Lindsay, Beatrix Farrand, Constance Spry, Vita Sackville-West, Margery Fish, Edna Walling, Beth Chatto, Penelope Hobhouse, Rosemary Verey, Nancy Steen, Mary Keen, Valerie Finnis, Ursula Buchan, Joy Larkcom, Jane Taylor and Mirabel Osler, but there are so many other authors!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (432)Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations by Ken Druse and Ellen Hoverkamp  2012

I loved both the first two books equally well, but I ADORED this book! This would have to be the mosr beautiful book I have ever seen ! Every page is such a visual treat and showcases all the incredible treasures our Earth holds and their infinite diversity of colour, form, texture and function! Absolutely stunning photography, both of beautiful gardens and separate plant combinations, presented dramatically against a black background in the style of a combination of 1920s and 1930s American photographer, Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) (https://www.imogencunningham.com/plants/) and English botanical collage artist, Mrs. Mary Delany, whose beautiful paper collages can be seen at: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Mary+Delany. While I knew the work of Mary Delany, which inspired my floral collage cards (see: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/08/ambassadors-of-spring/), I did not know of Imogen Cunningham, but have fallen in love with all her work, from plant studies and still lifes to portraits and romantic family shots; the beauty of the human body (nudes; dancers) and her street scenes and landscapes. I particularly loved her photographs of the stunning architectural blooms of the Bull Bay Magnolia (Magnolia Blossom 1925 and Magnolia Blossom, Tower of Jewels, 1925), as can be seen in the above link.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (455)

Ellen creates her floral photographs, using a flatbed scanner and produces images of unparalleled depth, colour and beauty. I found it impossible to select a favourite plate to show you, but here are some examples:

There are over 100 species botanical images of plants, which bloom simultaneously and compliment each other perfectly. They are organized by theme: seasons; plant families; form and function; colour; place (eg woods; open spaces; damp areas; rocky sites) and purpose (eg fragrance; butterflies; edible flowers; secret; literary; boxed; health and beauty; art; and nighttime). It is such a beautiful book and a lovely one to dip into whenever you get a chance! I cannot recommend it highly enough! Appendices include a list of edible flowers and flower meanings.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd60%Image (463)The Language of Flowers: a Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh  2011

A totally different book, both to the previous three coffee-table books, this one being a first-time novel, but also refreshingly original in concept and style. Based on the Victorian language of flowers, a compendium of which is included in the back of the book, this novel is written in first person, following the life of Victoria, an ex-foster child and florist and exploring complex themes like maternal love, forgiveness and redemption. Being a flower arranger, I was instantly attracted to this book and once started, I could not put it down! It is so easy to read and so hard to put down!  Plus, I have used the flower dictionary constantly, when making my floral collage cards for friends and family.

BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd40%Image (450) - CopyBlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd20%IMG_0499BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd20%IMG_0501Seasons at Home: Food, Family, Friends and Style by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2011

Another lovely offering from Holly Kerr Forsyth with her trademark style of seasonal projects and delicious recipes and preserves. I have given friends copies of some of her other books: Country Gardens, Country Hospitality and Seasons in My House and Garden: see http://www.hollyforsyth.com.au/shop/books.html  ;  https://www.bookdepository.com/Seasons-My-House-Garden-Holly-Kerr-Forsyth/9780522857825 and https://www.bookdepository.com/Country-Gardens-Country-Hospitality-Visit-Australias-Best-Holly-Kerr-Forsyth/9780522864793.

Both are beautiful books, which I would love to own one day, but in the meantime, I am enjoying this smaller book: Seasons at Home! While this book would fit equally well into my cookery book post later in the year, I have included it here because of its gardening and flower arranging content. Her photographs, styling and interiors are so beautiful and inspiring, how could I do otherwise!! Also, this book is a perfect lead-in to the next section with the first book also written by this knowledgeable lady!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (433)

 General Garden Travel Books

Gardens of Eden: Among the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2009

A Christmas present in 2012, when I was studying garden design at Burnley, this beautiful book covers fifty of the world’s most beautiful and famous gardens. Lavishly illustrated with over 500 photos, the gardens are divided into chapters titled : Lessons in Garden History; A Sense of Place; The Designer in the Garden; The Gardens of Politicians, Writers, Artists and Collectors; Clipped Perfection; Grand Passions and Private Pleasures; Water Delights; and Places to Pray or Play In. They span different historical periods, garden styles and cultures from the Paradise Gardens of Ancient Persia to the romantic rose-covered ruins of Ninfa and the Italian Renaissance gardens in Italy; the wildflower meadows of William Robinson’s Gravetye Manor to the Arts and Crafts gardening style of Gertrude Jekyll-Edwin Lutyens (Upton Grey and Hestercombe) in England and Beatrix Farrand’s Dumbarton Oaks in the United States of America; the famous gardens of Sissinghurst Castle (UK), Le Canadel (France) and the island gardens of Isola Bella, Isola Madre and La Mortella (Italy); and  the Buddhist-inspired gardens of China and Japan, not to mention Australian country gardens like Bentley (Tasmania), Jack’s Ridge (Victoria) and Nooroo, Bebeah and the Berman Gardens (NSW). A wonderful book for armchair travel and research for your next garden adventure!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (435)A Photographic Garden History by Roger Phillips and Nicky Foy 1995

For a more in-depth look at garden history, predominantly through photographs! This book is organized into three main sections. The first part covers the European Tradition, starting with Roman peristyle gardens and moving chronologically from Islamic influences to Italian Renaissance gardens; the French Formal movement and the romantic/ potager style in France; the Baroque German and Dutch gardens; and the British medieval gardens to the English Landscape movement; Victorian and Edwardian gardens and natural gardening styles. The second section focuses on Chinese gardens, while the third section explores Japanese gardens. The text is backed up with featured gardens with specific details and notes on their date and features, as well as their place and importance within the particular historical background. Throughout the book are topics of pertinent interest to the time period or garden style, covering a broad range of subjects from garden elements (potagers; parterres and carpet bedding; topiary and mazes; rockeries; water features (lakes; ponds and pools; waterfalls and fountains); the concept of garden rooms and borrowed landscapes; and specific gardens for roses, natives and Autumn foliage colour) to garden structures (garden buildings and furniture; arbours and arches; follies and grottoes; steps and staircases; gates and fences; and even ha-ha walls) and decorative techniques (trompe l’oeil; shellwork; mosaics; sculptures; and pots and urns). I initially borrowed this book from the library, but found it to be so comprehensive and interesting that I just had to order it for my horticultural library!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (436)

The Gardens of Europe, edited by Penelope Hobhouse and Patrick Taylor 1990

Edited by garden writing doyens, Penelope Hobhouse and Patrick Taylor, this book focuses on 700 European gardens, open to the public, from the Mediterranean gardens of Southern Europe (Italy, France, Spain and Portugal); the cooler, more temperate gardens of Northern Europe (Great Britain and Ireland; Belgium; Holland and Scandinavia); and the gardens of Central Europe (Austria, Switzerland and West Germany) and the Balkans, East Europe and Russia (Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Greece; Hungary; Poland; Romania; European Russia; Turkey and the then, Yugoslavia). Even though this is quite an old book now and the details of opening hours and admission charges might be out-of-date, the basic information about its history, general design and prominent features is still relevant and is a starting point for further up-to-date research. There is a biographical list or principal architects, garden designers and gardeners in the back, as well as a glossary and bibliography of further books (guide books and history) to read.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (437)

Gardens of Persia by Penelope Hobhouse 2006

I have always loved the underlying concepts of the Islamic garden : an enclosed protected paradise with a quadripartite layout (a four-fold pattern called chahar bagh) and watercourses forming the principal and secondary axes, all meeting at a central pool or pavilion and representing the four rivers of life. They are full of colourful flowers and bulbs, shady fruit trees and birdsong; a place for contemplation and spiritual nourishment; and a little oasis in a challenging hot and dry climate, the latter, which I suspect will be increasingly valued in our Western world with the increasing temperatures and prevalence of drought with climate change. In this book, Penelope explores these notions, as well as the elements and history of Islamic garden design; the climate and environment; flowers and trees planted and of course, the spiritual dimension. Throughout the book, she provides many examples of Islamic gardens from Cyrus the Great’s garden at Pasargadae 2,500 years ago, Timur’s gardens at Samarkand (late 1300s); his son Shah Rokh’s gardens at Herat (1400s); and Bagh-e-Fin (1504) and other Safavid gardens to the 18th century gardens of Shiraz, ‘city of roses and nightingagles, cypresses and wine, and poetry and painted miniatures’: Bagh-e-Eram (Garden of Heaven); Bagh-e Golshan (1760s); and Bagh-e Shahzadeh (Prince’s Garden 1880s); the Mostoufi Garden, Tehran, 1930s; the geometric Moorish gardens of Southern Spain like the Generalife and the Mughal gardens of Northern India and Kashmir. All, of course, accompanied by beautiful Islamic architecture! In the back, notes on each garden for travellers, lists of the royal houses of Persia and Persian plants and a glossary of Persian terms. A very interesting and informative book, as well as a feast for the eyes! Readers, who want more information on Islamic Gardens may be interested in these links : http://gardendrum.com/2017/02/24/take-the-ancient-silk-road-to-a-2500-year-old-garden/ and http://gardendrum.com/2017/02/23/berber-home-and-garden-morocco/.

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The Secret Gardens of France by Mirabel Osler 1992

I have already briefly mentioned this book in my post on Favourite Rose Books (see: https://candeloblooms.com/category/rose-books/), as it described one of my favourite bucket-list French rose gardens, La Bonne Maison, as well as the roses of André Eve. However, it discusses 18 other gardens in France from productive potagers to medieval herb gardens; Nicole de Vesian’s architectural topiaried balls of lavender and rosemary in the Luberon to a coastal garden in Brittany; and another bucket-list garden, Le Jardin des Cinq Sens at Chateau d’Yvoire on the shores of Lac Leman. Mirabel has a lovely writing style- very chatty, enthusiastic and inclusive- and all the gardeners featured are very inspiring! While many of the gardens are private and not open to the public, this book is a lovely read with a wealth of ideas and information.

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Kitchen Gardens of France by Louisa Jones 1997

I would love to do a garden tour with Louisa Jones (see: http://www.louisajones.fr/) !!! While she has written many books on the gardens of Provence and the French Riviera, this particular book is about French kitchen gardens. She examines Heritage Gardens (medieval plots; renaissance gardens; potagers and heirloom vegetables ); Grassroots Gardening (from country potagers in the Ardeche to village greens and community gardens; city allotments in Paris and hortillinages (floating islands) in Amiens; and Hmong gardens at Alençon in Normandy); Dream and Utopian Paradises (the jardin de curé style; Rousseau’s orchard-garden; Pigeard’s mystic metalwork; photographer, Denis Brihat’s alchemist workshop in Provence and another bucket-list garden, the organic  garden of Terre Vivante in the Domaine de Raud in the Alps); and Vegetable Graces (gastronomic  creations and designer visions; Gilles Clement’s moving potager; and future fashions). This last chapter has an in-depth look at the Gardens For the Five Senses, mentioned in Mirabel Osler’s book. The text is supported by many showcase gardens and beautiful seductive photographs. It is such a dreamy inspirational book! Details about each garden featured can be found in the back. For more ideas about gardens to visit, it is worth consulting Louisa’s blog (http://www.louisajones.fr/blog/index) and Links pages (http://www.louisajones.fr/links).

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The French Country Garden by Louisa Jones 2000/ 2005

A very recent addition to my library and a wonderful find! Thank you, Denise! I was delighted to add this book to my library, as it discusses many French gardeners and their gardens, whose names I knew, but were not necessarily covered by my other books like Nicole Arboireau on the French Riviera; Doudou Bayol in Provence (what an amazing sense of colour!); Martine and Francois Lemonnier, who have the National Collection Label (CCVS) for Meconopsis and Hellebores, in Normandy; Mme Marie-Joseph Teillard in the foothills of the Pyrenees; Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurières at Cordes-sur-Ciel; Eléonore Cruse at La Roseraie de Berty in the Ardèche; as well as old favourites like Alain Richert of the Garden of the Five Senses, Yvoire; Nicole de Vésian in Provence; Gilles Clément of the Centre Terre Vivante at the Domaine de Raud and the different biomes of Le Domaine du Rayol. These gardens and more are discussed in depth in her chapters, each featuring three gardens, and titled : Intimate Country Gardens; A Passion for Plants; Celebration of the Senses; Formal Play; Nature’s Ways; and Planetary Perspectives. The photos again are superb and complement the text perfectly. Another beautiful book to browse…!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (543)Great Gardens of Britain by Helena Attlee 2011

A lovely book about 20 wonderful gardens in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. A difficult task selecting only twenty garden, but those chosen celebrate their diversity in garden styles, plants, settings and history. This is a wonderful guide with beautiful glossy photos and is essential reading for those planning a garden trip to Great Britain. Inspired and informed by this very book, I would love to visit Charles Jenck’s earthworks and waveforms at his Garden of Cosmic Speculation on the one day of the year it is open !; Ian Hamilton Finlay’s concrete poetry at Little Sparta; the famous topiary at Levens Hall; Scampton’s perennial naturalistic meadow, designed by Piet Oudolf; the rhododendrons and five terraces of Bodnant, North Wales, including its famous Laburnum Arch; the lakes and classical temples of Stourhead; Lawrence Johnston’s garden rooms at Hidcote Manor; Christopher Lloyd’s herbaceous borders of Great Dixter; the restored gardens of the East Ruston Old Vicarage and Beth Chatto’s gravel gardens; the holy grail of old rose gardens, Sissinghurst Castle, made famous by Vita Sackville-West, with its garden rooms and  white garden; the extensive plant collections, trial gardens and scientific research laboratories of Wisley, the home and flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society; the futuristic environmentally-controlled geodesic domes of the Eden Project, the brain child of Tim Smit;  and the unlikely Mediterranean-style gardens of Tresco Abbey in the warmer climes of the remote Scilly Isles in the English Channel. Addresses and websites for all the gardens are listed in the back. We have already visited Kew Gardens twice, but it is such a wonderful garden, that I would always include it whenever I visit England and I would really like to see the Marianne North Gallery, which is devoted solely to the wonderful paintings of this amazing Victorian botanical artist and explorer. See: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/explore/attractions/marianne-north-gallery and http://www.kew.org/mng/marianne-north.html, specifically: http://www.kew.org/mng/gallery/index.html.

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For those of us who may not travel overseas again, this form of armchair travel is a wonderful alternative! This book explored many gardens, not covered in the other books. Another book that I would love to find is Around the World in 80 Gardens by Monty Don, see : https://www.bookdepository.com/Around-World-80-Gardens-Monty-Don/9780297844501, as I really enjoy his films, but fortunately the film version of his book can be seen on YouTube. For Episode 1, see : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uityVe6OkCk. For a guide to the episodes, see : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008x9bh/episodes/guide.

Garden Guides and Garden Design Books

A comprehensive garden library is essential for planning and designing a garden and a wonderful way to pass a Winter evening, when the Spring seems such a long way away! Here are some of the books in my library, but please note this is by no means an exhaustive list, but just some of my favourites that I tend to read constantly!

1.Garden Reference Guides

First up, the  Garden Plant Series by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix.

I have already mentioned their book on Roses (1994) in my previous garden book post, but they have also compiled books on Bulbs (over 1000 types) 1981; Shrubs (over 1900 types) 1989; and Perennials (Over 1250 plants in two volumes) : Volume 1: Early Perennials and Volume 2: Late Perennials 1994.

While both authors are British, they do include plants from all over the world, including Australia. Their introduction includes brief notes on plant history and origins in the wild; their use in the garden; propagation, planting, cultivation and pruning notes; and pests and diseases, as well as full colour photographs of all the species of a particular plant type. Each book starts with plants which flower in Winter and then progresses through the seasonal cycle.

Martyn and Roger have also produced a set of mini-guides: The Best Scented Plants (over 200 types); Plants for Shade (over 250 plants); Traditional Old Roses; and Climbers for Walls and Arbours – all published by Pan in 1998 and all a delightful read!

Martyn Rix also wrote the Kew Subtropical and Dry Climate Guide in 2006, a book which will become increasingly important with the rising temperatures and droughts, associated with climate change. It has an excellent plant directory of trees, shrubs and climbers, perennials and annuals, bulbs and cacti and succulents from Mediterranean regions, South Africa, California and Mexico, China and India and Australia and New Zealand, all with low water requirements. Each entry lists different species in the family, their origin and use, height and spread specifications and notes about their cultivation, drought tolerance and hardiness and humidity requirements, as well as having lovely photos. I will be discussing some other excellent books on this subject in my post : Specific Types of Gardens: Part Two next month.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-346

The Essential Plant Guide: Every Plant Guide You Need For Your Garden (For Australian and New Zealand Gardens) 2013  is a real door stopper of a book with chapters on Trees; Shrubs; Annuals and Perennials, Grasses, Sedges and Bamboos; Fruit and Nut Trees; Bulbs, Corms and Tubers; Cacti and Succulents! Each chapter is alphabetically organized according to genus name with descriptions, photographs and cultivation notes and top tips and a table of favourite varieties with details of colour, fragrance, height and width, blooming season, hardiness zone and frost tolerance. It includes an illustrated  guide to fruit and leaf types to make description easier.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-337

Australian Gardening Encyclopaedia by Random House 1998 is a similar book with a hardiness zone map and notes on garden design, basic design principles, planting and maintenance techniques and pests and diseases. It covers similar categories of plants, as well as Vegetables and Herbs; Ferns, Palms and Cycads; Lawns and Ground Covers, Climbers and Creepers and even Orchids, again organized by genus name. At the back is an alphabetically – ordered Reference Table, detailing growth, form and use; hardiness zone; type of foliage (deciduous or evergreen); height and width; chief attraction; flowering time and special comments about each plant. The entries are shorter, but there are probably more plants covered.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-338

The Royal Horticultural Society Garden Plants and Flowers in Australia by Ian Spence 2009 is a slightly smaller tome, but equally valuable as a reference guide. Each section starts with notes about the plant type throughout the year, with a series of photos for each season with their page number for easy reference. Chapters include : Trees and Shrubs – the backbone to the garden; Climbing Plants – the vertical element; Flowering Plants – for colour and fragrance; and Bamboos, Grasses and Ferns –  for foliage, background colour, texture and year-round interest. There is also a chapter on Planting and Caring for Plants and very useful lists of suitable plants for particular areas like exposed sites; seaside gardens; dry sun; damp shade; dry shade; deep shade; acid soils; chalky alkaline soils; rock gardens; bog gardens and sloping sites;  or particular needs, like ornamental herbs and fragrant plants.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-339From the Ground Up: A Complete Guide For Victorian Gardeners by Jane Edmanson 2009 : I bought this book, while we were living in Victoria, but found it to be a very useful guide in Southern New South Wales as well. As a long-term Victorian presenter for ABC’s Gardening Australia, Jane really knows her subject and is a mine of information on gardening in Victoria. She discusses the Victorian climate and soils in depth, including ways of improving the soil, different types of compost and fertilizers; watering and mulching; propagation techniques and transplanting seedlings; pruning; and garden design. Then, there are the chapters on Australian natives; exotic species for sun, shade and colour; the productive garden;  potted plants; lawns; pests and diseases; weeds and a gardening calendar of garden tasks for each month.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-345Another self-professed Australian botanical bible is The Constant Gardener by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2007. Holly has written a large number of articles about gardening for The Australian, as well as many beautiful books with sumptuous photography. I love her books, some of which I will describe in a later post on dreamy inspirational gardening books, but this one definitely belongs here!

Part One covers the Australian seasons, landscapes and environmental concerns, including global warming, drought, increasing salinity and the threat of feral weeds (as well as possible management strategies and sustainable practices). In Part Two, Holly  discusses some of her favourite plants, which I also adore. She includes a description of her favourite varieties, their use in the garden, planting, requirements and care and the odd anecdote and recipe, as is typical of her style.

Part Three covers grouped garden elements: borders, edgings and ground-covers; lawns and grasses; hedges and climbers; trees, conifers and shrubs; native plants; succulents and tropical plants; and  fruit, herbs and spices; while Part Four gets down to the nitty-gritty of maintaining a healthy garden with chapters on soil and fertilizers; compost and mulch; propagation, pruning and transplanting; and pests, diseases and weeds.

Part Five covers garden design; colour and scent and plants for shady areas.  In Part Six, Holly looks at garden structures; gardening in small spaces; hardscaping: paths and paving, steps; edgings and seats; fences and walls; entrances and gates; supports and structures; lighting; pots; sculptures; water features and flower arranging. And finally, she takes us on a Cook’s Tour of all her favourite types of gardens throughout the world, including Chinese and Japanese gardens; foliage gardens; vegetable gardens; community gardens; mazes, knots and parterres; meadow gardens; rose gardens; native gardens; seaside gardens and water-wise gardens- all with lovely photos and examples. At the back of the book, she includes contact details for many of the gardens cited throughout the book. It’s a lovely book to dip into at random and I highly recommend it!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-361

Garden Shrubs and Trees in Colour by Eigel Kiaer 1959 is a delightful little hardback gem, which I picked up in a second-hand book sale. While there are descriptive notes in the back of the book, I adore its quirky little colour plates with numbered illustrations of each species and tiny black-and-white sketches of the gardener going about his chores and the tree in relation to house height. The gardener always has a pipe in his mouth and is engaged in various activities from lawn mowing to raking, pushing a wheelbarrow, digging and watering and just admiring the view!

bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-344-copybloggardendesignbksreszd30image-376Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon 1990 A basic knowledge of botany is invaluable to the gardener for an understanding of plant requirements and correct maintenance for optimal growth. This excellent little book has very clear explanations and covers :

Plant anatomy, right down to cell structure, and that of seeds, roots, shoots, and  stems;

Adaptation mechanisms for protection and fulfilment of basic needs including: competition between plants; reaching for the sun; climbing structures; epiphytes; supportive roots; water uptake and storage, parasitic plants and insectivorous plants.

Plant functions: including growth and development; environmental control; water uptake; osmosis; photosynthesis; and gas exchange with the atmosphere.  And finally,

Reproduction: including flower pollination, the reproductive process; seed dispersal; fruit types; plant classification; genetics; and the life cycle of mosses and ferns.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-355

Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names For Gardeners by William T Stearn  1996 is a great reference guide to the origin and meaning of the plant’s scientific name, covering both genus and species names. For example, one of the only two scientific names my eldest daughter learnt: Callicoma serratifolia , a rainforest tree, which used to grow down by our creek in Northern New South Wales. ‘Calli-’ comes from the Greek word ‘kalli’, meaning ‘beautiful’; ‘-coma’ from the Greek word  ‘kome’, meaning ‘hair’, thus referring to the soft gold, tufted flowerheads of this tree. ‘Serratifolia’ refers to the serrated or saw-tooth edges of its leaves. It is such an interesting book, as it often includes extra fascinating facts, as well as a chapter on vernacular names.

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  1. Garden Design Books :

2A. Garden Design Principles

Down-to-Earth garden Design by Phil Dudman : How To Design and Build Your Dream Garden 2010. I bought this book when I was studying garden design at Burnley and it backed up my study brilliantly. It covers all the basics, as well as providing ready-made garden designs for different garden configurations, and very practical information about actually achieving your design from building retaining walls, steps, pergolas and ponds to installing drainage, laying concrete and pavers, establishing new lawns and planting, composting, mulching and irrigation. A very useful book to own!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-351

Art and the Gardener : Fine Painting as Inspiration for Garden Design by Gordon Hayward  2008 is a relatively new addition to my library. Because my gardening library is quite extensive, with a  book on most gardening topics, as well as the marvels of the internet, I am now very choosy when it comes to actually purchasing a book, but this one was on sale and looked at garden design in quite a novel way, so how could I resist? On reading it over Christmas, I’m so glad I didn’t! It’s a beautiful book, especially if like me, you love art and gardens. It’s a natural match really, when you think about it. Both art and gardens are governed by similar design elements and principles like line and form, colour and scale, texture, contrast, balance and harmony etc. Gordon relates different art movements to garden style: romanticism, classical axial, impressionism, cubism, minimalism, abstract expressionism and contemporary. He examines the relationship between house and garden in some detail, as well as rules of composition and design principles, including curves and straight lines; focal points; light and shade; contrast in texture and colour; transition spaces; and vertical elements. He has a large chapter on colour harmony or contrast, with suggestions of plants of different colours and seasons and an appendix on colour symbolism in different cultures. Throughout the book are beautiful photographs of artworks and gardens – a real visual treat, as well as really making you think and analyze both art and gardens.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-352

Garden Enchantment: Creative Design with Annuals and Perennials by Cheryl Maddocks 1992 This is a lovely dreamy book, covering colour design (including lists of flowers for different colour themes); fragrance; planting combinations; perennial borders and annuals; different garden types (meadow; natural; flower arrangers; herbs and edible flowers; pots and situations like  shade and night-time); as well as chapters on soil preparation; maintenance and propagation. There are selection lists for annuals and perennials at the back of the book, with descriptions and cultivation notes.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-350

2B. Elements of Design

  1. Colour

The Gardener’s Book of Colour by Andrew Lawson 1996.  I bought this book after hearing a talk by Andrew Lawson in Armidale in 1998, when he was visiting Australia. After discussing colour theory, he focuses on gardening with single colours (with planting suggestions for each season); harmonies and contrasts; and mixed colour combinations. At the back of the book, he includes keyline drawings with full  planting details for the major schemes discussed. I love his beautiful photographs and his brilliant colour combinations from bold and dramatic to harmonious and peaceful. His plant directories provide cultivation details for over 850 plants. I found his section on green colours particularly useful, as the backdrop to the garden throughout all seasons.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-349Planting For Colour by Susan Chivers 1988 is also an excellent book on colour, with a double page spread devoted to each colour and notes on the association between colour and moods, including planting suggestions for each desired emotional effect eg calming; exciting; dramatic; subtle; and sophisticated. It examines the use of colour in different situations like small town gardens; country gardens; woodland gardens; water gardens; and seaside gardens with planting suggestions throughout. She  also looks at hard landscaping and containers. The final half of the book is devoted to ensuring the maximum use of colour throughout all the seasons from early Spring to late Winter, with double page plant profiles of dominant plants in each season eg magnolias and miniature daffodils in early Spring; and  early-flowering clematis, tulips and rhododendrons and azaleas in late Spring.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-347

The Startling Jungle: Colour and Scent in the Romantic Garden by Stephen Lacey 1986  An immediate best-seller on its publication, this book  leads into my next design element – scent. In this, his first book, Stephen writes about the use of colour and scent in the garden; cottage gardens; and the importance of foliage, then spends the remainder of the book describing the progress of the seasons, with delightful chapter titles like ‘the promise of a warming air’ (Spring) or ‘the brittle violin of frost’ (Winter). While only a small paperback , it makes up for its limited number of colour-plates with its prose and word pictures- a delightful read and worthy of all the acclaim it received.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-377

  1. Scent

Scent in Your Garden by Stephen Lacey. One of my favourite books, as fragrance is an incredibly important facet of the garden for me and I love the luscious photographs by Andrew Lawson, who wrote the book on colour, previously described. Beginning with a chapter on the nature of scent, the book goes on to describe scented trees and shrubs; herbaceous borders and ground-covers; walled gardens and vertical plantings; rock and water gardens; rose gardens (my favourite!); herbs and conservatory and mild climate plants. While there are a large number of books now on scented plants, I still think this is one of the best!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-363Fragrant Herbal: Enhancing Your Life with Aromatic Herbs and Essential Oils by Lesley Bremness 1998 . Published by Crabtree and Evelyn, one of my favourite shops for toiletries, soaps and fragrances, this book is sumptuous, with stunning photography and over 75 recipes for delicious meals and herbal teas and fragrant home and bath products! It has extensive chapters on herbs and aromatherapy; plans for 12 fragrant herb gardens and an illustrated ‘A to Z’ index of over more than 120 herbs, with details of their aromatic properties, use and cultivation. If ever you need a pick-me-up, this beautiful coffee-table book is essential reading!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-374Creating a Garden for the Senses by Jenny Hendy 2009 While sight and smell (and to a certain extent, taste) are so dominant and amply catered for in garden design, the other senses of sound and touch are also very important and this small book has many wonderful ideas for creating a garden for all the senses. Again, beautiful photos, which were the initial reason for buying this book!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-378

  1. Seasonal Interest

Plants For All Seasons by Andrew Lawson 1992, another lovely small book by Andrew Lawson, it features 250 plants for year-round display, a very important concept, especially in smaller gardens with limited space. Each plants described has been chosen for its versatility, its double value in the garden, through repeated blooming of flowers; long-lasting seedheads or Autumn berries, its colourful foliage and even the colour of its bark. For example, my Golden Hornet Crabapple, which is featured in the book, has beautiful white Spring blossom, golden fruits in Summer, which last well into Winter and colourful Autumn foliage. The glossy photographs are certainly very seductive!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-348

Plants For All Seasons by Ursula Buchan 1999 has an identical title and also details 85 plants with multi-season interest. She starts with a big section on foliage and texture; bark and stems; flowers and seedheads and growth habits; then focuses on each plant group with a full page devoted to each plant and again, lovely photos.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-353

This book was reprinted in paperback form in 2004 under a slightly different title: Planting For All Seasons: Beautiful and Versatile Plants That Change Through The Year , but it is otherwise identical to the 1999 book.

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2C. Garden Type

While there are numerous books on all the different garden styles from formal gardens to cottage gardens, seaside gardens, romantic gardens etc, I have only focused on a few favourites, which were very pertinent to us at the time, as we are very keen on the environment and have lived most of our years in the country, as well as raising a family. Next month, I will be discussing a few more specific garden styles as well.

  1. Natural Gardens

The Natural Gardener by Val Bourne 2004, the winner of the Garden Writers’ Guild Book of the Year Award in 2005, is another excellent read, which follows the garden through the seasonal cycle, with interesting snippets along the way about natural predators and insects like ladybirds and spiders; bumblebees and honeybees; butterflies and moths; ground beetles and vine weevils, hoverflies and lacewings; slugs; frogs and newts; and birds and hedgehogs. There are informative chapters on Winter foliage and fragrance; early Spring blooms; bulb lawns; water gardens;  transition periods between seasons; vegetable gardens; Summer flowers, Autumn blooms and fruit; and seedhead, stem and bark interest for Winter. Even though this book is written from a British perspective, its organic  and environmentally-friendly principles can still be applied to other countries, including Australia on the other side of the world!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-366

Natural Garden Style : Gardening Inspired by Nature by Noël Kingsbury 2009 is another British book with a stunning jacket and illustrations, based on linocuts by Angie Lewin, reason enough to buy this beautiful book or at least that’s my excuse!! Its thick wood-free paper, gorgeous photos and lovely coffee-table presentation is also the reason why books will always survive despite the digital age! In the introduction, Noël discusses the importance of organic gardening methods; sustainability and biodiversity; the concept of ‘right plant, right place’; learning from nature; gardening for wildlife and contemporary natural-style planting. He elaborates on these ideas in his chapters on meadows; prairies and borders; trees and woodlands; and the wider landscape, as well as discussing sculpture and ornament; sun and stone; land and water forms; and plant selection and maintenance. He finishes with a directory of natural-style gardens to visit in the United Kingdom, Europe and the USA.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-365

Noël has also written another lovely book titled The New Perennial Garden 1996, in which he discusses the relationship between gardening and nature and the new garden styles, which encourage and support this ethos; plantings for specific conditions like full sun, shade, damp areas and dry areas; and a myriad of garden techniques from planting flowering meadows to seed collection and storage; propagation, maintenance and pest and weed control. The plant tables at the back are particularly useful, listing plants for shade (shade, light shade and moist shade); meadows, rough grass, prairies, steppes and heathlands; moist ground, waterside, and dry environments; and finally short-lived perennials, biennials and annuals, all with great photos and details on height, growth habit, foliage, flower, season, situation, zone and extra remarks.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0298

  1. Country Gardens

The Country Garden: How to Create the Natural Look in Your Garden by John Brookes 1987, one of my gardening bibles in my early gardening days! John Brookes is another very prominent garden designer in Britain. His acclaimed garden, ‘Denmans’ can be visited in West Sussex (along with 20,000 other visitors a year!). See : http://www.denmans-garden.co.uk/ for details. Stephen Lacey has written an article about this doyen of British garden designers at : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardenprojects/11619164/John-Brookes-It-is-the-effect-that-plants-make-that-interests-me-more-than-their-individuality.html.

John Brookes was one of the pioneers of natural-style gardening back in the 1980s and in this book, he describes the new informal relaxed approach to gardening; natural gardening and planting; integrating house and garden and the concept of the borrowed landscape (though neither of these are new concepts, being fundamental tenets of the Arts and Crafts style gardens at the turn of last century, though neglected over the intervening years!) ; axes, vistas and glimpsed views; drift and flow effects; entrances and exits; walls, hedges and fences; surfaces and levels; paths and paving; garden structures; distressing techniques to age appearance; sculptures and ornaments; and the importance of a garden plan and how to draw it.  He examines the garden in each season with beautiful labelled photos (like herbarium pages) on a double page spread, featuring plants of seasonal interest eg Winter flowers; Winter stems and Winter Vegetables. Along the way, he describes different types of natural gardens: gravel gardens; woodlands; neglected corners; rugged clifftop gardens by the sea; cottage gardens; enchanted gardens; water gardens; shade gardens; working gardens, herb gardens- so many different types! At the back, he includes case histories and garden plans; natural garden planting lists, with the plants divided into their use (eg food for butterflies/ rabbit resistance/ decorative seed-heads etc) and specific environments (eg different soil types; moist shaded areas; extreme alkalinity etc). While this book can be read from start to finish, its format and presentation encourages a dip-in approach! It’s a very inspirational book!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-372

 The Country Garden by Trisha Dixon 1992 My Christmas present in 1993! An equally lovely book about country gardens, this publication has a more traditional approach and a different form of organization. It has a logical ordered approach, starting from planning the garden and understanding the site; setting the style with respect to entrances and driveways, garden buildings, water features, and cottage style and wild gardens; the concepts of symmetry and perspective, including patterns and vistas, garden walks and avenues and hedging; colour; walls and fences and finally produce, an essential element of the country garden! This was a particularly useful book for us, because it is written from an Australian perspective! Stunning photography once again!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-373

  1. Family Gardens

Family Gardens by Bunny Guinness 1996. The perfect book for us at the time, given that we were developing our country gardens, while raising 3 young children, as well as the fact that today’s children are tomorrow’s gardeners! This lovely book positively propels kids out into the garden with its chapters on design and planning for all sizes of garden; playhouses and treehouses; garden games and outdoor living; water gardens; and gardens for pets and wildlife, and finally planting schemes of suitable plants, not to mention a cautionary poisonous plants list! There are wonderful photos of (and occasionally instructions for) Wendy houses and magical tree houses with slides; crocodile willow houses; swings and climbing pergolas; allocated areas for garden games; sandpits and paddling pools; outdoor eating areas, barbecues and terraces; vegetable patches for childhood foraging; unusual garden furniture and garden buildings; ponds and wetlands; wildlife gardens and wildflower meadows; chicken runs and rabbit hutches; adventure mazes and even topiary peacocks! I loved this book for its imagination and creativity and sheer sense of FUN!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-367

2D. Books by Garden Designers

Rosemary Verey (1918-2001)

Rosemary Verey’s Making of a Garden 1995

Rosemary Verey was an internationally renowned plantswoman and garden designer with a very famous garden Barnsley House in Gloucestershire.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-364

This is a beautiful book about the development of her garden over 35 years and encompassing all her gardening principles and practical techniques. I adored the watercolour designs of each garden area, like that of her potager below.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-375

Penelope Hobhouse (1929-)

Another very British influential gardener, writer and garden designer. I own three of her books: Colour in Your Garden: A Practical Sourcebook 1985; Garden Style 1989 and Penelope Hobhouse On Gardening 1994.

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The first book could have fitted equally well into the category on Design Elements, earlier in this post, but I thought I’d keep all her books together- mind you all of them would also fit into a future post on dreamy inspirational gardens (along with Rosemary Verey and Edna Walling as well!!).

In this book, she starts by discussing design for colour and the nature of colour, before focusing intensively on each individual colour, with seasonal planting suggestions, wonderful photographs and keyline drawings of planting plans. She also has a large section on the foliage framework, both green and Autumn colours, as well as bark colour. She finishes with some information on  the science behind plant colour and notes on climate and growing conditions.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-369

In her book, Garden Style, she discusses a large number of gardens, which have inspired and educated her, including her own Tintinhull and Margery Fish’s cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor, both in Somerset;  Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire;and Villa Noailles in South-Eastern France. She discusses the importance of framework in a garden; archways and pergolas; paths and steps; hedges and avenues and water features, using Jenkyn Place, Hampshire and Christopher Lloyd’s garden, Great Dixter, East Sussex, as examples. She discusses pattern in some depth, both in decorative plantings and hard and soft landscapes, including mazes, topiary, water patterns, kitchen gardens, parterres and knot gardens. East Lambrook Manor features again in her chapter on more natural style gardens, along with the Longstock Water Gardens, Hampshire. The flower garden and colour border, as well as Gertrude Jekyll’s influence, feature in her discussions of Monet’s Giverny; Hestercombe and her own garden, Tintinhull, both in Somerset. The final chapter describes the concepts of garden rooms, inner gardens and informal garden areas.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-368

In the last book, Penelope reveals all her gardening secrets and ideas, using her own garden, Tintinhull, to illustrate her theories. She describes each garden area, supported by stunning photographs, as well as discussing feature plants like hellebores and euphorbias; anemones and self-seeders; silver foliage plants; flowering salvias and roses; and cyclamen and alliums. Like Rosemary Verey’s book, there are beautiful watercolour plans of all her plantings. She also discusses seed collection and sowing and propagation by cuttings in her final  chapter titled ‘Behind the Scenes’. A truly beautiful and inspiring book!!!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-371

Edna Walling (1896-1973)

No Australian garden library would be complete without a book by our own celebrated garden writer, designer and environmentalist Edna Walling and I actually have four books:

Cottage and Garden in Australia 1947

The Edna Walling Book of Australian Garden Design 1980, edited by Margaret Barrett

A Gardener’s Log 1985

The Garden Magic of Edna Walling 1988

Here is the back cover of the second book, in which Edna expresses her garden philosophy.

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Cottage and Garden in Australia 1947 is an original copy, which we inherited from my husband’s mother. It is one of my favourites! Edna loved old English cottages, particular their scale, charm and use of local materials, and she created her own village in Bickleighvale at Mooroolbark, Victoria, now alas swallowed up by Melbourne suburbia, but nevertheless, with the cottages still intact, though the now-mature gardens are very shady and probably need rejuvenation! I love the old sepia photographs of both interiors and exteriors in this book, which really add to the sense of history and simplicity of her delightful dwellings. She includes plans, specifications and detailed drawings of her cottages and detailed notes about doorways and windows; stonework and timber; chimneys and paved floors and homemade garden pots.

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The Edna Walling Book of Garden Design, (a blend of extracts from Edna’s first three books: Cottage and Garden 1947, already discussed;  Gardens in Australia 1943; and A Gardener’s Log 1948) focuses more on the garden, with chapters titled: On Garden-Making; Trees and Shrubs; Perennials and Ground Covers; the Natural Rock Garden; Paths, Paving and Pergolas; Walls, Steps and Stairways; Cottages and Country Gardens; and Natural Swimming Pools. Edna had her own signature plants and vocabulary, which she employed time and time again in the gardens, which she designed and then planted for her cottages.eg: Birches, Crabapples, Hawthorns, Medlars and  Claret Ash; Kolwitzias, Daphne, Amelanchiers, Spireae, Kalmias and Chimonanthus; Campanulas, Verbascums, Achilleas, Lavender, Erigeron, Ajuga, Chamomile and Thyme. She also had a great love of the Australian bush and included many native flora in her repertoire, including Leptospermums, Lilly-Pilly (Acmena smithii), Grevilleas, Eriostemons, Baeckeas, Ericas and Prostantheras.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-359

A Gardener’s Log 1985 is a reprint of Edna’s original 1948 book, edited by Margaret Barrett. It is presented in the form of a diary or garden notebook, with little gems of wisdom and practical advice appropriate to each season.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-358

The final book, The Garden Magic of Edna Walling, once more edited by Margaret Barrett, contains over 100 black-and-white photos taken by Edna during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as colour photographs of the gardens, taken by John Hay 50 years later. Neil Robertson writes an introduction about Edna’s life and career and while much of the book is written about Edna, it does include extracts from her writings about stonework; natural gardening; Australian native plants; architecture in the garden; the use of water in the garden; gardens for children; more  greenery than colour; climbing roses; places of repose and the art of leaving well alone! bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-356

A good place to finish, I think !!! Next week, I will be returning to our garden for a post on the 2017 Summer Garden!

Sunflowers: December Feature Plant

What better way to celebrate the start of Summer than with a feature post on the wonderful exuberant Sunflower, Helianthus annuus!BlogSummerDays20%ReszdIMG_3870 Sunflowers belong to the daisy family, Asteraceae, and the genus Helianthus has over 70 species, most of them native to North America, except for three species from South America. Most are ornamental, frost-hardy herbaceous perennials, like the Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, but the Common Sunflower, familiar to most people, is an annual, as indicated by its species name: ‘annuus’. The genus name Helianthus is derived from two Greek words: ‘helios’ meaning ‘sun’ and ‘anthos’ meaning ‘flower’.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2015-12-31 15.26.43Mythology

In Greece, the sunflower is a symbol of the water nymph Clytie, who was turned into a sunflower after she lost her love Apollo, and constantly faces the sun, awaiting the return of his chariot. The visual similarity of the flower to the sun makes it a symbol of worship and faithfulness in many religions. In fact, the Incas used South American sunflowers to worship the sun in their temples, where priestesses wore necklaces of sunflowers, cast in gold, as well as sunflower crowns. The Hopi Indians of North America also used sunflowers in their tribal rituals, as well as for food and a purple dye. In China, the sunflower is an auspicious symbol, denoting long life and good luck, its bright yellow colour symbolising vitality, intelligence and happiness. Vincent Van Gogh is famous for his series of paintings, depicting sunflowers in vases, one of which sold for $39 Million in 1987. Here is my daughter’s sunflower painting- just as special and always makes me feel happy.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5641Habitat and Distribution

Native to North America, the sunflower was first domesticated in South-Western USA over 5000 years ago and soon became widespread throughout the Americas. Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizzaro, saw large crops in 16th century Peru and the sunflower was carried back to Spain, where it was cultivated and hybridized. By the 19th century, it was being cultivated on a wide scale in Russia, the Ukraine and the Caucasus regions for the manufacture of vegetable oil. The sunflower  is the State flower of Kansas and the National flower of Russia. Mostly grown in temperate areas, it is now also grown as a commercial crop in the United States, Argentina, India, China, Turkey, the European Union (mainly France and Spain) and South Africa. In Queensland, it is widely grown in the Central Highlands and on the Darling Downs, as seen in the photo below.blogsunflowers50reszdimage-158Description

Helianthus annuus is an annual forb, which grows up to 5 metres tall, with a well-developed tap root, which extends up to 3 metres into the soil. There are now a number of cultivars, varying in colour (yellow, orange, rust red) and height, from dwarf varieties less than 1 metre tall to taller cultivars over 3.5 metres tall.blogsunflowers50reszdimage-159 The tallest sunflower ever recorded was 7.76 metres tall, though there is a German record of 8.23 metres tall! There is also a discrepancy in growth rates: one source states 30 centimetres in one day, while another estimate is 2 metres in 6 months- that’s 182 days. For mathematicians, that’s 2000 centimetres in 182 days or 11 centimetres a day! Suffice to say that they are one of the fastest growing plants in the world! Our Burgundy Spray sunflower reached 2 metres last year and was harvested and ploughed in at 20 weeks- that’s 5 months- but we did use plenty of manure!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 17.20.36 BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.02.02The erect stem is rough and hairy and is branched in many wild varieties, but unbranched in cultivated varieties.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 10.11.21 The petiolate leaves are dentate (toothed margins) and sticky. The lower leaves are opposite and ovate or heart-shaped, while the leaves higher up the stem are arranged spirally.

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Blooming in Summer, the inflorescence is a terminal head (capitulum), 10 to 50 centimetres in diameter, with a world record of 87.63 centimetres.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 20.05.37 Each flower head is surrounded by three rows of bracts (phyllaries)- see photo above- and is composed of sterile outer yellow (or orange/ rust red) ray florets, which attract pollinators, and fertile inner brownish disc florets.blogsunflowers50reszdimage-160 A single flower head may have up to two thousand disc florets, each with the potential to develop into a seed. If there are multiple flower heads on the same plant, the number of disc florets per head will be much lower.BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-28 09.50.43 The disc florets open in sequence, beginning at the periphery of the disc and moving inward. The disc florets are arranged in spiral whorls from the centre of the flowerhead, according to the famous Fibonacci sequence, which allows for the uniform packing of the maximum number of seeds on a seed head without any central overcrowding or bare patches at the outside edges. The Fibonacci sequence is a number set, in which each number is the sum of the previous two numbers: ie 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610 and so on, and was described by Fibonacci (also known as Leonardo of Pisa) in his book : Liber Abaci in 1202.image-159-copy-copy

In the case of sunflowers, count the clockwise and counterclockwise spirals that reach the outer edge, and you’ll usually find a pair of numbers from the sequence: 34 and 55, or 55 and 89, or—with very large sunflowers—89 and 144. Another interesting mathematical fact is that each floret is oriented to the next by the Golden Angle, 137.5 degrees.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 19.38.59 Botanists have not yet been able to determine a mechanistic model that fully explains how the sunflower seed patterns arise, as some  plants don’t always show perfect Fibonacci numbers. A study published by the Royal Society Open Science on 18 May 2016 of 657 sunflower photos revealed one in five flowers had either a non-Fibonacci spiralling pattern or more complicated patterns, including near-Fibonacci sequences and other mathematical patterns that compete and clash across the flower head. See: http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/5/160091 . Another interesting link is: https://plus.maths.org/content/sunflowers. Click on the first article in the search results: ‘Citizen scientists count sunflower spirals’ by Marianne Freiberger.

For more information about sunflowers and the Fibonnaci sequence, see :

http://momath.org/home/fibonacci-numbers-of-sunflower-seed-spirals/

and    https://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/nature-golden-ratio-fibonacci.html.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.04.53Another fascinating fact about sunflowers is their heliotropism (sun tracking) when young. During growth, sunflower leaves and flowers tilt to face the sun during the day, accounting for their French and Portuguese names: Tournesol (French) and Girassol (Portuguese). As the buds open, the flexible part of the stem tissue (the pulvinus) hardens and heliotropism ceases, the sunflower blooms permanently facing east, thereby acting as a living compass!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 17.41.12 Sunflowers are pollinated by bees, though some modern varieties are fully self-fertile. The following website has some interesting information about sunflower pollination, which highlights the importance of bees. See: http://www.pollinator.ca/bestpractices/sunflowers.html. Initially, each floret is male, the pollen-bearing anthers extending above the rim of the floret, then later on, the style emerges and the stigmatic lobes spread, opening the receptive surfaces for pollination – see the photo below. If there is enough pollinator activity, the pollen is removed from each floret before the stigma opens, reducing the chances for self-pollination. The resultant seeds are 15 to 25 mm long and vary in colour from white to brown and black and even striped.BlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-12 10.24.58Growing Conditions and Propagation

Heat and drought-tolerant, sunflowers are very easy to grow in most climates, so long as they have full sun all day  (6 to 8 hours) and well-dug, nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. They are propagated by seed. Dig the seed bed well with plenty of manure/ compost, as they are heavy feeders, then rake the soil level. Broadcast the seed and rake into the surface or plant seeds individually to a depth of 2 cm. In cool temperate climates, sow seed in Spring after the last frost (we sowed our Burgundy Spray sunflower seeds on 7 October last year); in warm temperate climates, from late Winter to late Spring; and in frost-free subtropical and tropical regions, seed can be sown all year round, though Autumn to Spring is best. Sunflowers prefer long, hot Summers and hot wet humid Summers increase the risk of fungal diseases like downy or powdery mildew or rust. Mulch the seedbed with chopped sugar cane or lucerne to retain moisture, keep the soil cool and deter pigeons or mice. As the seedlings develop, thin them according to the size of the plants. Giant Russian sunflowers grow to over 4m high with a flowerhead of 5o cm, so require 1.5 m between each plant.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5166 Water or foliar feed weekly with seaweed extract in the morning, so that the foliage is dry by sunset, also reducing the risk of fungal mould and rot. For show flowers and maximum seed production, apply two handfuls of poultry manure per square metre when the seedlings are 15 cm high and a 4 cm layer of well-rotted cow manure and compost when they reach 0.5 m in height. Stake the stems when necessary- old pantihose are good. The dwarf varieties should flower within 10 to 12 weeks of sowing, while the taller varieties take 12 to 16 weeks to bloom. Our Burgundy Spray sunflower had its first bloom open at 12 weeks, just in time to celebrate the New Year! We harvested the seeds on the 23 February 2016.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.10.42

If your plants are affected by fungal disease, a general fungicide can be applied. Slugs and snails love browsing on the stems and leaves of sunflowers, so spray the seedlings with an organic snail bait or a mixture of 1 part espresso coffee to 3 parts of water, then mulch, repeating after heavy rain or irrigation. Bees and butterflies love the flowers, while birds, rodents, squirrels and deer are attracted to the sunflower seed, though large amounts are fatal to the latter! There are numerous insect pests, most of which attack other plants as well. More information on these insects and their management can be found on :http://ipmguidelinesforgrains.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Sunflower_IPM-Workshops_north-March2013.pdf and https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/pests/e1457.pdf BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0005 (2) Seed heads should be harvested when very dry ie once the back of the flower heads are turning yellow or brown. Tie paper bags over their heads, then cut the stems and hang upside-down in a dry, well-ventilated place till fully dry.BlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-12 10.21.10 The seed head can be sharply struck or rubbed across an old washboard to release the seeds. To process sunflower seed for consumption, soak them overnight in a bucket of 1 gallon (4.5 litres) water and 1 cup salt. Redry in a 250 degree Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius) oven for 4 to 5 hours and store in airtight containers.For replanting,  the seeds are viable for 5 years, according to: http://tcpermaculture.com/site/2013/06/14/how-long-will-seeds-last-stay-viable/, but if you want to check their viability before planting, see: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/check-sunflower-seeds-viable-68389.html.

Uses

Sunflowers are grown extensively throughout the world for human and animal food and sunflower oil production. There are two types grown. The first is oilseed, a very small black seed  with a very high  oil content , which  is processed into sunflower oil and meal and is also the seed of choice of most bird feeders. The second type is non-oilseed (confectionery sunflower), a larger black and white striped seed used in a variety of food products from snacks to bread. Sunflower seeds are rich in healthy fats, oil, vitamin E, protein, fibre and minerals and can be eaten raw or roasted for a savory snack or ground into a seed paste (Sun Butter) like peanut butter. They are excellent for promoting heart health and lowering cholesterol. The seeds can also be ground into a sunflower meal and used as a substitute for wheat flour in breads and cakes and the seed husks can be ground into a coffee-like beverage.blogsunflowers20reszdimg_0176 Sunflowers are also widely used as an animal food, mainly for birds (seeds) and cattle (forage crop or a high protein meal, which is a by-product of sunflower oil extraction and is often blended with soya bean meal). The seeds can also be pressed to make an  oil, which has been used in salads and for cooking, margarine production and in industry : as drying oils for paints and varnishes and in beauty products like soap and cosmetics. However, readers should be aware that there is some research about health risks associated with cooking with vegetable oils. See these links for further information: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11981884/Cooking-with-vegetable-oils-releases-toxic-cancer-causing-chemicals-say-experts.html and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20886885. The cooking oil is recycled as a biofuel. For more on the commercial industry overview of sunflowers in the United States, see: http://www.sunflowernsa.com  and   http://www.soyatech.com/sunflower_facts.htm. Sunflower oil can also be used in medicine: for constipation and lowering bad LDL cholesterol or applied directly to the skin for poorly healing wounds, skin injuries, psoriasis and arthritis and as a massage oil.blogsunflowers20reszdimg_0171Native Americans also grew sunflowers for food and oil, medicine, fibre and dyes , as well as to provide shelter for crops of maize, pumpkins and beans. The juice from the stems was used to treat wounds and an infusion of the plant in water was used to treat kidney and chest pain. The fibre from the stalks could be made into cloth and both the seeds and flower heads yielded a dye: purple, blue and black from the seeds and a bright yellow from the flowers.image-159-copySunflowers can also be grown as a green manure crop, the plants being dug into the ground once the seedlings reach a height of 30 cm. The plants can bioaccumulate heavy metals in contaminated soil, like lead, arsenic and uranium, and were used to remove nuclear fallout after the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.image-160-copy-copyAnd finally, sunflowers are commonly used in floristry and are often given on the third wedding anniversary as a sign of adoration, strength and loyalty. Stems should be cut early in the morning before the flowerbuds are fully open- preferably ½ to ¾ open. If buying them, the leaves should be a strong green colour and the stems should be strong. They must be sold with a water source, as they shock easily. Remove any foliage below water level and cut the stems on a sharp diagonal (2 to 4 cm from the stem ends), under water if possible to avoid air blockages in the stems. Do NOT bash the stems. Use a preservative to maintain open flowers and change the vase water daily. The flowers have a vase life of 7 to 10 days. The leaves will wilt and die before the flowers, so only retain the upper leaves. To help prevent leaf drooping, add 10 drops of household detergent to 5 litres of water and leave in this solution for 1 to 3  hours, but no longer than overnight. If the leaves do start to droop, immediately recut the stems up to 6 cm and place in deep water with preservative for up to 3 hours. If the flowers droop completely, recut the stems and place them in boiling water to clear the blockage quickly (though the lifespan of the flower will be halved).

I really enjoyed researching my last feature post for this year. The sunflower is a fascinating plant and I hope you enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed writing it.  If I have whetted your appetite to know more, it would be worth trying to source ‘Sunflowers: the Secret History’ by Joe Pappalardo. See: http://www.overlookpress.com/sunflowers-the-secret-history.html.

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Favourite Private Specialty Gardens : Part 1: Artists’ Gardens

Over the next two months, I am featuring specialist private gardens, which I have divided into 4 categories : Artists’ Gardens (October); Dry Climate and Mediterranean Gardens (November) ; Sustainable Gardens (November); and Small Gardens (November). It’s a very eclectic mix, but we were impressed by every one of them. Some of them cross over categories. For example, the gardens of Meanderings and Barwon Heads are both included in Dry Climate Gardens, but are also Small Gardens, while the Markos Garden, a part of Sustainable Gardens, is very much a Mediterranean Garden and a Small Garden. Hendrik’s Garden is also both sustainable and small, while Art Rocks is both a Dry Climate Garden and an Artists’ Retreat and Tickle Tank is an Artist’s Garden, which is only small- a mere 20m by 20m. I will begin with Artists’ Gardens, looking firstly at mosaics, then progressing onto painters. Again, this is only a very small selection of the wonderful gardens in Australia and the choice was often dictated by the availability of good photographs in my collection. I have covered other art-related gardens in my posts on Carrick Hill, Werribee and Heide and Sculpture Gardens: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/02/09/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-historic-homes-and-gardens/ and https://candeloblooms.com/2016/06/14/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-sculpture-gardens/.

Artist Gardens

Mosaics:

Blog NewBeginnings20%Reszd2015-01-21 10.34.49BlogCreativity120%Reszd2014-05-03 20.36.56Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0580I have always loved mosaics in the garden- they add colour and interest, especially in Winter, and can compliment plants when in flower. And they are really fun to make! No doubt through my posts, you have already seen my stepping-stones, my Mothers’ Day Bird Plate and my two bird sticks, the latter two made in workshops at the Geelong Community Garden  with Helen Millar of Flock of Birds. See: http://www.flockofbirdsmosaics.org  and https://candeloblooms.com/2016/05/10/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-education-gardens/.  During the 40th Kyneton Daffodil Arts festival in Spring 2012, we visited:

Geraldine Phelan’s Studio and Garden

60 Dettman’s Lane, Kyneton, VIC       Ph: (03)5422 7154 and 0478605540

http://www.kynetondaffodilarts.org.au/mosaics.html

Geraldine is a mosaic artist, who moved to Central Victoria in 2010. This is her studio.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 174BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 172BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 181 She does beautiful work and also teaches mosaic classes.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 170BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 176BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 166BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 187BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 184 Here are some photos of her gypsy caravan (above) and the mosaic work of competition entrants during the festival (above and below).BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 191BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 195BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 151BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdsept 2012 196The Flying Teapot

111 Inglis St, Ballan, VIC, 3342

BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 4 044

A prominent and highly imaginative landmark in the main street of Ballan, this wonderful mosaic fence was created by Lou Callow, a local artist and teacher.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 4 054BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 4 048BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 4 056 There is so much in this wall, that I will let the photos tell their story.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 4 065BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 4 061BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 4 066BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 4 063Tickle Tank

24 Hill Street, Mt Barker, Adelaide Hills, South Australia          450 m2

http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/home-among-the-gumtrees/around-the-house/tickle-tank/#.

An AMAZING house and garden, built by Irene Pearce, a sculptor and  professional potter for 27 years, which thoroughly merits the two videos made about it. See:

http://www.salife7.com.au/south-australia/gardening/open-gardens/tickle-tank     and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ68CwYzKt0BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7565In 1998, Irene bought a 50,000 gallon concrete water tank, which was built in 1944 and was the old town water storage.  She siphoned the water out and excavated 20 truckloads of soil, as three quarters of the tank was buried underground. The tank is 10m across and 4m tall and became her kitchen, dining and family room.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7566

She bought three more tanks (3000 and 5000 gallons), which were lowered into position by cranes and became the bathroom, laundry and a small bedroom for her grandchildren. She hired a concrete cutting contractor to cut holes in the concrete tanks for doors and windows and used recycled jarrah from the original tank to make the doors.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7595BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7749 Irene has a very quirky, eclectic style and the dwelling has both a Greek (blue and white colours) and nautical feel (blue and white colours again; sail sun shelter; life buoys; ropes; shells; driftwood, sea horses, portholes).BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7622BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7719BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7638BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7746

It’s a wonderful place and so inspirational. Everything has been done on a very low budget and made by hand out of recycled materials, both in the house and the garden. I loved her driftwood handles on the cupboard doors, her hidden bath under the floor, the fungi lamps and all her collections.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7579The multilevel garden is 450 square metres and is low maintenance, organic and water-wise. It has a series of open air rooms for relaxation, meditation, eating and adventures for kids. BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7720BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7718All the materials used in the garden are recycled or were salvaged from the site.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7735 The retaining walls became garden seats and the excess water runoff became a small creek, crossed by a recycled timber bridge. Irene sculpted a mermaid out of a stone wall and a dragon out of cement.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7763BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7741BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7725BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7731 Broken tiles were used to make a mosaic wall in the rose arbour (covered with Lorraine Lee), as well as a white wisteria mural outside the kitchen, mosaic window edges and tables  and mosaic floors in the kitchen and shower recess. Apparently, since our visit in 2008, there is a new mosaic driveway.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7642BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7628BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7647BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7651BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7625BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7766 There is an old pot-bellied stove outside for cooking and heat, as well as a fire pit out of rendered concrete. The rendered stone walls maintain moisture and keep the plants cool in Summer.

BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7714BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7630The garden has a wonderful, blowsy, overgrown feel and is a mixture of exotics and natives, all so densely planted that it is difficult for weeds to get going. Plants include : Hardenbergia and purple Native Mint Bush; fruit trees and crab apples; roses; hardy native grasses; herbs; self-seeding annuals; hardy cottage perennials; Spring bulbs and  lots of succulents in pots. There is so much to this garden- we actually went round twice, taking a million photos for future ideas! Here are a few of Irene’s delightful sculptures:BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7645BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7592BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7571Painters:

The Cedars

Heysen Rd, Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, 5245        60 acres

10am-4.30pm Tuesday-Sunday and Public Holidays; Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday   $10 Adult; $8 Concession; $5 Garden only

http://hansheysen.com.au/    and https://www.artgallery.sa.gov.au/agsa/home/Learning/docs/Online_Resources/Heysen_Trail.pdf

While we were in South Australia in October 2008, we also visited the home of two of South Australia’s most famous artists, Hans Heysen and his daughter Nora.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6975Hans Heysen bought the 1878 colonial villa in August 1912, where he lived with his wife Sallie and 8 children until his death in 1968, aged 90. He renovated and updated the house from 1912-1920, decorating it in a Federation Arts-and-Crafts style. It is still privately owned by the Heysen grandchildren and very little has changed since the days when Hans was still alive. The comfortable old furniture and textiles, Hans’ paintings and Nora’s portraits and all the old books and magazines give the house a very welcoming warm feel. There is a wonderful light throughout the house and a beautiful window overlooking the garden. I immediately fell in love with this beautiful old house and its equally lovely garden!BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7042BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6970Hans loved his garden, laying out all the garden beds and building the stone paths, walls and steps out of sandstone and quartz. He planted mainly exotic species : Himalayan Cedar trees, after which the property was named; Crab Apple Malus spectabilis; Chaenomeles japonica; Bourbon roses including one of my favourite roses,  Souvenir de la Malmaison, painted by both Hans and Nora; Tea roses (Duchess de Brabant) and Hybrid Teas (Queen Elizabeth); lilacs; iris; massed zinnias; Spring bulbs and old-fashioned perennials.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6961BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6967BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6968BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7050We also walked around the property, stopping at 11 viewing boxes, where we could compare prints of Hans’ landscapes with the exact location of each work. Winner of the Wynne Prize (the landscape equivalent of the Archibald Prize) nine times, Hans was most famous for his portraits of gum trees, the 600 year old River Red Gums Eucalyptus camaldulensis and White Gums Eucalyptus rubida. He was such a keen conservationist, that he bought neighbouring properties to prevent the trees from being cut down.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6999BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_7018BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6998The entrance price also includes a tour of the studios of both Hans (photos 1 and 2) and Nora (photo 3). Nora was the first woman to win the Archibald Prize in 1938, as well as being Australia’s first female war artist. It was wonderful to see all their charcoal and pencil sketches; lithographs of agricultural scenes, sheds and draughthorses; the paintings of gum trees with the play of light on their trunks; and the paintings of still life and floral arrangements.BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6997BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6979BlogPrivSpec25%ReszdIMG_6960When we visited ‘The Cedars’ back in 2008, because the property was still privately owned, it was impossible to get public funding for it and the money from sales and entrance fees only covered insurance. The potential cost of upkeep of the house was a barrier to future National Trust involvement, so it was with great delight that I discovered that in April 2016, the property was granted $1 Million from the Federal Government for its upkeep. It is a beautiful historic property and well worth visiting if you get a chance.

Wentworth Falls Art Gallery

161 Falls Rd, Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains, NSW 2782  PH (02) 4757 1139    Just under 1 acre

10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday and Public Holidays

http://www.fallsgallery.com.au/

BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_5413BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_5409Established in 1990 by Anne and Ian Smith, the gallery is housed in an early 1900s weatherboard cottage in a large mountain garden, a two minute walk to the Falls Reserve Picnic area and lookouts.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_5423BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_5422 Anne paints luscious females and Ian is a ceramic artist, so they both have workspaces at the back – a studio for Anne and a pottery workshop for Ian. Both their work is on sale, as well as art work by Garry Shead, Wendy Sharpe, Bernard Ollis, Max Miller, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman and John Olsen.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_5419BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_5421I loved their beautifully landscaped mountain garden with its Japanese Maples, conifers and native vegetation, huge tree ferns, azaleas and rhododendrons, chaenomeles, box hedging and topiary, hellebores and lots of outdoor statues.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_5408BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_5407 It had such a peaceful relaxing feel and was so green, unlike my final artist’s garden, a complete contrast :

Art Rocks

199 Teesdale-Inverleigh Rd, Inverleigh, VIC 3321  Ph (03) 5265 1370; 0417522010

4km  from Inverleigh; 20 minutes from Geelong and 1 hour from Melbourne

http://www.artrocks.net.au

BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0361Owned by artist and teacher, Adé Loe, and environmentalist, Bronte Payne, Art Rocks is a studio gallery and Bed & Breakfast accommodation.BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0340BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0351BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0353 They run workshops and weekend retreats for sculpture, mosaics, ceramics, drawing, painting, glasswork and making glass beads.BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0366BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0364We visited this property as part of the annual Golden Plains Art Trail in March 2012 and were blown away by its dramatic use of colour and contrast; its amazing cacti and succulent garden and dry climate plants;

BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0334BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0314BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0322BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0330BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0324BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0377BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0304BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0333BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0311BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0348 its sculpture park; its use of recycled material and its panoramic views.BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0374BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0335BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0345BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0349

It is a great example of dry climate gardening and leads very neatly into the next category: Dry Climate and Mediterranean Gardens, which I will discuss next month, along with Small and Sustainable Gardens.BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0318BlogPrivSpec50%ReszdIMG_0319

Iris: October Feature Plant

My feature plant for October is the Iris and our first Dutch Iris bloom has just opened, right on time! They are such beautiful regal flowers and definite confirmation that Spring is here to stay and the long cold Winter is over!blogiris20reszd2016-09-29-11-19-29Irises, commonly known as ‘flags’, belong to the family Iridaceae and the genus Iris, which contains 260 to 300 species, many of which are natural hybrids. The number of different types be quite confusing, but  the first and major difference is whether they are rhizomatous or bulbous. Rhizomes are horizontal underground stems that strike new roots out of their nodes down into the soil, and that shoot new stems out of their nodes up to the surface. Most iris in this group are evergreen, but some go dormant, usually in late Summer/Autumn. Rhizomatous iris are either bearded or beardless. Bearded Iris have a tuft of short upright filaments down the centre of the blade, while beardless iris usually have a flash of colour, mostly yellow, at the top of the lower petals (known as falls), called a ‘signal’.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.29.20 Beardless iris include: Pacific Coast, Louisiana Iris, Siberian Iris and Japanese Iris. Bulbous iris have a small bulb like an onion and are dormant and lose their leaves for part of the year. They include Dutch, English and Spanish Iris, as well as Iris reticulata. The photo above is a Dutch Iris.  There is an excellent diagram on the Iris Society  of Australia (http://www.irises.org.au/TypesIris.htm), which  clarifies the situation in a simple form. I will discuss some of the major groups in more detail later in this post. The photo below shows my Dutch Iris in the cutting garden last year.BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.40.55Habitat: Temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere from Europe to Asia and across North America. They are found in a variety of habitats from dry semi-desert to colder, rocky, mountainous areas, grassy slopes and meadows and even bogs, swamps and riverbanks.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.59.47History:

Iris comes from the Greek word for rainbow, referring to its wide colour range. It is also the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow, who was the messenger of love, thus iris are symbols of communication and messages. In the language of flowers, iris generally means ‘eloquence’, after which its meaning depends on its colour : purple iris represent wisdom and compliments; blue iris symbolize faith and love; a yellow iris means passion and a white iris represents purity. The photo below is a bed of Bearded Iris of mixed colours.BlogPoppy50%ReszdImage (152) - CopyThe iris first appeared in artwork in the frescoes at King Minos’s palace on Crete and date from 2100 BC.  It became the symbol of King Clovis of France (466-511 AD) on his conversion to Christianity, the iris being known as one of the Virgin’s flower. The fleur-de-lis, a stylized representation of the iris, was the emblem of the House of Capet, which ruled the Kingdom of France from 911-1328 AD, and was also adopted as a symbol by King Louis VII in  12th century France. A red fleur-de-lis is found on the coat of arms of Florence, Italy, where it has been their symbol since 1251, as well as that of the Medici family, while yellow irises are depicted on the Quebec flag.blogiris25reszd2016-09-15-16-47-28 The iris is also one of the state flowers of Tennessee. It is even found on Japanese banknotes! The back of the 5000 yen banknote depicts “Kakitsubata-zu”, the most renowned painting of irises in Japan. It was painted by Ogata Kouri, one of the most famous Japanese painters . See : http://jpninfo.com/17450.  Another famous artwork ‘Irises’ was painted in 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh and was sold at auction in 1987 to Alan Bond for a record $53.9 Million. It was resold in 1990 to the Getty Museum for an undisclosed amount. Iris flowers have also been painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, Durer, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin and Monet, as well as my daughter Caroline, especially for this post!blogiris25reszd2016-09-19-12-45-38Garden cultivars were found in Europe by the 16th century. There was a big boom in breeding from 1830 on and by 1930, the American Iris Society listed 19 000 iris species and hybrids. There are now literally thousands of cultivars of Bearded Iris – over 30,000 Tall Bearded Iris alone! Compare the following photos to see the difference between the old (1st photo) and new (2nd photo) iris blooms.BlogPoppy50%ReszdImage (151) - Copy

BlogIris50%Reszdiris-1149067_1920
Modern cultivar of Bearded Iris       Courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Unfortunately, like many other plant species, hybridization to produce increasingly large, dramatic frilled blooms of a huge colour range has been at the expense of fragrance, but there are conservation groups, for example : the Historic Iris Preservation Society ( http://www.historiciris.org/ ) in America, which specializes in the preservation of  heritage iris varieties, which are over 30 years old and are tougher plants with less frills, but more fragrance. New Zealand also has a Heritage Irises blog with links to Iris gardens and growers throughout the world. See :  http://historiciris.blogspot.com.au/. The Presby Memorial Garden (http://presbyirisgardens.org/wordpress/) in New Jersey is a living iris museum with over 10 000 iris plants, while the largest garden in Europe is the Giardino dell’ Iris in Florence, Italy, (http://www.intoflorence.com/giardino-dell-iris/), which has 1500 varieties in its two acre garden and hosts an annual international iris festival in late May.

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Highly Frilled Bearded Iris  Courtesy of https://pixabay.com

In Australia, irises are best seen in October/ November at specialised iris nurseries like:

Yarrabee Water Garden and Iris Nursery, One Tree Hill, South Australia :  Tall Bearded Iris and Louisiana Iris : http://www.yarrabeegardenandiris.com

Sunshine Iris, Lockhart, west of Wagga Wagga, NSW in the Riverina : 300 varieties and specializes in older vintage Bearded Iris: http://www.sunshineiris.com.au/.

Riverina Iris Farm, Lake Albert, is another Iris nursery, just south of Wagga Wagga, which specializes in Tall Bearded Iris : http://www.riverinairisfarm.com/. It has open gardens on the weekends from the 8th of October 2016  to the 6th of November 2016 from 10 am to 5 pm. They are  also open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and other times by appointment.

Rainbow Ridge, Burnt Yards, west of Carcoar, NSW : Tall Bearded and Median Iris, Louisiana and Californian Iris: http://www.rainbowridgenursery.com.au/

Iris Splendor, Railton, Tasmania : Tall Bearded Iris: http://iris-splendor.com

Tempo Two, Pearcedale, Victoria : Specialist Iris nursery : http://www.tempotwo.com.au

Tesselaars, Monbulk, Victoria also sells Dutch , Bearded, Siberian and Japanese Iris: https://www.tesselaar.net.au/.

BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.03.10

Description:

Iris are handsome, herbaceous, evergreen perennial plants, which grow from creeping rhizomes (rhizomatous iris) or bulbs (bulbous iris).

They have long, erect flowering stems, which are simple or branched, solid or hollow and flattened or with a circular cross-section, depending on the species. The photo below of my gold Bearded Iris shows the basic structure of the plant.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.26.22

Rhizomatous iris have 3-10 basal sword-shaped leaves, which form dense clumps, while bulbous iris have cylindrical basal leaves.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.21.07Iris have 6 symmetrical lobed flowers, which grow on a pedicel or peduncle. The 3 sepals drooping downwards are called ‘falls’ and have a narrow base (haft), which widens into a blade, which may be covered in dots, lines or veins.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.29.20 In Bearded Iris, the centre of the blade has a tuft of short upright filaments to guide the pollinating insects down to the ovary. The blades of the iris act as a landing stage for flying pollinators. There are also 3 upright petals called ‘standards’, which stand behind the base of the falls. All petals and sepals are united at the base into a floral tube above the inferior ovary and the style divide towards the apex into petaloid branches. The Bearded Iris in the photo below is much frillier and larger than my gold Bearded Iris, shown above.

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Gold Frilled Bearded Iris  Courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Flowering occurs from late Winter through to late Summer, depending on the species. There is a good diagram on: http://gardendesignforliving.com/a-guide-to-growing-iris-blooms-all-season/  , giving a guide to flowering times for the Northern Hemisphere. Basically, Iris reticulata starts the iris flowering season in late March to mid April, followed by Iris pumila for 2 weeks in early May; then Crested Iris for 1 week in mid to late May. Tall Bearded Iris also bloom in mid to late May for 2-3 weeks, overlapping with Siberian Iris, which are slightly later and have a shorter blooming period. Japanese Iris bloom in late June to mid July, then the iris season closes with reblooming Bearded Iris in August and September. In Australia, Dutch Iris flower in early Spring (September) and Bearded Iris bloom in October/ November.BlogPoppy50%ReszdImage (156) - Copy

The fruit is a capsule, which opens into 3 parts, revealing many seeds. In the desert dwelling Aril Iris, the seed bears an aril.

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Seed case of Iris pseudocorus   Courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Species Notes:

Iris are divided into 6 subgenera, which are then divided into a number of sections, but I will mainly focus on the more common garden iris, including the varieties I grow in our garden. All of the subgenera are from the Old World, except for Limniris, which has a holarctic distribution. The largest subgenera are marked with an asterisk *.  Here are the names of the 6 subgenera:

*1. Bearded Rhizomatous Iris:

Iris series

eg Table or Stool  Iris:  Iris aphylla

eg Bearded Iris : Iris germanica

Oncocyclus series:

eg Sweet Iris: Iris pallida

eg Hungarian Iris: Iris variegata

*2. Limniris: Beardless Iris:

 Californicae series

eg Pacific Coast Iris

Hexagonae series

eg Louisiana Iris

Sibericae series

eg Siberian Iris: Iris sibirica

Laevigatae series:

eg Japanese Iris: Iris ensata

eg Large Blue Flag: Iris versicolour

eg Yellow Flag: Iris pseudacorus

Spuriae series:

eg Blue Iris: Iris spuria

eg Yellow-banded iris: Iris orientalis

eg Crested Iris: Iris cristata

3.Xiphium: Smooth Bulbed Bulbous: formerly Xiphion

eg Spanish and Dutch Iris:  Iris xiphium, though Dutch iris also known as Iris x hollandica

eg English Iris: Iris latifolia

4.Nepalensis: Bulbous Iris: formerly Junopsis

5.Scorpiris: Smooth Bulbed Bulbous: formerly Juno

eg Iris persica

6.Hermodactyloides: Reticulate Bulbed Bulbous: formerly Iridodictyum:

eg Iris reticulata: white, blue and violet: see photo below from the Portland Botanic Garden.Blog late19centBG20%ReszdIMG_4174Bearded Iris

The most common iris in the garden, which is a result of a cross between an early German  hybrid, Iris  5 germanica and other naturally occurring European hybrids of Iris pallida and  Iris variegata, as well as wild species like Iris aphylla.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.30.44 There are so many hybrid cultivars, but they are divided into groups based on size:

Tall Bearded Iris  Over 71cm: Largest iris and the last to bloom.

Border Bearded Iris  38-71 cm tall: Similar size flowers to Tall Bearded Iris, but shorter stems.

Miniature Tall Bearded Iris  38-71 cm tall; Smaller flowers to Border Bearded Iris; Also  called Table Iris, because they are very dainty and suitable for small arrangements. Similar growing conditions to other Bearded Iris.

Intermediate Bearded Iris  38-71 cm tall. Very prolific. Cross between Dwarf and Tall Bearded Iris and require a bit more cooling and a bit more watering than the latter.

Standard Dwarf Bearded  20-38 cm tall and the shortest Bearded Iris; Suitable for borders. Dwarf Bearded Iris are easy to grow, but do require full sun and frosty Winters and loose, well-drained soil. Do not allow to dry out totally over Summer.

Miniature Dwarf Bearded  Up to 20 cm. Suitable for rockeries only.

Aril Bred Iris: Arilmeds:    45-75 cm. Cross between Tall Bearded Iris and desert Aril Iris. They like very well drained soil and may die down in Summer.

A good site for more information on Bearded Iris is: https://www.claireaustin-hardyplants.co.uk/blog/types-of-bearded-irises.

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Bearded Iris   Courtesy of https://pixabay.com

For a description of the many different species, see: http://www.irises.org.au/TypesIris.htm and follow the underlined links.

Siberian Iris:  Iris sibirica

Hybrids of Iris orientalis and Iris sibirica.

Native to Asia and Europe.

Beardless flowers in blue, lavender, yellow and white in late Spring/early Summer. The flowers are smaller than those of Bearded Iris and the foliage is very decorative. They do not grow in water and are not bog plants, but are very tough and can be planted in Spring and Autumn. They need a frosty Winter to flower well. Flowering time is usually November in Australia. The best situation is a damp, sunny spot and they are dormant in Autumn to early Winter.

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Siberian Iris  Courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Japanese Iris:  Iris ensata

Once called Kaempferi Iris, they have been cultivated in Japan for more than 500 years and were once grown exclusively for royalty. Flowers are purple, pink and bicolours and both the sepals and petals are flat. They do not actually live in water, but like the same moist conditions as ferns. Flowering  in November to December, they like damp, acid soil with cold Winters and will be dormant from Autumn to Winter.

Large Blue Flag:  Iris versicolour

Grows in boggy areas and swamps in North-Eastern USA and comes in blue, violet and white.

Yellow Flag: Iris pseudocorus

Native to Europe, where it grows in swamps and boggy ground, but naturalized all over the world. Very invasive and aggressive growth, so should not be planted near waterways. Much safer contained within a walled garden like this one at Dalvui, Noorat, Victoria!Blog PHGPT2 20%ReszdIMG_2090

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Iris pseudocorus ‘Berlin Tiger’

Pacific Coast Iris

From west coast of USA, they are low growing, extremely drought-hardy irises, that need a sunny spot with acid soil. They must only be moved in late Autumn to early Winter .

Louisiana Iris

From the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River area of USA. They are evergreen and one of the few irises that like tropical areas, although they will grow in most of Australia. Has flatter flowers 4 to 6 inches across and bloom in October to November in Australia.  Likes similar conditions to Japanese Iris: moist rich  acid soil and partial shade.

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Louisiana Iris   Courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Spuria Iris :

Come from Central Europe. They usually go dormant for a while in Autumn. They grow in a wide range of soils (especially alkaline), but need a cool Winter and dislike extreme Summer humidity. Flowering in Australia is in October to November.

Dutch Iris: Iris x xiphium  70 to 90 cm tall

Beardless bulbous iris, with royal blue, white and gold flowers in Spring. A favourite with the florists. The blooms last 5 to 7 days.

BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2941BlogReignroses20%Reszd2015-10-24 14.40.33Growing Conditions and Propagation:

Basically, iris like a well-drained soil, with at least 6 hours of sun a day. Full sun all day is even better, but darker-coloured varieties are probably better with protection from the  hot afternoon sun. Because of the wide geographical distribution, cultivation requirements vary greatly and there is an iris for every situation.

Most Iris like to be chilled in Winter, in fact some Dwarf Bearded iris actually require frost to bloom. Bearded Iris are grown in Zones 3-9, while Dutch Iris can be grown in Zones 5-9.

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Bearded Iris in the garden of Villa Lettisier, Morninton Peninsula, Victoria

Bearded Iris likes dry Summers and cool to cold Winters and a neutral to alkaline soil, which is moist during their active growth and flowering, but dry after that. Siberian Iris like damp boggy soil, shade and a frosty Winter. Pacific Coast Iris like a dry Summer, a cool damp Winter and an acidic soil, while Louisiana Iris also like a damp, wet, acidic soil. Rockery Iris like moist, perfectly-drained gritty soil. Iris reticulata likes a good porous soil in a sunny or shady spot with leaf mulch in Winter. None of them like too much nitrogen.

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Dutch Irises: Discovery either side of Hildegard
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Dutch Iris: Lilac Beauty
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Dutch Iris: Hildegard

Plant Dutch Iris bulbs in the Autumn for Spring flowering. Last year, we ordered and planted 5 bulbs each of Discovery (Royal Blue); Hildegard (pale blue); Lilac Beauty (violet); Casablanca (white); and Golden Beauty (gold) from Tesselaars. Plant bulbs 10-15 cm deep and 10-15cm apart, pointed end up. Lift and divide every few years to avoid overcrowding. I planted them with cornflowers to hide their dying foliage after blooming.

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Dutch Iris: Golden Beauty
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Cornflowers replacing the Dutch Iris for Summer in the cutting garden

Propagation is usually by division, more rarely seed. In the following paragraph, I will describe the cultivation of Bearded Iris:

Divide the clumps in Summer every 2to 3 years, when they become congested. Separate the rhizomes by hand or with a sharp sterile knife if necessary. Check the rhizomes for borer attack, to which they are susceptible, and discard any infested ones. A good rhizome will be the thickness of a thumb with healthy roots and 1-2 leaf blades. Plant bare-rooted in late Summer in an open sunny position. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rhizome should still be visible on the surface of the soil, where it can absorb the sun’s warmth, but in Australia, they can be covered with  1.5 cm soil to avoid scorching. My gold Bearded Iris came from our rental place and last year, we discovered some forgotten Bearded Iris clumps growing under the shade of the cumquat trees, so we divided the clumps and replanted the rhizomes singly along the edge of the Moon Bed. Already, they have multiplied profusely and I cannot wait for them to flower this Spring, so that I can discover their colours!BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-18 09.01.28Uses:

Highly ornamental plant, which is fragrant, low maintenance and  multiplies readily. Good as a feature plant, in a border or in a rockery. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love them!

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Bearded Iris in ornamental bed at Carrick Hill, South Australia

Floristry: Buy when the colour is visible beneath the sheath, but before the petals have started to unfurl (see photo below). They do not like preservative, as iris do not like sugar, so only use a few drops of chlorine bleach in the vase water. Do not arrange with daffodils unless the latter have been conditioned, as the daffodils’ toxic sap will affect the iris stems.

BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 16.25.10BlogSpringfeastg20%Reszd2015-10-29 11.04.10BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3012Perfume Industry and Medicine:

Grown for the production of irone, orris oil and orris root. Irone is a methylione odorant, used in perfumery, which is derived from orris oil and has a sweet floral, woody, ionone odour. Orris root is used in perfumery, potpourri and medicine and is actually the rhizome of Iris germanica and Iris pallida. The rhizomes are harvested, dried and aged for up to 5 years, during which time the fats and oils degrade and oxidize, producing fragrant violet-scented compounds, which are valuable in perfumery. Aged rhizomes are stem-distilled to produce iris butter or orris oil. This essential oil is used as a sedative in aromatherapy. The dried rhizome has also been given to teething babies to soothe their gums. Orris root and iris flowers are also used in Bombay Sapphire Gin and Magellan Gin for its flavour and colour. In the past, iris has been used to treat skin infections, syphilis, dropsy and stomach problems, as well as being used as a liver purge, however it should only be used by a qualified practitioner, as the rhizomes can be toxic. Iris contain terpenes and organic acids, including ascorbic acid, myrsistic acid, tridecylenic acid and undecylenic acid. The Large Blue Flag, Iris versicolour, and other common garden hybrids, contains elevated amounts of toxic glycoside iridin, which cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and skin irritation, though it is not normally fatal.

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The Yellow Flag Iris,  Iris pseudocorus, used to be grown in reed bed substrates for water purification, as they consumed nutrient pollutants and agricultural runoff, but they are extremely invasive and have become a noxious weed, clogging up waterways.

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Iris pseudocorus   Courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Finally, a brief description of some other types of iris in the Iridaceae family:

Native Iris

Peacock Iris: Moraea aristata: Endemic to Cape Town, South Africa

Rare Winter-flowering bulb, with large white blooms (5 to 7cm across) with a deep, iridescent blue eye on each petal. Their undersides are also white, but covered in decorative blue freckles. They have no scent. Easy to grow, they are best left in the ground to naturalize. The foliage and flowers emerge Winter to Spring and they are dormant through Summer. The flower stems grow 20to 35cm tall and the narrow foliage grows to 40cm. Can easily be cultivated in sunny gardens with sandy or clay soils , but prefers well-drained, humus-rich soil. Grow in full sun to light afternoon shade. Water in and keep moist during active growth and keep relatively dry during dormancy. Critically endangered in the wild.

Dietes, also called Wild Iris, Butterfly Grass or African Iris: Dietes iridioides

A clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial, also from South Africa. Dietes have dark green, strappy foliage and white (marked with yellow) and mauve, iris-like flowers on tall stems in Spring. The flowers have six free tepals, that are not joined into a tube at their bases and only last one day. The flowers are followed by 3-celled capsules, containing numerous seeds, on stalks, which bend right down to the ground for easy propagation. Grow in full sun or part shade. Although tolerant of tough conditions, Dietes will perform best in well-drained soil, rich in organic material. Fertilize occasionally and water during dry spells. Do not remove flower stems, as they continue to flower for several years. Propagate by seed or by division of established clumps.

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Dietes   Courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Native Iris or Silky Purple Flag: Patersonia sericea

Densely-tufted, perennial herb with short rhizomes. Endemic to the east coast of Australia and first described in 1807, Patersonia grows in dry sclerophyll forests, woodland and heath, preferring sandy, well-drained soil on the coast and ranges.blogiris20reszdimg_0651 Up to 60cm tall, with stiff grass-like grey-green leaves and three-petalled, blue-violet flowers in terminal clusters, enclosed in two large papery bracts, in Spring and Summer, which last less than a day. Frost-tolerant and thrives in hot, dry situations. There are 6 other species in the Patersonia genus.blogiris20reszdimg_0673

 

Favourite Private Country Gardens: Part 2

Last week, we started looking at some of the beautiful private country gardens, which we visited during our time in Victoria. Here are a few more stunning gardens:

1. Villa Lettisier

1936 Boneo Rd Flinders   0.8 ha (2 acres)

Situated at the end of the Mornington Peninsula, we visited this amazing garden on the morning of 1st November 2009 through the Australian Open Gardens Scheme. Inspired by a love of Italy and the magnificent coastal scenery and clifftop views, the owners built a Palladian-style house (based on the 16th century architecture of Andrea Palladio) on an imposing site and commissioned well-known garden designer, Paul Bangay, to design a formal garden to complement the perfectly symmetrical villa.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 235BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 108BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 109 BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 174Originally an old dairy farm, mature pre-existing cypress, oaks and Moreton Bay figs provided a framework for the garden.  The grand driveway curves through this parkland, with the odd glimpse of the house and ocean, then straightens up to provide a long formal approach to the gravel forecourt in front of the villa.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 228BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 201BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 210 An old dairy shed was retained as a reminder of the property’s history.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 124 I loved the entrance to the walled garden with deep red climbing roses growing against bright ochre walls.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 110

The walled garden provides essential shelter against the coastal winds and echoes the symmetry and formality of the villa. It is divided into a series of garden rooms.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 203BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 206BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 133BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 126BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 127 The initial forecourt contains climbing and  bush roses and a Rugosa hedge of  ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 202BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 115BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 116BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 111BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 204 Leading towards the villa are four beds of pillar roses- two pink and red; two cream and apricot, each with their own obelisk for a climbing rose and many irises. Here, the garden walls are covered with espaliered Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’. Olives provide a secondary axis, their silver grey foliage contrasting with the glossy green magnolia leaves.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 120BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 121BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 128BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 130 The centre room is created by a huge hedge of Leyland cypress, edged with clipped rosemary. Here the secondary axis is provided by fountains with wisteria. The next room is lined with walls, covered in the fragrant Rugosa rose ‘Roseraie de l’Haie’, one of my favourites, and contains four reflection pools.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 129BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 132BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 134BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 135There are two more walled areas: a delightful formal vegetable garden and a long aqua pool, set in grass. The vegetable garden is entered through a tunnel, formed by espaliered fruiting pear trees, trained over a metal arch.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 176

The walls are covered with espaliered lemon trees and the four garden beds divided by low hedges of box, lavender and curry plants.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 188BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 183BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 181BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 190BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 192 Obelisks, in the centre of the beds, support apple trees.

BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 178BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 185 The long skinny pool is lined with a hedge of box, in front of walls covered with fruiting figs.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 175And then, there were the mind-blowingly, stunning perennial borders either side of the walls, a later addition to the overall design and continuing the symmetry, equilibrium and balance of the garden.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 155BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 137BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 142BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 148BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 223BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 147BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 151 Gates were put into the walls on either side to access the perennial beds and hedges of olive trees protect the borders. BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 159BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 141One side was all pastel colours, while the other side featured a bold, dramatic colour range.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 161BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 162BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 166BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 169BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 226 This garden is rarely open to the public, but it was open last March as part of the Mornington Peninsula Garden Tour, a full day costing $195 per person and run by Open Gardens Victoria and featuring four gardens : The Garden Vineyard already discussed; Rick Eckersley’s Musk Cottage, a garden I have yet to visit and not to be confused with Musk Farm Garden, described later in this post; Cruden Farm (see : https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/02/part-2-favourite-private-gardens-historic-gardens-part-2/ ) and Villa Lettisier. Who knows, maybe you might be able to get a personalised tour, like we did with the gardener’s friendly basset hound, Bella!BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 2532. Barb and Pete’s Garden

283 Keys Rd Flinders     1.2 ha  (3 acres)

The same day (1st November 2009), we visited Barbara and Peter Labb’s garden, also open through the Open Gardens Scheme and  equally impressive, but in a totally different way. Peter and Barbara bought the small farm in 1994.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 355There was an established garden and windbreaks along the driveway and the south side of the house, as well as young plantations of Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus ovata) in the damp gullies of the paddocks. Barb and Pete were keen to link the garden with the paddock plants to create a wildlife corridor, and to this end, they built an informally shaped dam with a floating island and planted the dam walls with native trees and the house paddock with hardy shrubs with aromatic foliage and nectar-producing flowers.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 319BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 367BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 366BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 385BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 269 BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 362BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 360BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 307BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 371They now have plenty of birds and six frog species frequenting the dam.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 330BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 333There was also a long preexisting pergola, which initially finished at the start of the paddock. It was extended in 2004 to connect the old garden with the newer parts of the garden. The pergola is covered in climbing roses.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 295BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 304BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 370 Pete and Barb love their old roses and have planted over 200 different types from old-fashioned Ramblers to Rugosas and Species roses, like the wonderful hedge of Stanwell Perpetual, which lines the driveway (Photo 4). Photo 5 is Mutabilis.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 317BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 309BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 321BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 337BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 260 They are under-planted with lots of drought-tolerant annuals and perennials: self-seeding poppies and forget-me-nots; geraniums and catmints; culinary herbs like borage, thyme and lemon verbena and companion plants for pest control (pyrethrum and nasturtiums).BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 323BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 338BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 344 They use comfrey, with its deep roots, to bring up nutrients from the subsoil, and mulch to break down the heavy clay soil. Dense planting also shades the soil and prevents runoff.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 325BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 327 The lawn is planted with an avenue of claret ash. Asparagus, rhubarb and sweet peas are planted in the vegetable garden and there is a worm farm and beehives, as well as a new orchard.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 256BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 257BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 258BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 331In 2004, their son David built a glass shed, timber studio and loggia, overlooking the dam, for family gatherings.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 267BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 300BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 284 The new garden around the buildings was designed with climate change in mind and contains native flora and succulents amongst the gravel.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 390BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 276BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 285BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 272BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 286BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 277BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 283 It even has its own little creek with its own ecosystem.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 391 It is an interesting garden with lots of colour and texture and lots of grasses and sedges.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 290BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 291BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 382BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 402BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 381BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 398BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 397 I loved all the sculptures.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 288BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 261BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 282 I also loved the fire pit and the seating and the huge plate glass windows, looking into the garden and over the dam –a perfect position to view all the visiting wildlife and unwind!BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 270BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 271BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 265BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 306

3. Musk Farm

11 School Rd. Musk  Between Trentham and Daylesford   3.5 acre garden, 32 ha property

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3711069.htmBlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 199BlogPrivCountry20%Reszd2016-07-14 15.12.19We visited another inspirational garden on 25th October 2009 : Musk Farm, which was created on an old school playground by Stuart Rattle, a leading Australian interior designer. The 1871 rural school was closed in 1992 and the school gardens, for which the students had won numerous awards, fell into disrepair and were smothered by weeds and blackberries. When Stuart bought the place in 1998, there was a windbreak of mature Monterey Cypress trees, a large Blue Cedar planted in the late 1870s; a school oval, an old tennis court, a toilet block (which became a potting shed), a small shelter shed from the 1950s (which was transformed into a Summer House) and miles of concrete paths. The map comes from the Musk Farm garden guide book, which we bought on the day that we visited.

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He renovated the 1870s schoolhouse, then developed a beautiful romantic garden, inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 127 A series of defined areas are integrated into a whole by walkways, interconnecting architectures, extensive hedging and garden ornamentation.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 166BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 216BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 149BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 155BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 152BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 157The garden is more formal on the upper areas near the house and becomes increasingly informal toward the wild and wooded areas beyond the old oval.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 154BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 209BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 179BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 186BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 192BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 187 The garden displays strong design principles, as well as allowing Stuart to indulge in his  individual plant passions (eg his collections of Galanthus, Rhododendrons and Viburnums).BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 161BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 177

With rich volcanic soil, a cool climate and an annual rainfall of 1000 mm, Stuart was spoilt for choice when it came to plant selection, although the long drought from 2001 to 2009 was a major challenge for the lawn and the rhododendrons!BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 156BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 175 The garden is constantly changing and evolving.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 131BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 145BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 146 The 14 garden rooms include : a Motor Court; a Rondel; a Trellis Garden; a Shade Garden; a Summer Garden; a Terrace; a Picking Garden; a Chestnut Lawn and Viburnum Border; a Pear Walk (Manchurian Pears, under-planted with Hypericum); a Court Garden on the old tennis court; Galanthus beds; a Rhododendron Garden; the Oval and Basin (a pond replacing the old school cricket pitch); a Woodland with thousands of daffodils and bluebells; and an Autumn Garden.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 200 The rooms are divided by large clipped hedges of English Box (Buxus sempervirens), Viburnum tinus, and the traditional Edwardian hedging plant, Privet (Ligustrum vulgare). There are so many treasures in this garden from the  rare Galanthus to some of my favourite climbing old roses and species roses ; the viburnum and rhododendron collections; the tree fuschias, hellebore species, self-seeding aquilegia, dwarf gladioli and bearded iris.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 182BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 174 I particularly loved the Picking Garden with its twin blue urns, the masses of recurrent scented roses and buddlejas, dianthus, geranium, herbaceous peonies and a 4o year old Tree Peony.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 142Unfortunately, Stuart met an untimely end in 2013 and Musk Farm Garden  was sold in 2014. While it may not be possible to visit the garden, you can visit it in a book, recently written by Paul Bangay, called ‘Stuart Rattle’s Musk Farm’, now available online on Paul’s website: http://www.paulbangay.com.au/stuart-rattles-musk-farm-now-available/

4. Lixouri

24 Hague’s Rd Barkers Creek    20 acre property; 2 to 3 acre garden      Ph (03) 5474 2747

http://www.gardenatlixouri.com/Lixouri_Site/Garden_History.html

I was blown away by this beautiful Mediterranean garden, which we visited on 31st October, 2009, as part of the Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens Inc. Max and Margaret Beyer bought the land in 1980, after spending 7 months with their two young daughters on the Greek island of Cephalonia. They had previously spent 8 months in Greece, back in the mid 1960s, and had a love affair with the Mediterranean style and way of life.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 028BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 029They built a two-storey mud brick house over a period of 20 years, starting in 1983, and by 2000, the garage/gallery and Margaret’s stained glass studio were completed.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 060BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 063 They were keen to be as self-sufficient as possible and are totally reliant on their own solar power, with the odd use of a backup generator in Winter. Heating (and cooking) is provided by a slow combustion heater, with a hydronic heating system attached, and they have a solar hot water system.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 082BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 032BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 050 They planted 260 olive trees of 3 different varieties : ‘Barouni’; ‘Californian Queen’ and an Italian variety ‘Fratoia’ along the gravel driveway in 1981, having to hand-water every single one by bucket during the 1981 to 1982 drought, but it was worth it, as they produced 125 litres of olive oil from the 2014 crop.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 035The north-facing terrace garden in front of the house was the first part of the garden to be planted, but the combination of drought and the hard, compacted clay soil made growth difficult and slow. The climate of Central Victoria is very similar to the Mediterranean climate with short, clear seasons: a cool sunny Spring with showers; hot dry Summers; a rainy Autumn, which can have crisp sunny days and wet cold Winters, also with crisp sunny days. The garden owes much of its success to clever plant selection, soil improvement with organic mushroom compost and old cow manure and heavy mulching, with a  7 cm  layer of pea straw, cane or lucerne, to reduce water evaporation and keep the soil cool. Most of the plants are hardy and drought-tolerant.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 033BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 047Here is a photograph of a map of the garden, taken from page 172 of ‘Gardens of the Goldfields: A central Victorian Sojourn’ by Mandy Stroebel (2010) :BlogPrivCountry20%Reszd2016-07-14 16.41.13The house is shaded in the front by a large post-and-beam pergola, covered in the Cherokee Rose, Rosa laevigata, a white muscat grapevine and a purple wisteria, grown from cuttings of an old vine on a house near Barkers Creek School.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 042BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 040

Earthen pots and elegant urns hold colourful succulents and bonsai conifers, which thrive in the dappled shade underneath the pergola. The use of large terracotta pots is repeated throughout the garden and reinforces the Mediterranean feel.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 031BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 038BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 037The front garden is divided into three terraces by sandstone walls, built by local stone mason, Russell Jenkins. BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 081Recycled brick, sandstone steps and gravel (locally sourced from Dunolley) paths wind through the garden beds and terraces to the olive grove and down to a tranquil dam with a sandy beach and a wooden jetty, whose steps are flanked by bowls of succulents. The dam is fringed with yellow water iris, grevilleas, birch and willow and white gums and is set against a backdrop of blue gums, paperbarks and almonds. Max buried water pipes under all the garden beds and driveways, so that every single drop of water feeds into the dam.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 083BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 045BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 036BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 079 Above the dam are two smaller ponds, which filter the water en route and are lined with prostrate grevilleas, water iris, grasses and small trees.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 068BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 061

The terrace garden is a mixture of native and exotic plants and trees : tightly clipped, rounded forms of white cistus, hebes, grevilleas, westringia  and salvias and soft flowing plantings of old roses; self-seeded Flanders poppies and Queen Anne’s Lace; artemisias and echiums , bearded iris; euphorbias; lavenders, carpet thyme and rosemary are set against accent plants, like the upright punctuation marks of pencil pines and the structural shapes of cordylines, yuccas and New Zealand flax plants.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 044BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 039BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 051

A tall curved wall, between the house front and the garage, divides the terrace garden and the studio garden and protects a mature lemon tree from frost.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 080

It is covered with buttercup-yellow ‘Mermaid’ rose blooms in Spring and Summer and has an arched gateway, topped with a tiny belfry, redolent of Mediterranean villages, and iron gates designed by  local artist, Trefor Prest, which lead from the eastern courtyard to the gallery/garage and Margaret’s studio.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 065BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 048BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 052

A porch with a balcony and wrought iron balustrade, added in 2005, reinforces the Mediterranean feel.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 070BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 064BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 066 The bank below the garage/ gallery is covered in rock and planted with ground covers and thymes.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 077The studio garden overlooks a natural reflective pond and contains a Japanese maple, a white Judas Tree and a Sorbus, which has white Spring flowers and orange Autumn berries. There are plans to build a wooden Japanese bath house behind the garage.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 043BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 062BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 069The vegetable garden is directly behind the house and is very productive in Spring and Autumn with carrots, lettuce, broccoli, chard, garlic and Spring and brown onions, mixed in with sweet peas, oriental and Flanders poppies, lavender and sunflowers. Summer vegetable gardening is limited by the heat and the hot dry winds.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 072BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 074BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 073 The vegetable bed is edged with  dry sandstone walls and screened from the house by the southern embankment, which has been planted up with native and exotic shrubs and plantings including: a Chinese Pistaccio, a flowering cherry and dogwoods; coastal banksias, correas, bottlebrush and grevilleas; ceanothus; hardenbergias; roses; hollyhocks, wall flowers and self-seeded Californian poppies. Other deciduous trees in the garden include oaks, a Japanese Pagoda tree, an Albizia with lime-green flowers, a Manchurian pear and a medlar.

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Lixouri is a very impressive garden with a lovely warm feel and is well worth visiting if you get a chance. The garden is open by arrangement or can be visited during the annual Castlemaine and District Festival of gardens Inc. This year’s festival is from 29th October to the 6th November 2016. See : http://www.festivalofgardens.org/.

These are only a small number of the amazing gardens we saw in Victoria and I haven’t even started on the other Australian states! I will also be writing a few in-depth posts in the future on individual gardens like Red Cow Farm, Sutton Forest, Southern NSW, and Glenrock, Tenterfield, Northern NSW. Next month, I will be focusing on specialty private gardens.

 

 

Spring Bulbs in My Cutting Garden : Feature Plant for September

Since it is the very start of Spring, I thought I would celebrate with a post on my favourite Spring bulbs in the cutting garden. I have also included bulbs from other parts of the garden, where they fit into the same bulb type. These were our first jonquils for the season.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 15.05.18Most of the bulbs were sourced from Tesselaars (https://www.tesselaar.net.au).BlogFavNurseries20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.24.43BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 280BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 248 However, I bought the Narcissus panizzianus and Lady Tulips from Lambley Nursery (http://lambley.com.au/) and the rest of the latter from the Drewitt Bulbs stall (2nd photo below) at the Lanyon Plant Fair (http://www.drewittsbulbs.com.au/).BlogFavNurseries20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.24.04BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0650 (2)The erlicheer jonquils were given to us by a friend. We have been enjoying the jonquils for the last few weeks of Winter, so I will start with Narcissi, then progress to tulips, freesias, anemones and ranunculus.

Narcissi           Also known as  Daffodil, Daffadowndilly, Jonquil and Narcissus

Belonging to the Family Amaryllidaceae, the genus name comes from the Greek word for ‘intoxicated‘: ‘narcotic’ and is associated with the ancient Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in a pond and drowned.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 178The genus arose in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene epochs and is native to the meadows and woods of Southern Europe and North Africa, with the centre of diversity in the Western Mediterranean, especially the Iberian Peninsula. Both wild and cultivated plants have naturalized widely and are hardy to Zone 5. They have been cultivated since early times and were introduced into the Far East before the 10th century. They became increasingly popular in Europe before the 16th century and were an important commercial crop in the Netherlands in the late 19th century. Some species are now extinct, while others are threatened by increased urbanization and tourism. They are the national flower of Wales and a symbol of Spring, as well as cancer charities.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 188Description:  Perennial herbaceous, bulbiferous geophytes, which die back after flowering to an underground storage bulb. The bulbs are long-lived and naturalize easily.

Mainly green or blue-green narrow, strap-like leaves arise from the bulb.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.51.22Flowers normally solitary (ie one flower per stem), though there are cluster varieties, which bear their flowers in an umbel. They are generally white, yellow or both, though salmon varieties have been bred. The perianth consists of 3 parts:

Floral tube above the ovary

Outer ring of 6 tepals = undifferentiated sepals and petals

Central cup or trumpet-shaped corona

The flowers have 6 pollen-bearing stamens around a central style and an inferior trilocular ovary and are hermaphroditic, being insect-pollinated by bees, flies, butterflies and hawkmoths. They flower for 4 months from late Winter (June in Australia) to Late Spring (October in Australia) and are divided into early/ mid and late blooms. The fruit is a dry capsule, which splits to release lots of fine black seeds.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 190There are thousands of hybrids, but they are generally divided into 13 sections with up to 50 species : Trumpet; Large-cupped cultivars; Small-cupped cultivars; Double Daffodil cultivars; Triandrus cultivars; Cyclamineus cultivars; Jonquilla cultivars; Tazetta Daffodil cultivars; Poeticus daffodils; Bulbocodium cultivars (Hoop Petticoats); Split Corona cultivars and 2 Miscellaneous groups.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 016Growing Conditions:

Cold is required to initiate flowering, though some varieties tolerate more heat.

Full Winter sun is best or at least half a day.

A well-drained soil is also best.

Plant bulbs in Autumn with pointy end up 1.5 – 5 times the height of the bulb deep and 10 – 12 cm apart or more if naturalizing. Well-rotted manure can be dug into the bed a few weeks before planting the bulbs. The application of potash or a slow release fertilizer with low nitrogen content will encourage more flowers. After flowering, the leaves should be left to dry out over 6 months to allow photosynthesis to replenish the nutrients and energy of the bulb for the next season’s flowering. Bulbs should not be watered when dormant. Daffodils are propagated by bulb division. Diseases include: viruses (eg yellow stripe virus); fungal infections; and basal rot. Pests include: narcissus bulb  fly larvae; narcissus eelworm; nematodes, bulb scale mites; and slugs.Blog PHGPT2 25%Reszd2014-09-20 10.23.35Use:  Ornamental plants for Spring displays;BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 074 Mixed herbaceous and shrub borders;BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 189 Deciduous woodland plantings; Blog PHGPT2 25%Reszd2014-09-20 10.20.33Rock gardens; Naturalized meadows and lawns and even in containers.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 019They are excellent cut flowers, lasting for up to 1 week, but should not be mixed with other flowers in the same vase, unless preconditioned. Their stems emit a toxic slime, which clogs up the stems of the other flowers, causing their stems to wilt prematurely. Flowers should be picked while still in bud and no floral preservative should be used in the cold water – only a few drops of bleach. To precondition narcissi, cut the stems on the diagonal and stand alone in cold water for at least 24 hours, then discard the water, wash the container thoroughly and arrange with other flowers without recutting the stems of the Narcissi.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1470 Care should be taken when handling, as the sap can cause dermatitis, commonly known in the trade as ‘Daffodil Itch’. All daffodils are poisonous if ingested, though they have been used in traditional medicine. Narcissus produce galantamine, which is used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Dementia.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.51.36The range of daffodils and jonquils is so extensive (there are over 25 000 cultivars!) that I am only describing the types I have in my garden. For more information on daffodils, there is a beautiful book called:  ‘Daffodil: Biography of a Flower’ by Helen O’Neill. Other titles can be found on :  http://thedaffodilsociety.com/wordpress/miscellany/books-on-daffodils-some-titles-for-the-interested-amateur-grower/. In fact this site, http://thedaffodilsociety.com/wordpress/, the blog of the Daffodil Society of Great Britain, is a mine of information with links to other societies worldwide;  other sources of information; articles on daffodil history; places to see daffodils; suppliers; growth notes and interesting obscure facts about them like the use of their juice by Arabs to cure baldness and their yellow flower dye by high-born medieval women to tint their hair and eyebrows!BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 012Species Daffodils:

See : http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/NarcissusSpeciesFive

Narcissus poeticus: Pheasant Eye Daffodils: ‘Actaea’

I have always loved these elegant heirloom daffodils, which are one of the earliest daffodils and probably those associated with the ancient Greek myth, which gives them their name. The species was first described by Linnaeus in 1753 in his work: ‘Species Plantarum’. Their natural habitat is from Greece to France, with the northernmost wild population in a valley in West Ukraine near the Russian border.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 182They have long stems, each bearing a single flower, 7 cm wide,  with a small shallow yellow corona with a neat red rim and wide vivid, white, pointed, reflexed petals. They have an earthy clove-like fragrance. They flower late in the season and cope better with wet, poorly drained areas than most other daffodils. Best in full sun and well-drained soil, they should be planted at a depth 3 times the height of the bulb and 10 – 20 cm apart. They naturalize well.Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0442Narcissus panizzianus

Another heirloom variety, which were grown by Lambleys Nursery from wild seed collected in Italy over 20 years ago. This paperwhite tazetta daffodil grows wild from Portugal to Italy and Greece in Southern Europe and Algeria and Morocco in North Africa. The 35 cm tall stems bear up to 12 pure white flowers with a spicy fragrance in Winter. They have grey green leaves and grow well in dry parts of the garden. I have planted  4 bulbs under my deciduous maple in front of my white statue, Chloe; 5 bulbs around the rusty iron ring statue; and 5 bulbs under the Bull Bay Magnolia; but while they have all produced leaves, they are yet to flower!

Narcissus x tazetta :  Fragrant Daffodils and Jonquils:

Paperwhite Ziva N. tazetta subsp papyraceus ‘Ziva’

The most commonly grown paperwhite, this long-lived frost hardy bulb hails from the West Mediterranean region : Greece, Portugal, Morocco and Algeria and can be grown from Zones 8 – 11. They have blue-grey strap-like foliage and  45 cm tall slender stems bearing clusters of highly fragrant, musk-scented, pure white star-shaped flowers from late Winter to early Spring. The bulbs are frost hardy and should be planted at a depth  of 10 – 15 cm and 10 cm apart. They flower 2 – 3 weeks after planting.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.20.13Erlicheer

These tazetta type jonquils have highly fragrant clusters of  6 – 20 cream to ivory flowers on each stem and are 30 – 75 cm high.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.43.45 Bulbs should be planted at a depth 3 times the height of the bulbs and 10 – 12 cm apart. They naturalize easily, are good in warmer climates and are one of the first narcissi to flower. And they are really tough. Our bulbs were given to us by friends while we were still renting and they sat in a box in the dark under the house for one whole season before we finally remembered them and planted them out and even the drying shrinking bulbs survived and regained their vigour after a year in the ground!BlogTinyTreasures20%ReszdIMG_0271Golden Dawn

Another fragrant cluster daffodil with broad leaves and 40 cm tall stems, each bearing 5 pale yellow flowers (each 4.5 cm wide with an orange corona). See yellow flowers next to the Actaea in the photo below. They have a strong sweet fragrance.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2015-09-15 09.47.35 Very similar to Soleil d’Or, they flower much  later in mid to late Spring. BlogSpring bulbs 20%ReszdIMG_1072 The bulbs should be planted at a depth 1.5 – 2 times their own height and naturalize well. BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-17 15.14.52Double Daffodils: Narcissus x pseudonarcissus:

Acropolis

A late season bulb, they are 30 – 70 cm tall and have very  double, creamy white petals and petaloids with a small deep orange cup. The planting depth is 3 times the height of the bulb and they should be positioned 10 – 20 cm apart.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0522Wintersun: Wintersun is a mid-season bulb, 30 – 70 cm tall,  with a bright yellow flower.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-17 15.15.31Miniature Daffodils: Tête à Tête

These tiny daffodils have golden yellow flowers, 3 – 4cm wide, on 15 cm stems early to mid-season. Each bulb produces more than one flower- usually up to 3 – 4 and often in pairs, with the flower heads facing each other, so they look like they are engaged in a private conversation, ‘tête à tête’, thus their name! They are placed in the Miscellaneous category, as they do not fit easily into the other types. Their seed parent was a primary hybrid of N.cyclamineus and N. tazetta ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’, while the pollen parent was N. cyclamineus.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.10.08 Bulbs should be planted 5 – 15 cm apart at a depth of 3 times their height. Tough and hardy, they are tolerant to both heat and severe cold and are perfect for small gardens, rockeries, the front of beds and pots. Mine are in my treasure garden and have just flowered for the first time! The plants are sterile, but are propagated by bulb division.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-22 15.01.04Tulips:

Tulips are also very popular, highly hybridized bulbs, which have been cultivated since the 10th century. They belong to the Liliaceae or Lily Family and their genus name is the Latinized version of the Turkish name ‘tulbend’, meaning ‘turban’ and referring to the inverted flowers of some of the species.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 249Habitat:  Mountainous areas of temperate climates in Turkey and the Mediterranean areas. 14 wild species are still found in Turkey, but they are very different to the huge showy blooms of the modern hybridized tulips.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 274 History:  Wild collected plants were first hybridized in Persian gardens. They were very popular with the Seljuks and during the Tulip Era of the later Ottoman Empire, when they were a symbol of abundance and indulgence.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 260Introduced to Europe in 1594 by Carolus Clusius (1526 – 1609), a Flemish medical doctor and botanist, they became a subject of speculative frenzy in the Netherlands and a form of currency during a period called Tulipomania from 1634 – 1637, when a single bulb fetched an exhorbitantly high price!BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 314 They were also painted in many Dutch still-life paintings of the period. The Keukenhof in the Netherlands is the largest permanent display garden of tulips in the world. See: http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/footer/about-keukenhof/.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 334For more information about the fascinating history of tulips in both Turkey and the Netherlands, try to read a copy of ‘Tulipomania’ by Mike Dash.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0557Description:  Bulbous perennials with Spring flowers of a wide range of forms (single/ double), stem lengths, colours (single and bicolours) and flowering times (early/ mid/ late Spring). They have an upright clump habit with medium green to grey green glaucous foliage.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-15 17.57.48 The oblong to elliptical leaves, up to 38 cm long and 10 cm wide, twist as they rise directly from the underground bulb and have acute apices.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.45.57 The fruit is an elongated to elliptical ribbed capsule on the spent flower stem and contains many fine black seed.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1246Growing Conditions: Tulips like climates with a long cool Spring, a dry Summer and a cold Winter (Zones 5 – 7). They need a period of cool dormancy (vernalization). In areas with a warm Winter, they should be grown as an annual. They love full sun (but will tolerate partial shade) and moist, rich, well-drained soils. The bulbs should be planted in late Autumn (after 6 weeks in a brown paper bag in the fridge) at a depth of 3 times the height of the bulb- usually 10 – 20 cm deep and 10 – 15 cm apart. I usually plant them on Mothers’ Day. After flowering, leave the leaves to fully senesce before removing in Summer, so the bulbs can replenish their nutrients via photosynthesis for optimal growth the following season.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-16 17.14.40 Propagation is by bulb division or bulblet separation, the seeds taking at least 2 years to propagate! Hybrid tulip bulbs decrease in floral performance and vigour within 1 – 2 years of planting, unlike the species tulips, which get better and better! Their primary disease is bulb rot due to poor drainage, but there are also other fungal and viral diseases. The 2nd photo below shows last year’s tulips in their 2nd season.

Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1256BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-09-04 13.02.23BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-09-02 13.43.08Use:  Tulips are planted as a Spring accent in beds and borders, naturalized drifts and even in pots.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 146 They  are lovely in vases, but any wiring to support their heads must make allowance for the fact that their stems will continue to grow towards the light. Preservative should be avoided, as the sugar results in stem stretching, causing the flowers to flop over. Use cold water with 30 ppm chlorine and never mix with freshly cut Narcissi, until after the latter have been conditioned. Care should be taken when handling tulips, as their anthocyanin causes allergies and dermatitis. They are toxic to horses, cats and dogs.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 300Species Tulips (also known as Botanical Tulips)

There are 150 different wild species from Central Asia to Spain and Portugal. They differ to the hybrids in that they are usually much smaller in both plant height and flower size; have pointed petals;  flower from late Winter to  early Spring and like hot dry Summers; and they increase in bulb number and floral performance over the years. In the photo below, the hybrid tulip on the left dwarfs the Clusiana species tulips on the right.BlogSpring bulbs 20%ReszdIMG_1157 A good site to consult about species tulips is : http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/TulipaSpeciesOne.

Some of them include:

Tulipa batalinii ( yellow dwarf species) and T. linifolia (red Flax-leaved or Bokharan Tulip) from the Bukhara region of Uzbekistan and Turkey.

Tulipa kaufmanniana (Water Lily Tulip): Turkestan; Low growing; Cup shaped blooms with pointed petals of variegated base colour; One of the earliest tulips to flower.

Tulipa gregii: Turkestan; Short stems and large orange-scarlet to creamy-yellow blooms.

Tulipa altaica: Central Asia; Yellow pointed petals.

Tulipa agenensis (Eyed Tulip): Middle East; Crimson red with yellow patch around black centre inside.

Tulipa hageri: Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey and Greece. Red flowers. See photo below.

Tulipa saxatilis (Satin or Rock Tulip) : Bright pink flowers with yellow centres. Hails from the Southern Aegean islands, Crete, Rhodes and Western Turkey.

Tulipa tarda (Late Tulip): Tien Shan mountains of Central Asia; Yellow petals with white pointed tips.

Tulipa acuminata (Fire Flame or Turkish Tulip): Turkey; Rare heirloom tulip, described 1813; Flowers mid Spring; Long narrow scarlet and yellow petaloids with pointy ends.

BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdgrampians 1 262

Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’  Also known as Lady Tulip, Candlestick Tulip or Persian Tulip

An heirloom species, it was originally thought to be native to the Middle East, specifically Iran (Persia), Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tibet, Kashmir and the Western Himalayas, but now believed to be indigenous to Spain. It has been cultivated through much of Europe since the early 1600s. Tulipa clusiana was named after the Flemish botanist, Carolus Clusius, whose work ‘Curae Posteriores’ (1606) documents the obtaining of bulbs via a Florentine grower from Constantinople. The species is normally striped red and white like a peppermint stick, but ‘Cynthia’ is striped red and yellow. It was introduced to gardeners in 1959 by CG Van Tubergen.BlogSpring bulbs 20%ReszdIMG_1158Description:  Narrow grey-green leaves; Solitary flowers in early Spring, borne on 25 cm stems. The pointed , rose-red tepals are edged with pale yellow on the outside and are pale yellow within. I cannot wait for this bud to open and to see the flower for the first time!BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-09-04 13.01.56Growing Conditions:  They require a chilly dormancy, so cold Winters are a requirement (Zones 3 – 8). They love full sun and perfect drainage in an organically enriched sandy soil. Plant in the Autumn, 5 – 10 cm deep and 5 – 10 cm apart. Don’t water much, as too much water during Winter dormancy results in bulb rot. These bulbs do not set seed, but are propagated by bulb offsets and stolons. The bulbs naturalize easily to form large colonies.  Diseases include gray mould and mosaic virus, while pests include aphids; slugs and snails; and mice and voles.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-09-04 14.21.32Use: Best planted in groups of more than 15 bulbs in beds, borders, rockeries and naturalized in grass. Ingestion causes severe discomfort and the sap can cause skin irritations.

Tulipa x hybrid: 

Bokassa Tulips : Bokassa White/ Bokassa Red/  Bokassa Verandi/ Bokassa Gold

Strong growth, compact foliage and medium stems. Good for pots and small gardens.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1153Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0543BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.46.26Parrot Tulips: Destiny Parrot:

A flamboyant mid season tulip with pink-red feathered petals.Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0303Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0296Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 10.59.57Lily TulipsSynaeda Orange/ Claudia (pink)/ Tres Chic (white)

Late season, urn-shaped flowers with a distinct narrow waist with pointed reflexed petals.

Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0431Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0521Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0617Monet Pink:

Late blooming, huge goblet-shaped flowers on tall stems.