Feature Plant For August: South African Bulbs in My Garden

Last week, I discussed some well-known garden plants from South Africa, but because the post was fairly lengthy, I reserved the South African bulbs for their own separate post and designated them to be my feature plant for August! Even though, I know officially that it is the 31 July today, given that tomorrow is the first day of August and gladioli are known as the Flower of August in the Northern Hemisphere, I wanted to start the month with my feature plant post and specifically, gladioli!!!

Gladioli

Our Glads‘ were made famous in Australia, as well as the rest of the world by Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries), See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqGeQXCmRJI; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2117434/Dame-Edna-Everage-creator-Barry-Humphries-reinvented-comedy-TV-chat-shows.html; and http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-18973102, though in reality, these particular showy large-flowered varieties hail from the Cape region in South Africa!!!BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_9184The genus belongs to the Iris family Iridaceae and contains 260 species endemic to South Africa; 76 species endemic to Tropical Africa and 10 species native to Europe.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_9188Also known as Sword Lilies, the Latin diminutive for ‘gladius’ meaning ‘sword’ and referring to their sword-like leaves, they also bear tall flower spikes, over 1 metre tall, in Summer, though here in Australia, successive planting can ensure a continuous display from early Summer to early Autumn. In Europe, they are known as the Flower of August.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey are very popular in the cut flower trade and have a long vase life, their flowers opening from the base up. They should be bought when the two lowest flowers are showing strong colour, with at least 5 buds up the spike showing clear colour. Avoid spikes with most of the flowers open, as they will not last long.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-01-01 00.00.00-19Gladioli were introduced to Europe between 1739 and 1745, the first hybrid produced by William Herbert in 1806, with hundreds of varieities bred by the 1850s. Today, there are over 10 000 registered cultivars of a variety of solids and bicolours, brights and pastels,  and colours ranging from pink, red, purple, white, yellow orange and even green. Tesselaars has a good range of cultivars, including Dame Edna’s Delights: https://www.tesselaar.net.au/gladioli.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs2517-12-21 11.41.27The corms should be planted in late Autumn and Spring in a warm, well-drained sunny position, protected from the wind. They don’t like damp feet and may need staking once their stalks reach a certain height. Plant 10 to 15 cm deep and 8 to 15 cm apart, with the point of the corm facing upward, in soil, which has been pre-prepared with a little blood and bone, aged cow manure or complete fertiliser. Often planted at the back of borders, they also look good in clumps.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2518-05-22 10.28.57While we inherited two of the large hybrids, a mauve one and a soft yellow, I think I prefer the slightly daintier varieties. I have just planted some G. nanus ‘Blushing Bride’ beside the house. Each corm produces strong compact stems, 45 cm tall, which do not need staking, and two or three flower spikes, each with up to 7 white flowers with pink markings.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs4016-11-18 23.45.10-2

They multiply rapidly and are tolerant of heat and frost, so should do well in my white bed at the feet of my Tea rose, Mrs Herbert Stevens, along with another South African bulb, also in the Iridaceae family: Freesias.

Freesias

Named after German botanist and physician, Dr Friedrich Freese, freesias are native to Southern Africa from Kenya to South Africa, with the most species found in the Cape Provinces.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-13 17.33.44Most of the freesias sold today are hybrids of crosses made in the 19th century between F. refracta and F. leichtlinii, as well as with the pink and yellow forms of F. corymbosa. They have fragrant funnel-shaped flowers in a range of colours from whites and yellows to pinks, reds and mauves, over a long period from the end of Winter through Spring.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-23 18.31.41 The most fragrant of all are Grandma’s freesias, R. refracta alba, but some of the Bergunden and semidouble forms have good fragrance as well.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-23 18.31.25The flowers are zygomorphic, all growing on the one side of the stem in a single plane. However, because the stems turn at right angles just below the bottom flower, the upper part of the stem grows almost parallel to the ground and the flowers bloom along the top side of the stem, pointing upwards. They are popular in wedding bouquets and have a long vase life.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-11 11.37.14They can be grown from corm and seed, the plants naturalising well in lawns, beneath trees and along roadsides and embankments. Corms should be planted from late Summer to early Winter in well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. They look wonderful in massed plantings and really brighten up the Spring garden.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-25 12.50.47I originally planted Grandma’s freesias in my cutting garden and despite the subsequent move of their corms to the embankment above the tea garden, they are still popping up in amongst their old neighbours, the Dutch Iris. They compete with the couch grass and are naturalising well and their white flowers with splashes of gold complement the white and gold colour scheme of the Tea Garden.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-25 12.51.08This year, I decided to splash out with the brighter colours with some mixed massing Freesias and have planted these with my Blushing Brides in the bed on the front wall of the  house.

Nerines

Growing on the back wall of the house along the entrance path at the opposite time of the year, these wonderful Autumn bulbs provide welcome colour, when everything else is winding down for the year!

Also called Guernsey Lily, after naturalising on the island’s shores, they are not true lilies and are members of the Amaryllidaceae family and are more related to Lycoris and Amaryllis. Native to South Africa with 20 to 30 evergreen and deciduous species, they were named after Nereis, the sea nymph in Greek mythology, who protects sailors and their ships.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2017-05-18 14.31.13They bear clusters of up to 15 flowers with narrow reflexed petals in a range of colours from white to gold, orange, red and pink. In many species, the flowers appear before the leaves and require full sun to flower well, however, my nerines bear flowers and foliage at the same time and flower quite happily in the shade, so I suspect they are N. flexuosa alba.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-04-29 18.44.38Nerines are the ultimate low maintenance flower. Very tough and frost hardy, their only stipulations are to be left to dry out during their dormant period (Summer) and to be left to their own devices and not disturbed! Only lift and divide if overcrowded, as the plant will not bloom for two years after lifting.BlogSouthAfrBulbs3018-05-01 15.02.28-2Arum or Calla Lilies Zantedeschia aethiopica

Named for the Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschia (1773-1846) and hailing from South Africa north to Malawi, these so-called lilies are also not true lilies, belonging instead to the family Araceae. Classified rather as herbaceous tuberous perennials, they grow from fleshy rhizomes and form 1 m high, large dense clumps, wherever there is good water.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-06-26 17.43.24There are eight species in the Zantedeschia genus, as well as many hybrids with a colour range from white and pink to yellow, orange, purple and black. See: http://www.gardeninginsouthafrica.co.za/index.php/1243-november/zantedeschia-hybrids-are-easy-to-grow-and-offer-gardeners-a-vast-array-of-rainbow-colours-to-enjoy.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-18 16.50.08BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_1320Popular with florists, especially in bridal and funeral arrangements, these elegant plants have attractive, lush, glossy green, upward facing, arrow-shaped foliage and a rigid vertical flower stalk, ending in a spathe flared funnel with a yellow spadix, followed by yellow oval berries. The variety I inherited in my hydrangea bed is called Green Goddess and has a creamy white spathe, splashed with green on the outer edge.

However, while I love their elegant blooms, I have also am a bit wary of them! These vigorous plants love moist sunny areas like creek banks and swamp edges and spread easily by seed and rhizome offsets, so have naturalised easily throughout the world and in some areas are so invasive that they are declared pests and banned from sale.BlogSouthAfrPlants25%IMG_3644 They can also tolerate full shade (like my hydrangea bed!), invade pasture in moist sites and have caused stock deaths, being highly toxic on ingestion. Their irritating sap can also cause eczema. Below are photos of the elegant black form.BlogSouthAfrBulbs25%jarod's 007BlogSouthAfrBulbs25%jarod's 008BlogSouthAfrBulbs25%jarod's 014Another hardy invasive South African bulb, with invasive tendencies is:

Monbretia Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora

Belonging to the Iridaceae family with 8 species and many hybrids, Crocosmia hails from tropical and eastern South Africa, its name coming from the Greek words: ‘krokos’ meaning ‘saffron’ and ‘osme‘ meaning ‘odour’, referring to the saffron-like odour produced when water was spilt on a dried specimen.BlogSouthAfrBulbs3018-01-05 16.59.59Monbretia is a hybrid bred in France from a cross of C. aurea and C. pottsi, then introduced as a garden plant in the United Kingdom in 1880. By 1911, it had escaped the garden, then spread rapidly throughout the UK and Europe (as well as all states of Australia except for the Northern Territory) both naturally (by rhizomes) and the disposal of garden waste in the late 20th century. It is now considered an invasive weed and is banned for sale in the UK, as well as in New South Wales! It thrives in moist well-drained soils sun or part shade and is frost- and heat- tolerant.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_1083Its strappy, upright, spear-shaped, bright green leaves emerge from underground corms in early Spring and are followed by long, arching, zigzag spikes, bearing bright orange to red tubular flowers with long stamens in late Summer and Autumn.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2015-12-19 10.03.40BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0967 Despite its bad reputation, I am still happy to have it in my old garden, as it is very much a plant of my childhood and I still love its nodding stems and its pretty bright orange dainty bells, which complement the neighbouring agapanthus so well, both in the garden and in floral arrangements!BlogSouthAfrBulbs2015-01-20 16.04.30BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_5179BlogSouthAfrBulbs4018-01-02 10.01.58 For more information on other species and hybrids, most of which are not invasive at all, see: https://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Crocosmia and https://www.gardenia.net/plant-variety/crocosmia-montbretia.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0380BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0379Far more politically correct in growth habits, though perhaps not its alternative name, Kaffir Lily, is another bright orange South African bulb, the Clivia, a member of the Amaryllidaceae like the nerines.

Clivias : Clivia miniata

Indigenous to woodlands in South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and eastern Mpumalanga) and Swaziland, Clivias were named after Lady Charlotte Florentina Clive, the grand-daughter of Robert Clive (Clive of India), the species name ‘miniata’ meaning ‘cinnabar red’.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-20 16.01.08 There are only six species of clivia, all of them having pendulous heads except for Clivia miniata, whose flowers point upwards. The other species can be seen at: https://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Cliviahttp://www.australiaclivia.com.au/clivia.aspx   and http://www.melbournecliviagroup.org.au/articles/clivia-species/.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-29 11.25.20Clivia miniata is the most common form in Australia, their low water requirements and preference for shade making them popular under-plantings for trees here for more than 150 years!BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0172 They are often found in old gardens like ours, where they are growing under the big old pepperina tree. We divided the old clumps last year and replanted them, in a bid to increase their mass, as a sea of bright orange clivias in full bloom is a marvellous sight!BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_7206Forming large clumps, they have evergreen strappy leaves and clusters of bright orange flowers  on 40 to 60 cm long stems from August to October, followed by fruiting heads, which turn from green to a luminous red.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_1262 They have been hybridized extensively in Belgium, China and Japan to now include pale yellow, lemon, apricot, pink, deep orange and red and bicolour, single and double blooms, and even variegated leaf forms.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_7273BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0285Rhodohypoxis baurii

A small genus of tuberous flowering plants in the family Hypoxidaceae and native to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, where it forms carpets in grasslands and rocky places. Tufts of grassy leaves appear from rhizomes in early Summer, followed by clusters of pink, red or white star-shaped flowers in Summer, then the plant dies back in Winter.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_1683The genus name derives from the Greek: ‘Rhodon’ meaning ‘rose’ or ‘red’; ‘Hypo’: ‘Below’; and ‘Oxy’: ‘Pointed’, while the species was named after Rev Leopold Baur, a pharmacist, missionary and plant collector, who first collected this plant in the Cape in the 1800s.

While R. baurii is the most common species, there are a number of other species and cultivars.See: https://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Rhodohypoxis.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey like well-drained acidic soil  with a high organic content,  full sun, adequate water in Summer and dry Winters. Often planted in alpine rockeries, I grew mine in my treasure garden, but suspect I have lost it to the frost, despite the claims of frost tolerance on the tag,  and I understand other nurseries have experienced the same. See: https://www.ballyrobertgardens.com/products/rhodohypoxis-baurii!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hope that you have enjoyed this brief taster to some of the more common South African flora, which we grow here in Australia.  I would love to visit South Africa one day during its peak flowering season. It sounds amazing!

South Africa is home to more than 22,000 indigenous seed plants from almost 230 different families and representing 10 per cent of the world’s flowering species. Their enormous diversity and abundance, coupled with the varied climates and topography, supports 9 distinct biomes: Fynbos; Succulent Karoo; Desert; Nama-Karoo; Grassland; Savanna; Albany Thicket; Forests; and the Indian Ocean Coastal Belt. The Cape Floristic Region alone contains 6210 species of endemic plants. For those readers, who would like to know more about South African flora, I found these sites very informative: https://www.sa-venues.com/plant-life/ and https://www.thesabulbcompany.co.za/.

And for those of us, who may never make it to the actual source, a good place in Australia to see South African plants is the Wittunga Botanic Garden: https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/visit/wittunga-botanic-garden/gardens-collections.

For the next four weeks, I am describing some of my favourite embroidery books, before featuring the Viburnum family for September’s post.

Oldhouseintheshires

 

Feature Plant For July: South African Plants in Our Garden

Last month, I described some of the wonderful Australian native plants in our garden, and since like ours, many Australian gardens often grow proteas and diosma as well, I thought I might write a post about some of the South African native plants in our garden. Hailing from a similar latitude in the Southern Hemisphere and with a common Gondwanan ancestry (South Africa and Australia were joined 150 to 80 Million years ago), many South African plants share similar growing requirements to our native plants and have adapted easily to our climate.

Many were introduced from the 1830s on during the Australian Gardenesque period of garden design, as they were hardy and sufficiently different and colourful to lend an exotic air to the garden. The Strelitzia or Bird-of-Paradise plant is a superb example and looks like a brilliant blue crane with a golden orange crown. Unfortunately, it hates the cold and I suspect would not survive our heavy frosts here in Candelo, though they grow well on the coast!

BlogSouthAfrPlants3018-05-19 14.42.38-1However,  Leucospermums, Leucadendrons and Proteas are far tougher! They are the South African cousins of our Waratahs, Banksias and Grevilleas, all belonging to that ancient family Proteaceae, and the similarities in their flowers and leaves is very obvious.

I was surprised by the large number of common garden plants that originated in South Africa like pelargoniums, red hot pokers, plumbago, aloes (top 2 photos below), pigface (bottom photo below), felicia, diascia, agapanthus and gladioli.

Bulb lovers also owe an enormous debt to South Africa with the export of freesias, clivias, dietes iris, nerines, babianas, crinum lilies, amaryllis, ixias (below), watsonia and eucomis (pineapple lily), BlogSouthAfrPlants25%grampians 1 304BlogSouthAfrPlants25%grampians 1 301though perhaps we should have let them keep their Arum lilies, which have become a major weed problem in Western Australian national parks (first photo); oxalis, the bane of every gardener’s life, especially in old gardens; and even that roadside escapee Leonotis leonurus (Wild Dagga) in the second photo below!

Because this post was quite long and there are quite a few South African bulbs in our garden, I will be discussing them in their own separate post next week.BlogSouthAfrPlants25%IMG_3644BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_0579Please note that I am restricting my post solely to those plants which I am growing in my garden. I will also be avoiding agapanthus, which I have already discussed in some detail in its own feature post at the beginning of 2016 at: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/01/12/one-year-on-and-januarys-feature-plant-agapanthus/.

BlogSouthAfrPlants4017-12-27 18.06.33 - CopyBlogSouthAfrPlants2015-12-24 12.37.58I am beginning with Proteas and Leucadendrons, the quintessential South African plants, as they share a common ancestry with Australian natives, so are a good link to the previous post, followed by some old-fashioned and very familiar favourites!!!BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 727

Proteas (Sugarbushes)

A member of the Proteaceae family like waratahs, it has conical flowers composed of  large leathery outer bracts (modified leaves), which look like petals and surround the central banksia-like cluster of styles. BlogSouthAfrPlants2015-10-10 09.25.13There are 194 species, as listed on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Protea_species, but common ones here include the Oleander Leaf Protea, P.nerifolia; the Common Sugarbush P.repens; the Queen Protea P. magnifica and the most famous of them all, the King Protea, P.cynaroides, which is the National Flower of South Africa.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-06-09 10.09.53BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 720BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 734BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-58A friend gave us a protea called Special Pink Ice, P. nerifolia x susannae, for a garden warming present.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-05-22 18.20.30 It is supposed to be one of the hardiest proteas, which is just as well as we have just transplanted it to its third position and the root ball was very poorly-developed, so we have given it a good prune and hopefully, it will like its new home in the native garden area next to the waratah. We have seen 2.5 metre tall trees locally, so the climate obviously suits them.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-02-18 15.49.54 They also like well-drained slightly acidic soils, so it should like growing in front of the cypress. I think the problem has been that both previous positions were in slightly shady situations, whereas they really need full sun. It has flowered for us with beautiful long-lasting pink blooms in the Autumn and Winter.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-04-08 14.48.04To see these amazing plants in full bloom, it is well worth visiting the National Rhododendron Garden in Olinda, Victoria (http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/national-rhododendron-garden) or the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt. Tomah, NSW (https://www.bluemountainsbotanicgarden.com.au/). For more on their growing conditions, see: http://www.protea.com.au.

Leucadendrons (Conebushes)

Another South African plant genus, which flowers in Autumn and Winter and which I will definitely be growing, is the Leucadendron, also a member of the Protaeaceae family. A medium to large evergreen shrub, 1 to 3 metres high, it has large showy colourful bracts, which conceal the flower at the tip.BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 716 There are many different species and hybrids and I find it hard to choose between the colours- green, red, yellow and orange.

They all look so fantastic in floral arrangements.BlogOzNatives50%OC 015  Some of the hybrids, which I would like to grow include:

Safari Sunset  L. laureolum hybrid     https://www.gardenia.net/plant/Leucadendron-Safari-Sunset-Conebush;

Winter Gold L. laureolum https://www.flowerpower.com.au/gardening/pick-of-the-proteas/;

Amy L. laureolum x salignum https://www.kings.co.nz/leucadendron-amy;

Burgundy Sunset L. aureolum hybrid http://www.protea.com.au/our-plants/burgundy-sunset; and

Inca Gold L. aureolum x salignum  https://proteaworld.com.au/product/uncategorized/75mm-inca-gold/.

They like similar requirements to proteas- full sun and slightly acidic, well drained soil. Because they have shallow roots, they dislike soil disturbance, so mulching is important to prevent weeds.BlogSouthAfrPlants5013-06-16 15.48.11 Again, they are tough and hardy, low maintenance and drought tolerant.BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 711BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-39BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-54Diosma (Confetti Bush/ Breath of Heaven) Coleonema pulchellum

Native to the Cape Province in South Africa, this is a pretty little shrub with a rounded growth habit, fine fragrant evergreen  leaves and masses of scentless tiny pink flowers from late Spring to Spring (July to October). I love using them in floral arrangements as their dainty blooms and foliage are a great filler. Very hardy and frost tolerant, they like full sun and good drainage.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-08-22 15.02.13Euryops

A member of the daisy family Asteraceae, the Euryops genus includes 100 species, the majority originating in South Africa, with only a few species from further north in Arabia.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-20 09.56.28 The genus name is derived from the Greek words ‘eurys’ meaning ‘large’ and ‘ops’ meaning ‘eyes’, referring to the large bright yellow flowers, which are borne on long erect stalks throughout the year.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-20 09.56.34 They are useful in small bouquets, as their flowers don’t close at night like other daisies. They love sunny warm positions and well-drained soils, so thrive in the centre of my Moon Bed.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-05-11 16.36.38I transplanted my plants from an old neglected garden, where they were growing wild, and I believe they are the African Bush Daisy or Paris Daisy, E. chrysanthemoides (‘chrys’ meaning ‘gold’ and ‘anthemoides’ meaning ‘flowers’ in Greek).  An upright half-hardy fast-growing evergreen, 1.5 metres high and 1.2 metres wide, with mid-green glabrous leaves and masses of yellow glowers from Spring to Autumn, with the odd flower throughout the year. Bees and butterflies love them! It dies back with the frosts, but fortunately self-seeds prolifically, so I am never without a plant!BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-05-11 16.36.58Perhaps, I should have the frost-hardy Golden Daisy Bush  (or Yellow Marguerite), E. pectinatus instead! It has deeply lobed ‘pectinate’ (meaning ‘narrow divisions like a comb’) downy grey leaves; and golden flowers from Summer to Winter. See: http://pza.sanbi.org/euryops-pectinatus. However, all parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested, so given that I sometimes use the odd flower to decorate cakes, it is just as well that I grow the other species!!!

Osteospermum (African Daisies)

Another very familiar sight, Osteospermum (‘osteo’ meaning ‘bone’ and ‘spermum’ meaning ‘seed’) has 50 species from South Africa and 15 species from the Arabian peninsula. They used to be classified in the genus Dimorphotheca, but now the latter only contains annual forms.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_0224They are half-hardy perennials and subshrubs, which do not handle frost well, so I am growing my specimens in terracotta pots up by the house, where it is warmer.BlogSouthAfrPlants2015-10-09 14.37.37Osteospermums have alternate lanceolate leaves and daisylike composite flowers, which bloom from late Winter to Spring and which close at night. They are composed of a central blue, yellow or purple disc, surrounded by white, cream, pink, mauve, purple or yellow petals in the shape of ray florets.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-08-12 14.58.53 There are so many different types. The common old-fashioned tough and hardy trailing varieties are mainly pink, purple and white,BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-20BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-21 but hybridization has added more compact yellows and oranges to the mix like Sideshow Copper Apricot.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-08-22 15.02.42 There are even double varieties or spooned varieties like Whirlygig.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_0170 (2) Some of the varieties can be seen at: https://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/annual/osteospermum/.

Osteospermums love rich soil and warm sunny positions, but will tolerate dry soils and drought. They make an excellent ground cover on roadside banks.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_0087 For more information, see:  http://www.osteospermum.com/.

Other African Daisies: Gazanias and Gerberas

Gazanias are also known as African Daisies or Treasure Flowers; belong to the Asteraceae family; have 16  annual and perennial species, all hailing from South Africa except for one species in the tropics; have composite flowers with ray florets and a central disc of a contrasting colour, which do not close at night; and do not like frosts either, which is a great shame as I love their large bright sunny faces!BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 354 Traditionally yellow or orange, colours now include: white, pink and red, with two toned, multicoloured and double forms.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 356 They have narrow, silvery-green lance-shaped leaves with lighter undersides and bloom from late Spring to early Autumn.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 358A fast-growing ornamental ground cover, they used to cover roadside banks at Castlemaine, Victoria.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 364 They are easy to grow, low maintenance, love sun and tolerate drought, dry poor sandy soils with low fertility and coastal conditions.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 360 Gerberas (Transvaal Daisies, also called African Daisies) are another love and another genus in the Asteraceae family, hailing from tropical regions in South Africa, as well as Asia and South America.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-103 There are 40 different species, of which G. jamesonii is the most popular and was first described by Robert Jameson in 1889. Most domestic cultivars are the result of a cross between two South African species, G. jamesonii and G. viridiflora.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-115BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-111Classifed as a tender perennial plant, these long-lasting flowers have a large capitulum, composed of hundreds of individual flowers and surrounded by striking two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink and red. There are single, double, crested double and full crested double forms.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-105BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-108 Tesselaars have an excellent range at: https://www.tesselaar.net.au/gerberas.

Gerberas are very popular with florists, who wire their stems to stop the head from drooping, as well as with researchers studying flower formation.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%octo 093Happiest in warm climates, they love sun and well-drained soil. Unfortunately, like osteospermums, they are frost tender, so it is just as well that they make excellent pot specimens! Another plant for the side path by the house!!!BlogSouthAfrPlants50%octo 084BlogSouthAfrPlants50%octo 085 For more on growing gerberas, see: https://www.gerbera.org/ and https://www.gerberaresearch.com.au/Growing.html.

Pelargoniums

Commonly known erroneously as Geraniums,  who in turn are also known as Cranesbills and are their cousins in the family Geraniaceae, the genus Pelargonium (‘pelargos’ is Greek for ‘stork’, referring to the beak-like shape of the seedpods), contains 250 species, 200 of which originated in South Africa, with a further 18 species from the East Africa Rift Valley and 8 species from Australia. The first species to be cultivated was P. triste, which was introduced to England in 1631.

BlogSouthAfrPlants50%nov 2010 234

They have alternate and palmately lobed or pinnate leaves and bear five-petalled flowers in umbel-like clusters and have been classified into 8 different groupings:

Zonal: P. x hortorum: Derived from P. zonale and P. inquinans, these bushes have succulent stems; leaves with zones and patterned centres and single or double flowers of red, pink, salmon, violet or white;BlogSouthAfrPlants50%nov 2010 021Ivyleaved: P. peltatum: Trailing lax growth with thin long stems; thick waxy stiff ivy-shaped fleshy evergreen leaves, giving them excellent drought tolerance; and single, double or rosette blooms;blogsummer-gardenreszd202017-02-04-13-18-42Regal: P. x domesticum: Derived from P. culcullatum, these large, evergreen, floriferous bushes have compact short-jointed stems; no zoning of the leaves; and single flowers in mauve, purple, pink or white.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_9383 Angel: Derived from P. crispum, they look like small Regals, with compact and bushy growth; small serrated leaves; and much smaller flowers;

Unique: Derived from P. fulgidum, but uncertain parentage and do not fit into any of the above categories. Shrubby and woody evergreens, they look like upright Scentedleaved Pelargoniums; have fragrant and often bicoloured leaves; and flowers with blotched or feathered petals;

Scentedleaved: One of my favourites, these shrubby evergreen perennials are grown for their leaf fragrance, which is used in cooking, perfumery, pot pourri and essential oils.BlogSouthAfrPlants2015-10-10 08.05.42 I grow Rose-scented; Lemon-scented; and Peppermint-scented varieties. I was also aware of apple, nutmeg, cinammon and coconut varieties, but other fragrances include:

Raspberry; Strawberry; Peach; Apricot/Lemon;

Grapefruit; Lime; Orange ; and Pineapple;

Lemon Balm; Apple Mint and Lavender;

Almond and Hazelnut; Celery and Ginger;

Old Spice and Spicy; and the stronger more pungent scents of

Balsam; Camphor; Pine; Eucalypt; Eau-de-Cologne; and Myrrh;

Species: The forefathers of all the other groupings; and

Primary Hybrids: the first-time crosses between two different known species and usually sterile.

Pelargoniums are evergreen perennial and are heat and drought tolerant, but can only tolerate minor frosts, so I grow my pelargoniums in pots by the house. These include: Zonal, Regal, Ivyleaved and Scentedleaved Geraniums.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-22 10.27.17 The Geelong Botanic Gardens has an excellent Pelargonium collection, housed in the Florence E Clarke Conservatory, built in 1972 and housing over 200 cultivars. See: https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/gbg/plants/pelargonium/article/item/8cbf43e7c1d1574.aspx.

BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sep 2011 051For more on Pelargoniums, see: http://www.geraniumsonline.com.

BlogSouthAfrPlants50%nov 2010 241Nemesia caerula (Perennial Nemesia)

Delicate perennial, up to 50 cm high, with linear to lance-shaped leaves and dainty two-lipped slightly fragrant flowers of white and pink (though other varieties may be blue, purple or cerise) in Winter and Summer. BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-23 15.25.47Hailing from South Africa, where they are found in sandy soil near the coast and scrubby soil inland, Nemesias like well-drained moisture-retentive slightly acidic soil with organic matter. They thrive in full sun or part shade and prefer protection from the hot afternoon sun in Summer.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-23 15.26.13Perfect for cottage gardens, hanging baskets and borders, I am growing my Nemesia on the edge of the Soho Bed.

Plumbago auriculata blue (Leadwort)

A tough old-fashioned plant, which has crept through the fence from my neighbour’s garden.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-22 16.00.13 It is a sprawling shrub, which spreads by suckers, with pale baby blue flowers in Summer and while it is not my favourite plant, it really is very tough and manages to survive in the dry soil  and shade under the Pepperina tree.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-02-07 14.31.24 For more about its care, see: https://www.dayliliesinaustralia.com.au/plumbago-plant-hedge-plants/.

Kniphofia (Red Hot Pokers/ Torch Lilies)

Also surviving under the Pepperina Tree is a large clump of the original Red Hot Pokers, K. praecox. These hardy perennials have grassy to sword-shaped  strappy leaves, which are popular with basketeers and which emerge from vigorous rhizomes, and eye-catching bottlebrush-shaped blooms at the top of long stems from Autumn to Spring.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%DSCN0527 Popular with nectar-loving birds like rosellas, honeyeaters and wattlebirds, the original flame-coloured blooms have been superseded by breeding programs to include a wide colour range from lemon and golden yellow, scarlet, apricot and salmon, and bicolour mixes, as well as a range of sizes and flowering times.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-12-16 17.54.40 Some of these hybrids can be seen at: http://www.drought-tolerant-plants.com.au/a/Perennial_collection/Kniphofia and https://www.gardenia.net/plant-variety/kniphofia-red-hot-poker.

They love full sun, moist humus-rich, well-drained soil and regular watering in Summer, but having said that, they really are as tough as old boots and can survive drought, neglect and light to moderate frosts.BlogSouthAfrPlants3017-12-30 07.19.27And finally, there are a host of very well-known and loved bulbs hailing from South Africa: the gladioli; freesias; nerines; clivias; arum lilies; clivias and rhodohypoxis, which I didn’t even realize was a bulb until this post!!! Stay tuned for their own special post next week!

Oldhouseintheshires

 

Feature Plants for June: Australian Natives in Our Garden

Even though the garden slows down in the cooler months, we are lucky here in Australia that many of our native flora bloom in the Winter, so it makes eminent sense to include a few Australian native plants in our garden for their colour, scent and bird food to tide us all over till the garden awakening in Spring!BlogOzNatives2017-07-07 09.25.12 Some of the plants, which we are growing, include  iconic Australian native species like Wattles and Eucalypts, Banksias and Grevilleas, and Correas and Westringias.BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2442 That splash of gold provided by the wattle certainly lifts the Winter spirits (photo above), especially in our garden against the backdrop of bare trees ! BlogOzNatives2017-08-11 13.31.09I will be featuring each plant group with a brief introduction, followed by more detail on the particular plant specimens in our garden. The Eastern Spinebill in the photo below loves our Lady O grevillea flowers, which bloom all year round!BlogOzNatives20%IMG_1351Most of them are planted in the garden on the southern side of our house, bound by some very tall old cypress on the fence line, which form a contrasting dark green backdrop to the flowers of the native species. The photo below shows the view from the street with the Banksia in the agapanthus bed in the centre and the main native area to the left on the hill above the Tea Garden.BlogOzNatives2017-01-17 14.49.36This photo is the view of the native area from the house with a hedge of grevilleas on the left and a waratah on the right.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-16Wattles

Wattles and gum trees are two of the most iconic Australian symbols.BlogOzNatives2015-07-29 15.54.35 The Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha, is Australia’s national floral emblem, our sporting teams are instantly recognisable in the famous green-and-gold, and Wattle Day is on the 1st September every year. I love their golden display and their distinctive scent!BlogOzNatives2017-08-08 17.46.04 Wattles belong to the genus Acacia and the family Mimosaceae, with 1350 species worldwide, 1000 of which are Australian. It is in fact the largest genus of vascular plants in Australia and has a wide range of habitats, leaf forms, flowers and blooming times. Wattles are very fast-growing, but short-lived, being very effective pioneer plants in disturbed or fire-ravaged areas. The photo below shows a selection of Acacias, which grow on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.

While we have seen many different species in our local area, one species which is indigenous to Southern NSW is the Cootamundra Wattle, A. baileyana. It is a hardy evergreen with silvery-green fern-like leaves and golden-yellow fluffy spheres of stamens in Winter. It has a magnificent display and its pollen-rich golden blooms are highly attractive, not only to birds and bees, but also florists.BlogOzNatives2016-05-27 15.54.08BlogOzNatives2016-05-27 15.54.13We are growing the purple-leafed form, Acacia baileyana purpurea, which has leaves with a bright purple to burgundy tint, being another very attractive foliage filler in vases. See: http://www.thetreeplantation.com/afgan-pine.html.

It is a good screening plant, 5 to 8m tall and wide, which is very tolerant of soils, extremes in temperatures and coastal exposure. It is also frost hardy and can be grown in full sun or part shade. BlogOzNatives2518-05-16 16.04.34BlogOzNatives2518-05-16 16.04.41We are growing it beside the house, whose purplish-pink walls should contrast well with the darker foliage. It will also screen the carport and car and be able to tolerate the afternoon sun.

Eucalypts

Eucalypts or gums are another symbol of Australia, being the main food source of koalas; the reason for the blue haze of the Blue Mountains in NSW; and the source of the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and decongestant eucalyptus oil.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_0796Eucalypts are immortalised in popular songs like ‘Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree’ (http://alldownunder.com/australian-music-songs/kookaburra-song.htm) and ‘Home Among the Gum Trees’ (http://alldownunder.com/australian-music-songs/home-among-the-gum-trees.htm) and the paintings of Hans Heysen (1877-1968) and Namatjira (1902-1959).BlogOzNatives20%midMar 2014 026Old gum hollows are so important for providing homes for our native fauna and birds. The Guildford Tree (photo 1) in Victoria was already a giant when the early settlers arrived in the 1840s and hosts a variety of birds from kookaburras, magpies, wood ducks, honeyeaters, rosellas, boobook owls, lorikeets (photo 2), corellas (photo 3) and parrots, as well as insects, native bees and possums.BlogOzNatives50%late sept 251BlogOzNatives50%late sept 262BlogOzNatives50%late sept 268Eucalypt trees  are also an important food source for honeyeaters and lorikeets like this varied lorikeet at Riversleigh, North Queensland.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_2786The Eucalyptus genus belongs to the family Myrtaceae and has over 700 species, most of which are native to Australia and which vary in height, plant form, foliage, flowers and seedpods. Here are some photos, showing the diversity in their flowers and gumnuts.

Eucalypt identification can often be quite challenging, as their taxonomy is always changing, and often, gums share common names in different states. The Blue Gum is a classic example and can be any of a dozen species, depending on where you live (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_gum)!

Another case, shown in the photos above and below, is the eucalypt we grow, E. cinerea, which goes by the common name of Argyle Apple, Blue Peppermint or Silver Dollar Tree, the latter also the common name of E. polyanthemos.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-9 The silver dollar describes the decorative soft blue-grey round leaves, which makes it so attractive to florists! It makes a great filler, which is the reason that I am growing it. I also love the smell of eucalypts!BlogOzNatives50%late sep 2011 092It is a hardy fast growing evergreen tree, up to 10 m tall and 7 m wide, which retains its lower branches to near ground level, making it an excellent screen or windbreak.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-12 It bears masses of creamy-white flowers in late Winter and Spring, attracting plenty of nectar-feeding birds and bees. It is tolerant of frost, wet or dry conditions and salt-laden winds.

Banksias

Known as Australian Honeysuckle, the genus Banksia belongs to the Proteaceae Family and includes 173 species, ranging from prostrate woody shrubs to trees over 30m tall.

They were named after Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), who was the first European to collect them in 1770 on James Cook’s first voyage in the Endeavour. He collected four species on that first trip: B.serrata (Saw Banksia), B.integrifolia (Coastal Banksia), B. ericifolia (Heath-Leafed Banksia) and B. robur (Swamp banksia). All but one living Banksia species is endemic to Australia, the exception being the Tropical Banksia B. dentata, which occurs throughout Northern Australia, as well as Papua New Guinea and the Aru Islands.

South-Western Australia has the largest biodiversity, as seen in the photo above, with 60 species only occurring there from Exmouth in the north to Esperance on the Southern coast. Eastern Australia has far fewer species, but have widespread distribution of B. integrifolia (Coastal Banksia- seen in the photo below) and B. spinulosa (Hairpin Banksia).BlogOzNatives2016-06-26 16.53.23 The fossil record includes pollen 65-59 Million years old; leaves 59-56 Million years old and cones 41-47 Million years old.BlogOzNatives50%IMG_3434BlogOzNatives25%IMG_4171Banksia foliage varies with the species from the tiny 1-1.5 cm needle-like leaves of Heath-Leafed banksia (B. ericifolia) to the 45 cm large leaves of the Bull Banksia B. grandis. Most species have leaves with serrated edges, though B. integrifolia does not. The next two photos show B. integrifolia (entire leaf margins)and B. serrata (serrated leaf margins).BlogOzNatives2016-06-18 17.32.56BlogOzNatives20%IMG_5987Banksias all have long flowering spikes and woody cones, which were immortalised in Australian children’s book, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs, where the Big Bad Banksia men were based on the cones of Banksia serrata (Old Man or Saw Banksia).BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0192BlogOzNatives2016-06-01 15.06.57 The flowering spikes are mostly yellow, but also orange, red, pink and even violet.

All are heavy producers of nectar, so are very attractive to a wide range of birds (honeyeaters, lorikeets, wattlebirds and cockatoos), mammals (antechinus and bush rats, honey possums and pygmy possums, gliders and bats) and invertebrates (Dryandra moth larvae, stingless bees and weevils), which also act as pollinators. The Noisy Miner below certainly was enjoying its feast on the flowers of the Acorn Banksia B. prionotes. BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2122Indigenous Australians even used to soak the flowering spikes in water for a sweet drink. Rainbow Lorikeets love drinking the nectar of the flowers of the Coastal Banksia, B. integrifolia,BlogOzNatives2015-06-14 11.23.05while Baudin’s Black Cockatoos enjoy breaking open the banksia cones on the southern coast of Western Australia.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_5361BlogOzNatives25%IMG_4178Most banksias grow in sandy or gravelly soils, though B. spinulosa can often be found in heavier, more clay-like soils.BlogOzNatives50%Image (9) - Copy Most are found in heathland and low woodlands, while B. integrifolia forms forests.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_5984Banksias are adapted to bush fire, the latter stimulating the opening of seed-bearing follicles in the cones and the release of seeds, which quickly grow and regenerate burnt areas. Some banksia species can also resprout after fire from lignotubers.BlogOzNatives2016-06-26 15.34.24While we have a number of different species growing wild here in Southern New South Wales, as seen in the photos below from our recent Winter visit to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney,BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2231BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2333BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2337BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2339I believe our specimen is probably called ‘Giant Candles’, a naturally-occuring hybrid of B. ericifolia and B. spinulosa collina.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-46 (2) It will grow to 5m tall and bears 40 cm large bronze-orange flowering spikes from late Autumn to Winter.BlogOzNatives2017-07-07 13.46.16 It likes well-drained soil in full sun, both conditions which are fulfilled in its position and it is certainly thriving!BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-13 I love banksias for their golden candles and attractive seed cones and this hybrid is a real beauty!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.14.18BlogOzNatives2017-07-07 13.47.23Stenocarpus

A member of the Proteaceae family, the Stenocarpus genus has 25 species of trees and woody shrubs, 10 of which grow in Australia in the Subtropical Eastern Rainforests of New South Wales and Queensland and the northern tropical monsoonal forests of Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-1One of the most well-known species in Australia is the Wheel of Fire, Stenocarpus sinuatus, which originates from Nambucca, Northern NSW to the Atherton Tablelands, Qld. It is also known as Firewheel Tree and interestingly White Silky Oak, due to its widespread planting as an ornamental street tree in subtropical, tropical and temperate climates.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-2Growing from 10 to 30 m tall, this evergreen tree has dark green leaves and large ornamental bright red flowers in Summer (February to March) in the form of umbels in a circular arrangement, hence the name. The flowers are followed by 5 to 10 cm long boat-shaped pods with many thin seeds.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-49A slow grower, it can be grown in full sun or part shade, and is hardy to frost once established, so it is important to protect young trees. We have lost two specimens to frost, so this time, we have bought a more mature tree and are crossing our fingers! I just adore the decorative flowers, made so famous by printmaker, Margaret Preston (1875-1963). See: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/204.1977/.

Pittosporum

We are also growing a Pittosporum undulatum, as well as an exceedingly slow cycad (Macrozamia communis), but I have discussed both plants in detail in my post on Bush Harvest. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/03/01/march-feature-plants-bush-harvest/.

BlogBush Harvest20%Reszd2016-02-10 10.12.09BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-10Grevilleas

Named after Charles Francis Greville (1749-1809), a close friend of Sir Joseph Banks, Grevilleas or Spider Flowers also belong to the Proteaceae family and are the third largest genus in Australia.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0102 (2) It includes 365 species and 100 subspecies, with 350 species endemic to Australia, and has a huge range of habitats, sizes (from ground covers and prostrate shrubs to 35m tall trees), and flower colour and a long flowering period. The photo below features a grand old Silky Oak in our local park at Candelo and a dwarf grevillea growing in coastal heathland at Green Cape on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 11.28.43BlogOzNatives2017-08-29 15.03.19Birds, especially honeyeaters, and the larvae of Lepidoptera love their nectar-filled flowers, which are basically a long calyx split into four lobes. They are such attractive flowers! Below are photos of a Rainbow Lorikeet, an Eastern Spinebill, a Helmeted Friar Bird and a Bar-breasted Honeyeater all enjoying Grevillea feasts!

Cold and frost tolerance varies between species. They do best in well-drained soil in full sun. They interbreed freely, making extensive hybridization possible and resulting in a huge number of cultivars.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_0947 Many cultivars can be seen at Grevillea Park, Bulli, NSW, just north of Wollongong, but opening times are limited. See: http://www.grevilleapark.org/ and http://www.grevilleapark.org/GrevilleaCultivars.html.BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2239BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2237 The Australian Botanic Garden at Mt Annan, just south of Sydney (https://www.australianbotanicgarden.com.au/) is also an excellent place to see Grevilleas, as well as a huge range of banksias and other Australian natives, and is open every day of the year. BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2286BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2242We grow three types of grevilleas in our garden. The photo below shows a hedge of Fireworks on the left and Lady O on the right.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-20Grevillea robusta, the Silky Oak tree, is the largest Grevillea species at 35 m tall. BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-24This fast-growing ornamental evergreen tree, which grows on the East Coast of Australia, has ferny green leaves and orange-gold bottlebrush-like honey-laden blooms.BlogOzNatives2017-06-05 15.00.42Lady O, a cross between a G. victoriae hybrid and G. rhyolitica, is a hardy medium evergreen shrub, 1 to 1.5 m tall and 2 to 2.5m wide, which flowers most of the year with 5 cm long terminal clusters of spidery red blooms, rich in nectar and a magnet for honeyeaters like the Eastern Spinebill. It requires minimal care and is cold- and frost-tolerant.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.51.07BlogOzNatives2016-09-14 11.36.09Fireworks is a slightly smaller, more compact shrub, 1 to 1.2 m tall and wide, with blue-green foliage and attractive red and yellow flowers from Autumn, through Winter and Spring. It was bred by introducing the pollen of G. alpina to flowers of Grevillea ‘Pink Pixie’.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0192Other grevillea cultivars, which I would dearly to grow include:

Honey Gem’ (http://anpsa.org.au/g-honey1.html);

‘Peaches and Cream’ (https://www.gardenia.net/plant/Grevillea-Peaches-and-Cream);

and  ‘Pink Surprise’ (https://www.grevilleas.com.au/grev31.html).

Waratahs

Another very well-known Australian symbol used in decorative art and architecture, with T. speciosissum being the State flower of NSW, and not to be confused with the name of a prominent New South Wales rugby team, Waratahs belong to the genus Telopea and the Proteaceae family.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Telopea comes from the Greek word meaning ‘seen from afar’, referring to the bright red dramatic flower heads, which can be seen from a distance. They are so spectacular and always exciting to see in the wild!BlogOzNatives50%Image (7) - CopyBlogOzNatives50%Image (8) - CopyTelopea are large shrubs and small trees, endemic to South-East Australia, with 5 species:

T. aspera, the Gibraltar Range or New England Waratah, which we saw in the wild on a Spring camping trip. See photos above;

T. speciosissima, the New South Wales Waratah, the species name deriving from the superlative form of the Greek ‘speciosus’, meaning ‘beautiful’ or ‘handsome’. See next three photos below;

T. oreades, Gippsland or Victorian Waratah;

T. truncata, Tasmanian Waratah; and

T. mongaensis, Braidwood or Mongo Waratah.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll are long-lived woody perennials up to 4 metres in height, with dark green alternate leathery coarsely-toothed leaves and small red nectar-rich flowers, densely packed into rounded compact heads, surrounded by crimson bracts, though there are white and yellow cultivars.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0078 (2) They bloom from September to October, are pollinated by nectar-loving birds and butterflies and produce woody seedpods, packed with winged seeds in Autumn.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0074 (2)Good drainage and aeration is essential. All five species readily hybridize in cultivation.BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2573BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2095We have recently planted Shady Lady, a crimson hybrid of T. speciosissima and T. oreades. A hardy vigorous dense shrub 3m tall and 1.5 m wide, it has grey-green foliage and spectacular large red flat flowerheads from late Winter to Spring.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-48 It likes well-drained acidic soil in sun or part shade, with protection from the afternoon sun, so should do well in front of the large pine trees, as well as dramatically contrasting with their dark green foliage.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-21 It has moderate frost tolerance once established,  though we may have to protect it from the frost while still young. It makes a great bird attracting screen plant and is an excellent cut flower. I am very excited to see the opening of its first flower!BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-22Correas

Named after Portuguese botanist, Jose Correia de Serra (1751-1823), Correas belong to the family Rutaceae (along with citrus fruit), with 11 species and 26 subspecies, all endemic to Australia, and hundreds of cultivars.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0191 There is huge variability in size (from ground covers to large shrubs) and colour (from white to deep burgundy), the nectar-rich flowers falling into two types:

Bell eg White Correa, C. alba, and cultivar Dusky Bells; andblogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-09-41Fuchsia eg Chefs Hat Correa C. baeuerlenii and Native Fuchsia C. reflexa (red and green).Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9021BlogOzNatives2017-08-29 16.54.20Perfect for the temperate garden, they provide lots of nectar in the cooler months for nectar-loving pollinating birds and are frost hardy, pest free, low maintenance and tough, their wide shallow root system allowing them to survive under trees, including gums, as well as drought. The hybrids are more compact and heavy flowering than the wild species.

Maria Hitchcock holds the National Living Collection of Correas. See: https://www.gardenclinic.com.au/how-to-grow-article/star-of-the-season-correa and https://correacollection.weebly.com/.

I love their dainty bells and am growing a cultivar called Dusky Bells, which is thought to be a cross between C. reflexa and C. pulchella.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-17 This attractive evergreen shrub is 1m high and 2 to 4m wide and has pale carmine pink 2.5 cm long bell-shaped flowers from March to September (Autumn to Winter), though it still flowers sporadically at other times of the year.BlogOzNatives7016-01-01 01.00.00-17 (2) It likes moist well-drained soil and prefers shade to full sun and is drought and frost tolerant, so should thrive in our garden. We have planted our correa to the left of the grevillea hedge in the photo below.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-26Westringia

Named after Swedish lichen authority and royal physician, Johan Peter Westring(1753-1833), Westringias belong to the Lamiaceae (Mint) family, has 31 species and is endemic to Australia, growing in all states except for the Northern Territory.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-5An identification key to the different species can be found online at: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=gn&name=Westringia.

Tough and hardy, this dense fast-growing shrub has grey-green foliage and mauve, blue-lilac or white flowers throughout the year.BlogOzNatives2518-05-16 16.04.15 Like other members of the Mint Family (eg Salvias), the upper petal of the flower is divided into two lobes. The upper two stamens are fertile, while the lower two stamens have been reduced to staminoides. Bees and butterflies love them!BlogOzNatives2016-06-14 17.36.29They are low maintenance, have very low water requirements and tolerant of drought, cold, frost and coastal conditions (salt-laden winds, sun and dry sandy soils).BlogOzNatives2017-08-29 16.26.09 They are also used for a wide variety of purposes in the garden from ground covers to formal hedges and screens, box garden edgings and ornamental shrubs.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-3Coastal or Native Rosemary, W. fruticosa is one of the most common forms, grows wild on the New South Wales coast and is used in many cultivars, including Westringea fruticosa ‘Wynyabbie Gem’, which we grow in our garden.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-24 10.44.41Hailing from Wynyabbie Nursery, Jindalee, Queensland, it is a hybrid between W. fruticosa and the mauve form of W. eremicola, the Slender Western Rosemary.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-6A very hardy compact shrub, 1.5 to 2 m high and wide, it bears lilac flowers for most of the year, though it is most prolific in Spring. It can be grown in full sun or part shade and is tolerant of most soils and conditions, though it grows best in well-drained soil in a sunny open position.  I love using the dainty blooms in floral arrangements.BlogTinyTreasures20%Reszd2016-07-06 17.33.14I would dearly love to grow more natives over time- boronias, eriostemons and croweas for their beautiful flowers, hakeas for their interesting woody pods and tree ferns for their beautiful fronds!BlogOzNatives2015-12-14 18.12.50 I still yearn to grow New South Wales Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum), which bloomed briefly for one season, as seen in the photo above, and Native Frangipanis (Hymenosporum flavum), but having already lost two specimens of each, I will wait and see whether I have any success with my third Wheel of Fire!!BlogOzNatives2017-01-17 14.49.47 The photo above shows the position of my second Native Frangipani in the corner of the Tea Garden, where it was growing so well until killed by frost last Winter. BlogOzNatives50%Image (12) - CopyIt bears beautiful golden scented blooms (photo above) and attractive seedpods (photo below) from our tree at Dorrigo, New South Wales. I have seen tall specimens down on the river at Geelong, Victoria, so am very tempted to try a mature specimen in the future!BlogOzNatives70%Image (11) - CopyNext week, it’s back to the fireside with the next three posts featuring some of my favourite knitting and crochet books!BlogOzNatives25%IMG_5652

Oldhouseintheshires

 

Feature Plant for April: Versatile Salvias

Flowering Salvias are my new passion and are my feature plant for April, even though May has just begun!!! While I have always known about the culinary herb sage, Salvia  officinalis, with its fragrant grey-green leaves and spikes of pretty mauve flowers (photo below), I knew very little about its flowering cousins. In fact, I don’t think that they were even on my radar until we lived down south.BlogSalvias2514-11-26 16.37.51 My first introduction to them was the Salvia Collection in the Geelong Botanic Gardens in 2012 (photo below), so when we were developing our new garden in Candelo, salvias were definitely on the list of desired plants!BlogSalvias50%IMG_1550 While I have bought the odd specimen, most of my salvias have been struck from cuttings from my sister’s gardens and while some of the seedlings from plants in her South East Queensland garden have since died, all the ones from her Tenterfield garden are flourishing, due to their ability to either withstand or recuperate from frost! The photo below shows my salvia collection in my Moon Bed.BlogSalvias3018-02-08 08.29.28Salvia is the largest genus in the mint family (Laminaceae)  and includes over 900 species from herbaceous shrubs to perennials, biennials and annuals, and there is a salvia for every climate, environment, season and gardening style! The photo below features salvias with their cousins Mint and Lavender.BlogSalvias2517-12-09 17.57.14Salvias come in a huge variety of form and flower colour, including blue, mauve, cerise, pink, red, white, yellow and orange. Most types bloom from Spring through Summer to Autumn, though there are some Winter-flowering salvias from the cool, mountainous areas of Central and South America.

The genus is distributed throughout Eurasia and the Americas with three distinct hot spots of diversity with 500 species in Central and South America; 250 species in Central Asia and the Mediterranean and 90 species in Eastern Asia. Many species and hybrids easily interbreed, so new cultivated varieties are constantly appearing, resulting in its huge diversity and climatic tolerance. Below is a photo of all the different types of salvias in our garden.BlogSalvias2518-01-31 12.01.00Types:

I have to admit I get very confused when it comes to identifying sages, but here are the names of some of the salvias we grow!

Salvia microphylla, Small-Leafed Sage or Baby Sage or Mountain Sage

One of my favourites for its generosity, being  constantly in bloom, their light airy flowers complementing the roses, both in the garden and in the vase! It has tiny dark green leaves, as indicated by its species name ‘microphylla’ meaning ‘small leaves’, which have a fresh fruity fragrance like those of black currants, giving it its final name, Black Currant Sage.BlogSalvias3018-02-08 08.30.27-2However, it is a very complex species which easily hybridizes, resulting in a huge number hybrids and cultivars, making it very difficult to identify accurately. It has a wide colour range from magentas to rose pink and reds.  Unfortunately, because all my forms were produced from cuttings from my sister’s garden,  I am a bit hazy about their names!

One variety I do know for sure is the unmistakeable bicolour red and white form called ‘Hot Lips’, though it will also throw pure white and pure red blooms.BlogSalvias2017-04-23 18.31.24 Apparently, its  flower colour varies with the weather and water and nutrient availability. Cooler weather and  more nutrients and water result in more red flowers, while heat and nutrient stress in warmer Summer weather results in the blooms turning white.BlogSalvias2518-01-31 12.00.18However, I have a major problem identifying my magenta and deeper red salvias and I’m not the only one! Apparently, Salvia microphylla is often confused with Autumn Sage, S. greggii, with which it frequently hybridizes. Maybe, one of my readers can help me? Here are some photos!

The magenta variety with small fragrant leaves and dark stems:BlogSalvias2016-01-01 00.00.00-140BlogSalvias2518-04-11 16.06.45The red variety with larger more deeply veined rounded leaves and dark stems:BlogSalvias4018-03-29 09.59.08The photo below shows the differences between both varieties: magenta on top, red on the bottom.BlogSalvias2518-01-31 11.59.58However, I do know my Pineapple Sage, S. elegans, especially because it was labelled when I bought it from a nursery!!! I love the pineapple scent of its long, light green pointed leaves and have planted one at the top of my new herb garden next to the path, so that every time the gas bottles are changed, there will be a whiff of its beautiful fragrance! It bears spires of bright red flowers which are highly attractive to birds and butterflies and which bloom for a long time! Growing to 1.5 to 1.8 metres high, it is frost tolerant, though it is more compact in colder climates.BlogSalvias2518-04-11 09.23.54I am a bit more definite about my blue salvias!

‘Indigo Spires’, another labelled nursery purchase, is a hybrid cross between S. longispicata and S. farinacea. It is a large shrub, at 1.5 metres tall and 1 metre wide, and has 30 to 38 cm (12 to 15 inches) long spikes of purple-blue velvety flowers, from early Summer through to late Autumn. While easy to grow, it is not frost tolerant, but it does regrow after frost.BlogSalvias2518-04-11 16.10.26BlogSalvias2016-01-01 00.00.00-129Salvia uliginosa, Bog Salvia, is another tall prolific flowerer, bearing clear sky blue flowers on long stalks all Summer and Autumn. It is one of the few salvias, which likes wet feet, though it will still grow in dry conditions, though probably not as tall and unruly!BlogSalvias3018-03-03 10.09.25-2BlogSalvias25%IMG_4994I think my third blue salvia is Salvia x chamelaeagnea “African Sky”, a cross between two South African species, Salvia scabra and Salvia chamelaeagnea. It has leathery sticky stems and leaves and beautiful soft azure blue flowers on long floppy spikes from late Spring to Autumn.BlogSalvias2518-04-11 16.08.53BlogSalvias2016-01-01 00.00.00-78BlogSalvias2518-04-11 16.09.22Three more blue salvia species I would love to grow and photographed below in order are:

Salvia nemorosa ssp tesquicola with spikes of rich violet flowers set in large lilac bracts from late Spring until Autumn; Gentian Sage, Salvia patens, with its royal blue flowers; and  the attractive Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’ with its lime green calyces and electric blue flowers and lime green calyces.BlogSalvias2514-11-26 16.27.12BlogSalvias20%IMG_0532BlogSalvias2014-04-06 12.28.16And then, there is the monstrous Rose Leaf Sage, Salvia involucrata Bethelii! This was one of the cuttings I took from my sister’s subtropical garden in South-East Queensland and because I lost its identifying tag, I mistakenly planted it in the Moon Bed, where it then proceeded to grow like Jack-and-the-Bean Stalk, engulfing my poor roses and totally dominating the garden bed! It would have been at least 2.5 metres tall, though they can grow up to 4 metres tall and 1 metre wide!BlogSalvias2017-04-28 11.58.13BlogSalvias2017-04-28 11.50.54It has heart-shaped, long-stalked leaves to 10cm in length and  5cm long, tubular, two-lipped, deep cerise pink flowers, with conspicuous rose-pink bracts, that give it its common name, Roseleaf Sage, and which fall off as the flowers grow bigger. BlogSalvias2017-05-15 15.43.17The Eastern Spinebills LOVED it! This salvia does get frosted, so we propagated some more cuttings last year and this time, we planted them against the fence behind the Moon Bed, where they were free to romp to their hearts’ delight!BlogSalvias2017-05-23 11.54.54BlogSalvias2017-05-23 11.56.26-1For anyone interested in knowing more about the different types of  salvias, it is well worth visiting the Nobelius Heritage Park in Emerald, Victoria, where the Salvia Study Group of Victoria has a wonderful display garden. See: http://salvias.org.au/about-us/. They have a wonderful website, with descriptions of all the different salvia varieties and their suitability for different climates (http://salvias.org.au/lists-of-salvias/) , as well as an excellent Links page (http://salvias.org.au/links/) with links to other sites like: http://www.robinssalvias.com/ (UK); and http://salvias.com.ar/ (Argentina). Another good website is: http://www.salviaspecialist.com/catalog/.

BlogSalvias20%DSCN0753Cultivation and Uses:

Most salvias love well-drained soil and full sun or semi-shade, with some tolerating cold temperatures and frost. Many are drought-tolerant. They are long-flowering, easy to propagate and easy to grow, providing copious nectar for bees and birds. In fact, the labiate design of the salvia flower includes a bottom lip which makes a perfect landing pad for bees. For more about their flower anatomy, see: http://www.worldofsalvias.com/flower1.htm.

BlogSalvias2518-03-29 10.08.10Our salvias are full of the constant buzz of bees from dawn to dusk every day! I particularly love watching the Blue-Banded Bees, Amegilla cingulata, which positively adore the Bog Salvia, though they will never sit still long enough for a decent photograph!BlogSalvias2518-04-05 10.17.44BlogSalvias2016-01-01 00.00.00-54 Butterflies and beetles also love the salvias!BlogSalvias2518-03-03 09.55.57-3BlogSalvias2518-03-31 16.17.24-2BlogSalvias2518-03-03 09.56.28-1BlogSalvias2017-02-09 10.13.43So, salvias are fabulous for encouraging pollinators in the garden! BlogSalvias2518-03-03 10.01.09I also love using them in floral arrangements as fillers and dots of delicate colour, though the flowers of the Bog Salvia often start falling the first day and the flowering stems of the Indigo Spires salvia wilt easily the minute they are cut from the plant! Nevertheless, both provide beautiful colour and contrast in both pastel and bright floral arrangements.BlogSalvias2518-04-14 15.52.44BlogSalvias2518-04-03 08.39.26Culinary Sage, Salvia officinalis, has a long history in the kitchen, being the main ingredient in stuffings for goose and pork dishes, as well as flavouring soups and pâtés.BlogSalvias20%2016-01-01 00.00.00-102.jpg The leaves can be made into a tea for colds and sore throats and gum disease. In fact, ancient herbalists used salvia to cure a multitude of ailments from snake bite to epilepsy, the genus name, ‘Salvia’  deriving from the Latin ‘salvare’, a reference to the plant’s ability to heal. It is also said to enhance memory and lift the mood. See: https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/sage-medicinal-salvia.php.

Clary Sage, Salvia sclarea, also has a strong tradition of medicinal use, the essential oil being used to treat menstrual pain and hormonal imbalances, depression, anxiety and  insomnia, stomach and digestive problems, and kidney complaints. See:  https://draxe.com/clary-sage.

Salvia chamelaeagnea is used to treat colds and coughs, colic and heartburn in the Cape region of South Africa, while the roots of Red Sage, Salvia miltiorrhiza, are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine to treat cardiovascular disease and chronic renal failure. In Mexico, Salvia microphylla is used as a medicinal and tea plant, while Diviner’s Sage, S. divinorum, is a psychedelic drug , which was used by Mazatec shamans to produce hallucinations and altered states of consciousness during spiritual healing sessions. White Sage, Salvia apiana, was also used in religious ceremonies and purification rituals by Native Americans tribes on the Pacific coast of the United States. The seed is the main ingredient in pinole, a staple food and was also ground into a sticky paste for removing foreign objects from the eye, much in the same way as the Europeans did with Clary Sage. Other medicinal uses include the treatment of colds and fevers, stomach upsets, heavy or painful menstruation and  to promote healing and strength after childbirth. See: http://www.herbcottage.com.au/white-sage.html.

All in all, Salvias are a very useful and beautiful addition to the garden! Next week, I will tell you a little more about our recent trip to Victoria, in which we explored a number of gardens, including the Salvia Display Gardens, mentioned previously in this post!

Oldhouseintheshires

 

The Festive Season 2017

It has been a wonderful festive season with the return of my daughter from Berlin for three weeks and long-awaited visits from old friends to relaxing lunches and beach trips on the warmer days, as well as plentiful rain, resulting in a blowsy overgrown garden, full of colour!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-15 17.43.06BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 08.39.13OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA While the roses are taking a break, except for the wonderfully generous Archiduc Joseph, the sunflower patch has been prolific and the honeysuckle has scaled the side fence.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 09.10.54OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe self-seeded pumpkin, tree dahlia and tree salvia are also heading to the heavens, the latter never missing a beat after its transplantation from the Moon Bed, and a remnant kiwi fruit vine hitching a ride on the tree dahlia!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-12 08.44.18BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.42.31Here is a sample of the plants in bloom this Summer:

Roses:

Left to Right and Top to Bottom:

Heritage, Archiduc Joseph (2 photos), Ice Girl, William Morris and The Children’s Rose:

White: Gardenias; Hydrangeas; and Madonna Lilies:

Purples and Pinks: Buddleias, Poppies, Hydrangeas, Geraniums, Bergamot and Dahlias;

Golds and Reds: Dahlias and Calendulas; Meadow Lea Dahlia and Gladioli; Ladybird Poppies and Alstroemeria; Red Dahlia and Pomegranate; and Sunflowers.

Hopefully, the flowers of the pomegranate will develop into fruit! We have had a wonderful fruit season with raspberries for breakfast every morning and now strawberries and plums.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.45.47BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.02.43BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-02 13.00.44BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-29 11.37.43We have also been harvesting the chamomile flowers daily to dry for a relaxing tea.BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-02 15.07.20BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.46.22 We only just caught the wild plums (photo above) in time after a mini-raid by a party of hungry Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos and are now watching the ripening of the purple plums with eagle eyes, in case they suffer the same fate!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-12 08.55.19 We are similarly vigilant with the apples (third photo), though the cockatoos have not yet discovered our Golden Hornet crab apples (first and second photos).BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-21 11.42.30BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-07 09.09.18OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Elder tree (Sambucus) is also growing fast and has blossomed for the first time. I look forward to using the flowers in future years to make elderflower cordial!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.44.36Here are some photos of the local inhabitants of the garden:

A blue-tongued lizard sunbaking; a butterfly resting and another butterfly feasting on a buddleia flower; and a happy snail exploring after rain :BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 09.42.27BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 08.53.00BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.42.58BlogFestiveSeason5017-12-02 13.02.37And the birds: Huge flocks of very noisy Little Corellas (photos 1 and 2), who wake us up every morning at 5 am (!); and a pair of Crimson Rosellas, grazing in the Soho Bed:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-23 18.04.09OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith all the wonderful colour in the garden, I have been spoilt for choice and have revelled in making beautiful bouquets for the house! Here is a bucket of freshly-cut blooms, ready for arranging!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 07.48.37From simple blue agapanthus to a single rose bloom (Lucetta):

Soft Pinks and Purples:BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-30 11.11.46BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 15.00.16BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-20 07.55.54And bright golds, oranges, reds and purples: BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-30 11.22.09BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 14.28.15BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-07 09.43.54BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-09 16.20.39-4BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 15.01.40To the vibrant colours of the Christmas table:BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 08.41.30BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 08.12.18Other creative pursuits included home-made Christmas gifts: a spectacle case for my Mum:BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.46.18 and a table runner for my friend Heather to compliment the set of Russian vintage wooden folk art spoons, which I found for her!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 17.35.51 We have also been loving the musical sessions with both my daughters, who are keen musicians and composers. Here is a photo of my youngest Caro playing at Bodalla Dairy.BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-10 14.31.30I will finish with a photo of our beautiful Christmas Tree!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your New Year!

The Spring Garden

Spring is such an exciting period with everything waking up after the long cold Winter! The garden is literally transformed from September to November, as can be seen in the photos below, one for each month:BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-10 18.57.32OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt just gets better and better as the days progress, especially with the recent life-giving rain!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA In fact, this seasonal post is probably the most challenging to write, as so much is now flowering that it demands complete ruthlessness when it comes to photo selection and I really don’t know that I am up to the task! Here are a few more general garden photos from mid-Spring:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-13 07.07.13BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-15 09.31.34and late Spring:

BlogSpringGardenReszd3017-11-26 11.16.50BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-26 11.17.49But back to the start of Spring and proceeding from the top down! First up, the trees…! It is just so lovely to have our tapestry of green back, especially on those sunny golden evenings when a thunderstorm is brewing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeptember was blossom-time, starting with the wild plums and crabapples: the Floribunda and Golden Hornet:

They were followed by the apples, quinces and pears, the maples (October) and finally, the dogwood (November).

By October, most of the trees were sporting their new foliage wardrobes and by November were in full fruit and seed production mode: plums, crabs and apples.

Next, the shrubs! September marked the end of camellia and japonica season;

and the return of old favourites like lilac and Michelia, White Caviar.

The bright sunny yellow of the broom and the Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) always gladdens my heart!

The May Bush (Spiraea), the Viburnum x burkwoodii Anne Russell and the Beauty Bush (Kolwitzia amabilis) were spectacular this September:

and continued on into October, to be joined by the white lilac, Mme Lemoine; the choisya (Choisya ternata), Viburnum plicatum Mariesii and the Snowball Tree (Viburnum opulus).

Further colour and scent was added by the woodbine on the fence;

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Woodbine (Lonicera periclymenum)

As well as the weigela, the Carolina allspice and the red azalea, which enjoyed its move to the rainforest section of the garden.BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-10-19 10.51.59BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0571BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0602By November, the yellow honeysuckle on the fence had joined its cousin and was heading for the skies, while the blooming of the snowball tree finished with a snowfall of petals.BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-15 09.26.55OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoth philadelphus were in full glorious bloom and scent, as was the Italian Lavender. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-13 06.58.18BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0618And the roses…! My beloved roses…! But first, the bulbs! The bulbs are always the first flowers of Spring! Lots of whites, golds and blues with the odd red and orange accent. My wild white bank of Actaea daffodils above the birdbath was a great success and we had a good show of the glamorous Acropolis daffodils at the entrance to the pergola below the Michelia.BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-20 09.46.45BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-14 14.34.15BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-14 13.47.18The bright yellow nodding heads of Winter’s miniature Tête à Tête daffodils (1st photo) were joined by these bright golden Golden Dawn tazettas (2nd photo).BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-03 11.04.32BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-14 18.37.24 The pink and blue bluebells under the crab apple and next to the mosaic birds provided a soft blue, while the masses of grape hyacinths and divinely-scented Delft Blue hyacinth turned the treasure bed into a sea of blue.BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-24 18.46.40BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-13 19.37.44BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-08 13.14.56  The tulips in the cutting garden also provided a wonderful show from the soft pale yellow and candy-pink-striped species tulips (Tulipa clusiana Cynthia): BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_1293BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-25 11.31.52BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-25 11.33.05to the Pink Monet and Gold Bokassa tulips;BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-28 11.51.23BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-24 18.18.27 and the brightly coloured Synaeda Orange Lily Tulips and Red Bokassa tulips, all children of the original bulbs planted in 2015.BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-28 11.51.59BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0071BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-21 10.41.28BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-26 11.59.53A snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) and Jacobean lilies (Sprekelia) arrived in October, but the iris quickly stole the show.BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0059OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I love the stunning bright colours of the Dutch Iris in the cutting garden,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-18 16.18.22BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-18 07.49.38 but I think my heart belongs to Bearded Iris, whose soft romantic colors and forms complement the November roses so well: gold in the Soho Bed and soft mauve in the Moon Bed.BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-10-23 08.06.15BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-17 16.11.58BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-16 09.07.14 A friend has just given me a large variety of differently-coloured Bearded Iris, which we have planted above the agapanthus bank.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-16 09.14.53After the bulbs, the Spring flowers started to take over. Because there are so many, I have organised them into colour palettes.

White: Acanthus mollis; Rock Orchid and Dianthus Coconut Sundae,

Dandelion seedheads; Feverfew and Nicotiana,

and a white Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea Mirabelle, though some of them were pink:

I love the white cornflower in amongst the white foxglove and feverfew in the shady end of the cutting garden.BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-26 09.35.19

Yellow: Nigella orientalis Transformer, English Primrose, Geum Lady Stratheden and Wild Strawberry;

Gold: A very special gift: an Intersectional Peony and my self-sown gigantic Russian Sunflowers;

and the stunning Meadow Lea dahlia;BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-27 10.42.22BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-26 09.34.45Red: Ladybird Poppies in the Cutting Garden and Dahlias, providing jewel-like colour on the skirt of the Albertine roses, as they finish their blooming season;

BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-25 09.16.09

Deep Red: The last of the Double Hellebores from Winter;

Pink: Rhodohypoxis baurii and Dianthus Valda Wyatt of the treasure garden and the last of the pink violets from under the camellia; deep pink divinely-scented sweet peas; a mutated Ladybird Poppy and glamorous self-sown Peony Poppies in the sunflower bed.

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Rhodohypoxis baurii in the centre of a sea of grape hyacinths
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Dianthus Valda Wyatt