Christmas 2018

A short post this time, looking back on the past year and forward to the future in 2019! We started the year camping on New Years Eve at Wyanbene Caves, Deua National Park, then sliding down the slippery-slide rocks at Tuross Falls, Wadbilliga National Park.BlogXmas2018post2517-12-31 16.50.54BlogXmas2018post2518-01-01 13.43.41 Summer is Agapanthus time and filled with the deafening noise of cicadas, so I loved this photo of the combination- pure Summer!BlogXmas2018post2518-01-02 08.52.34 We said a temporary goodbye to eldest daughter Jen, back to Berlin and the rugged German Winter,BlogXmas2018post3018-01-03 13.51.24 but welcomed Caroline’s husky puppy, Floki, into the family.BlogXmas20182018-01-21 18.41.36

The long hot days continued into February with swimming at Bithry Inlet,BlogXmas2018post2518-02-14 06.59.27 beautiful roses like William Morris,BlogXmas2018post3018-01-23 14.54.42 and harvest feasts for body and soul!BlogXmas2018post2518-01-31 18.21.06BlogXmas2018post2518-02-06 09.22.08BlogXmas2018post3018-02-10 09.49.15-1In March, we explored Brogo Dam by kayak.BlogXmas2018post4018-03-03 13.01.18-1 The floral extravaganzas continued…,BlogXmas2018post2518-04-03 08.39.26BlogXmas2018post2518-03-11 10.41.43-2 and we had a week’s holiday in Victoria, celebrating my friend’s birthday, viewing the Marimekko exhibition at Bendigo Art GalleryBlogXmas201820%DSCN0487 and visiting many beautiful gardens like The Witches’ Garden and Frogmore Gardens.BlogXmas2018post3018-03-17 17.02.18BlogXmas201820%DSCN0530 April saw the arrival of materials to finally start lining the ceiling of our old shed and evict the possum squatter forever (though he has pushed his way through the gutter wire to squeeze into the cavity between the roof and the new ceiling- all very cosy with the insulation as well!);BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-24BlogXmas2018post5018-04-26 08.24.59 the installation of solar panels on the roof, another longheld desire;BlogXmas2018post2518-04-05 15.13.55 a holiday origami workshop with Zoe;BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-18 (2) and the creation of a beautiful felt cushion and card for my Mum’s birthday and based on my favourite Pinks, which were just starting to come into flower.BlogXmas2018post3018-04-25 12.10.06 By May, we were well and truly into Autumn and the changing of the guard in the foliage of our borrowed landscape and backdrop to our garden.BlogXmas2018post3018-05-12 10.50.48-1 The Little Corellas briefly returned, as well as huge flocks of very hungry King Parrots grazing on the lawn and feasting on tomatoes, cumquats and anything else they could find!BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-48 We visited Picnic Point and Wapengo Lake…BlogXmas2018post2518-05-24 10.02.44BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-168 and explored the top end of Brogo Dam.BlogXmas2018post30%Ross mob ph 024BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-105We did the big trip north with daughter Caroline to visit my Mum in Brisbane in June, a welcome break from the Winter cold and a wonderful opportunity to view the Winter flowers of Mt Annan (Australian natives) and Mt Tomah (South African and Australian Proteacaea family) Botanical Gardens…

BlogXmas2018post2518-06-09 10.09.53 and the camellias of the EG Waterhouse Gardens and Eryldene, the camellia mecca and home of the great man himself.BlogXmas2018post2518-06-11 11.36.55BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-134 In the Blue Mountains, we heard the wonderfully haunting strains of a didgeridoo echoing across the valley from Pulpit Rock on our bushwalk in Blackheath.BlogXmas201820%DSCN2422 On our arrival home, Ross started lining the shed ceiling with builder Tony.BlogXmas201820%DSCN1952 July saw lots of activity in the sewing room, making embroidery and crochet rolls, toy mice and rabbits, lady beetle purses and a Mama chook, Henny Penny, with her brood of juggling chickens.BlogXmas2018post2518-07-29 20.51.00BlogXmas2018post2518-07-21 16.41.22BlogXmas2018post2518-08-04 19.00.52 The Winter was bracingly cold, the icy skies filled with snow-laden clouds,BlogXmas2018post2518-07-23 16.53.36 but it didn’t stop Caroline performing at Bodalla Dairy with her biggest fan!2018-07-09 00.30.37 August is hellebore time and the start of the Spring bulbs like these Tête à Tête daffodils.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5345BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_5311 A major fire started to the north-east of Bega, its smoke billowing for months with burning back work. BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_5146It was also the month of the eclipse and a blood-red moon.BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_5301 Floki turned into a beautiful hound, who is not afraid to take the odd liberty, but with such a complimentary colour scheme, how could I scold him! He also started Caro off on her career as an animal portraitist. It still blows me away that she used pencils!BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_6046BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5317 And our Jen returned from Germany to live back in Australia permanently- at least, we hope so! It is so wonderful having her back!

The garden started to wake up in September with hyacinths, grape hyacinths, daffodils, English primroses and Dutch crocus.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5645BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5819BlogXmas201820%DSCN3473 All blooms were later than usual, because of the prolonged drought, and we found this phenomenon replicated in the natural environment, when we introduced Jen to one of our favourite walks from Bittangabee Bay to Hegarty’s Bay, expecting to admire the annual Spring wildflower display, which was non-existent!BlogXmas201820%DSCN3667 It is so lovely to finally have some blooms for flower arranging and decorating Caro’s birthday cake.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_5685 By October, Spring had well and truly sprung, starting with the Bearded and Dutch Iris, the former flowering for the first time.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7818BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7772 The intersectional and tree peony blooms were also firsts,BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7797BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_7115 then it was the start of the rose season with Souvenir de la Malmaison in full perfect bloom! How I love this rose, especially when she is behaving!BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7633 We had a quick trip to Sydney in early October to diagnose Ross’s eye problem- the sight in his left eye had dramatically reduced to 5/30, so we called into Canberra en route to view the Cook and The Pacific exhibition at the National Library and the 60 000 wonderful crocheted and knitted poppies in the lawns of the Australian War Memorial (Honour Their Spirit).IMG_6933 The weather started to warm up in November with a trip to Wonboyn with a visiting friend;BlogXmas201820%DSCN4344 the first blooming of our Shady Lady Waratah;BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_8325 a glut of strawberries;BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_7931 and an explosion of colour in the garden with lavenders, roses and poppies of every description!BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_8508BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_8505BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_8974 I was spoilt for choice with flower arranging!BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_9553BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_8729 In preparation for the shed opening in December, there was a final burst of creative activity with my felt cushions,BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9747BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_9772 as well as sign writing (Jenny) and publicity for the opening day, which included an open garden tour with Ross and music provided by my two gorgeous girls.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9417BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9441BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_9773IMG_9832 Even the shed roses came to the party: Fritz Nobis on the front beside the side doorBlogXmas2018post40%IMG_9447 and Albertine on the frame on the back wall of the shed.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9538BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_9488 And finally, December with the big shed opening on the Candelo Market Sunday, the 2nd December, a wonderful occasion with lots of positive feedback and good will from over 100 visitors.GTOD9695BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0118BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0091BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_9988 The shed looked beautiful with lots of wonderful handmade goodies, flowers, Caroline’s cards and Kirsten’s handmade ceramics and calendula soap balls for sale.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_9983BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0169BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9903 - CopyBlogXmas201820%DSCN4568BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9984 - CopyBlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0184 A tawny frogmouth mum and baby visited the garden for the occasion, while Oliver is a regular fixture.BlogXmas201820%DSCN4580BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0178 The Little Corellas are also back with their huge raucous flyovers waking us up at 5am each morning.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_0468IMG_0189 It has been super-busy ever since with a whirlwind visit to the Sydney Eye Hospital for microsurgery to remove numerous eye cancers in his left eye- a legacy of farming days and a salient reminder to all of us to wear sunglasses!

We made the most of the unexpectedly free morning before the operation to visit Nutcote, the beautiful old home of May Gibbs of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie fame, featured recently in the film, Ladies in Black, set in 1959 Sydney.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_0449 We are now preparing for Christmas, as well as continuing to open the shed on Sundays. It is such a fun time of year and the blooms reflect it!BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9876BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9857 We are also loving the dogwood, dahlias, lilies and alstroemeria at the moment.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0054BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0053BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0398BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0396So, plans for the future?!! Having thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, we will continue to open the shed on Sundays, replenishing handmade items as they are sold, as well as fulfilling a few commissions.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_0448 I will also be holding hand sewing workshops for children every month. Jen painted the sign and flyers for my workshop too.BlogXmas201820%DSCN4562 Ross will be busy in the garden, building a garden shed and a chook house, as well as re-terracing the future lavender bank and…BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0034maintaining the garden for general enjoyment, garden visitors and my floristry!BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_6641 This increased workload will however necessitate restructuring my time next year and alas, I am sorry to say that I will only be posting once a month, if that, in order to be able to fulfill my work obligations. Time is so precious!BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_7286 I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the blog over the past three years, so the journey is not over- more a temporary respite! I loved this quote from Goethe on a sign on the steep staircase leading up to Nutcote from Kurraba Point in Neutral Bay, Sydney.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0445Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and safe Christmas and 2019.

All our Love and Best Wishes, Jane and Ross xxxBlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0519BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0562

Feature Plant for December: Zinnias With Zing!

I just LOVE Zinnias! They are so bright, happy and colourful and always brighten up the day. I do not know of any flower with more zing than a zinnia!!!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0337 They are such easy plants to cultivate, growing quickly and blooming heavily and providing long-lasting colour in the Summer flower bed, as well as attracting bees, birds and butterflies.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0294 The Zinnia genus (Photo 1 below) belong to the sunflower tribe (Heliantheae) (Photo 2 below) and the daisy family (Asteraceae) (photo 3 below) and  and comprises of 22 species of annuals, perennials and small shrubs, though the species, with which we are most familiar, Zinnia elegans, is an annual. BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 13.30.41BlogZinnia3018-01-11 10.38.09 BlogZinnia3018-02-24 09.55.00-2Since selective breeding began in the 19th century, there are now over 100 cultivars and an increasing number of interspecific hybrids. BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0684They were named after the German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727 – 1759).blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0361

Distribution and Habitat:

Zinnias are native prairie plants, which grow in the scrub and dry grasslands from the South-West United States (the majority of species) to Argentina, South America ( a few species), with the centre of diversity being Mexico, so they love hot temperatures, full sun and long hot Summers and are very drought-tolerant.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0260Description:

Zinnias come in a huge range of shapes, sizes and colours, so there is a zinnia to suit every situation! Even within the one plant, the shape of its blooms vary widely.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-23-29 The classic zinnia has a long sturdy single erect stem, 10 t0 100 cm tall, with soft downy opposite stalkless linear to ovate pale to mid green leavesBlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_7014 and topped by a single flower.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0187 Zinnia elegans has tall forms and dwarf varieties like the knee-high Magellan series (35 cm or 14 inches tall) and the tiny Thumbelina series (15-20 cm or 6 to 8 inches), while Zinnia angustifolia, especially the Crystal series is a creeping ground cover and is extremely drought-tolerant.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0337 The Profusion series is a cross between Z. elegans and Z. angustifolia and has good disease-resistance.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.36.07Flowers range from the simple single daisy-like form with an open centre and conspicuous disc and ray florets to semi-double and double forms (most modern varieties), the disc florets of the latter being much less obvious or absent. BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0673The ‘true’ flowers, which produce the nectar are the tiny yellow florets.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-15-30-41 They have many different forms, described as : Cactus/ quill-like (long narrow petals); dahlia type; pompom spheres or buttons and domes; stars; and spiders. I love the form of the buds and the emerging quills!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6974BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6976BlogZinnia5018-04-10 08.55.29 (3)blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-34-12BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0059They come in every colour, except for blue, and I have even seen two different coloured flowers on the one plant. As they age, the colours change and deepen.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0972Here in Australia, they bloom for a long time from Summer (end of January) through to Autumn (April/May).blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0335

Cultivation and propagation:

Zinnias are such easy tough plants to grow! I sowed the seed of Lambley’s Dahlia Flowered Mix in late 2015, the first year of my cutting garden, resulting in masses of flowers! BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0258They self-seeded with plants coming up in the nearby flower and vegetable beds in the Summer of 2016-2017 and I even had a few last season, though I think it is now time to sow fresh seed!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-01-21-06-19 Lambleys have a number of different hybrids. See: https://lambley.com.au/flower-seed-catalogue/z?items_per_page=25.

Zinnias are propagated from seed and should be sown directly into the garden, as their developing roots do not like disturbance, though having said that, I have transplanted zinnias once they have grown into sturdy young plants. They should be sown after the last frost and when the soil is warm. David Lambley often sows his seed in late November, early December, so I still have time to get some new seed sown!BlogZinnia25%IMG_4990 Sow seeds 1 cm deep and 8 cm apart, thinning to 30 cm apart when the first true leaves have formed, so there is plenty of air flow and powdery mildew doesn’t develop. A 60 cm tall plant will need a space of 45 cm between plants.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0998They can also be started indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost and sown in peat pots, which can be planted straight into the garden.BlogZinnia5018-04-05 10.16.05-2Sow in fertile humus-rich well-drained soil in full sun and keep the soil moist, but not soggy, for young plants. Once they are established, only water as required (once a week if that!) and always water the base of the plant (never overhead) in the early morning, so the foliage and flowers have time to dry off before the evening.

Avoid cold draughts and wind, especially for the taller varieties. Otherwise, being prairie plants, they are tough, withstanding drought and tolerant of poor soils, including hard clay. They will shade out the weeds and do not require mulch.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.30.54Seed usually germinates in 7 to 10 days and it takes 60 to 70 days (seed to flower) for the plants to bloom. Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering season. Pinching back the plants will result in a bushier plant and constant trimming encourages further blooms.BlogAprilGarden20%ReszdIMG_0191 (2)

Diseases include:

Powdery mildew: Plant disease-resistant varieties like Zahara zinnias or the Profusion series; never water overhead; ensure plenty of air circulation and avoid overcrowding; camouflage tall, disease-affected stems with a foreground of other plants; and finally, live with it! It only affects the leaves and stems, not the wonderful flowers, though of course, disease-affected plants can be removed if too unsightly!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-23-22Leaf spot and leaf blight: also caused by fungi. To prevent, remove the debris from the base of the plant and keep the stems clean. Long wet Summers can be a problem!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0056Save the seed by removing the old dried spent blooms and harvesting the small arrow-head shaped seeds. Store seed in a cool dark dry place, then sow directly in the following late Spring.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 14.14.09Uses:

Garden Plant

Because of their huge variety in shape, colour and size; their fast propagation, ease of growth and low maintenance; their drought-tolerance and toughness; and their long-lasting colourful displays all Summer, zinnias are a very popular garden flower, especially in cottage gardens and cutting gardens.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1019There is a zinnia for every situation. The tall forms of Z. elegans look great at the back of the border, while the dwarf forms look wonderful along paths. Z. angustifolia, especially the Crystal series, is often grown at the front of borders, in raised beds or containers and as a ground cover. They can even grow in weightless environments like the International Space Station!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0332They also make excellent companion plants for tomatoes, capsicums and beans- they self-seeded to the tomato patch and next to the beans last year!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0794blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1046 BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 13.07.27BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0655They attract bees for pollination and birds, especially hummingbirds, which eliminate white fly, and are a butterfly magnet par excellence!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0028BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 13.48.38 The latter prefer the flat single varieties rather than the double forms.BlogZinnia3018-04-05 16.26.06-1Floristry

With their long vase life (5 to 7 days), huge range in colour and form and sturdy tall stems, zinnias are also popular in the cut flower trade.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-11-23-45BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-15 12.05.08 Their stems should be harvested at an angle above the bud joint, the bottom 2 cm recut on a sharp angle and the leaves stripped off most of the stem.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 10.49.40 Use preservative in the vase and replenish the water daily.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0356 They are not ethylene sensitive.BlogZinnia2016-01-01 01.00.00-11 In the Language of Flowers, a bouquet of mixed zinnias mean ‘Thinking of absent friends’,BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-05-06 11.16.50

while yellow zinnias denote ‘daily remembrance’;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-16-13-36-39BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0660 white zinnias ‘pure goodness’; blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0462magenta zinnias ‘lasting affection’;BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_6949 and red zinnias ‘steadfastness and familial ties’.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-29 20.26.32 BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.12.28Obviously, I was thinking about absent friends in April when making my colourful zinnia cushion!

BlogFeltBooks2016-04-14 14.02.47BlogZinnia2016-04-10 18.10.32BlogZinnia2016-04-14 14.01.48BlogZinnia2016-04-14 14.02.11

 

 

Lovely Lilies: Feature Plant For November

I love lilies! They have such beautiful flowers and really come into their own in late November, hence I have chosen them for this month’s feature post. While there are many flowers, which contain the word ‘lily’ as part of their common name like Day Lilies Hemerocallis (first photo below) and Jacobean Lilies Sprekelia (second photo below), true lilies belong to the Liliaceae family and Lilium genus, which contains 80 to 100 species, all native to the temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. The only true lily we grow in our garden is the November or Christmas Lily, L. longiflorum, so I was keen to know more about the other varieties!BlogLovelyLilies25%IMG_7449Lilies come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours and have been extensively hybridized over 4000 years, being one of our oldest cultivated plants and having thousands of cultivars. It is little wonder that it is so easy to get a bit confused and overwhelmed by the variety! Here is a brief rundown of their description; categorisation (species and hybrids); propagation and cultivation; history and mythology; and uses.BlogLovelyLilies3018-02-03 11.54.51 (2)Description:

Herbaceous perennial plants, their erect stems 2 to 6 feet (60cm to 1.8 metres) tall with narrow lance-shaped leaves, though some species are only 30 cm tall, while other exceed 2.5 metres.

Most of the cool temperate species are deciduous and dormant in Winter, but those species from climates with hot Summers and milder Winters, often lose their leaves for a short dormant period from late Summer to Autumn, resprouting a dwarf stem with a basal rosette of leaves from Autumn to Winter, which elongates as the weather warms up eg L. candidum and L. longiflorum. The stems of the latter are on the move with the warmer weather and longer day length in the photo below.BlogLovelyLilies2015-11-10 15.40.11Flowers are solitary or borne in racemes or umbels at the tip of the stem from late Spring through to late Autumn, their blooming times dependent on the variety, but most blooming from mid to late Summer (July and August in Europe).BlogLovelyLilies2015-11-25 18.58.53Each flower has 6 petal-like segments or tepals in a variety of shapes:

Trumpet or elongated tube (eg L. candidum; and L. longiflorum-see photo below);

Bowl (eg L. auratum);

Flat open cup, with or without recurved tepal tips; and

Tepals strongly recurved (eg. L. martagon).BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-02 08.45.33They face upwards, outwards or downwards (pendant) and have a huge colour range.

The seeds ripen in late Summer.

Lilies grow from underground naked scaly bulbs. Some North American species develop rhizomes with small bulblets at the base of the bulb and other species develop stolons.BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-02 19.19.25Categorisation

Lilies are divided into nine divisions, their photographs displayed on the following sites:

https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/types-of-lilies ;
and   http://www.lilies.org/culture/types-of-lilies/.

Another excellent link for hybrid lilies is: https://lilyflowerstore.com/fun-facts/about-hybrid-lilies/.

Division 1: Asiatic Hybrids

eg Tango; Forever Susan; Lollipop

Hybrids are derived from Asian species: L. tigrinum, L. cernuum, L. davidii, L. maximowiczii, L.x macultum, L. x hollandicum, L. amabile, L. pumilum, L. concolor, L. callosum, L. dauricum, L. lankongense, L. leichtlinii, L. pumilum, L. lancifolium, L. wilsonii and L. bulbiferum.

Straight stems 3 to 4 feet tall with a high bud count.

Blooms face up, out or down, depending on the parent species, and most are unscented.

Broadest colour range of all lilies: White, pink, plum, yellow, orange and red.

One of the earliest lilies to bloom from early to mid Summer with a long flowering period (up to one month).

Cold hardy. Grow in full sun to part shade. One of the easiest lilies to grow.

Very popular as a cut flower and potted plant.

Division 2: Martagon Hybrids

eg Turk’s Cap

Hybrids are derived from such species as L. martagon, L. hansonii, L. medeoloides, and L. tsingtauense.

They were first cultivated in The Netherlands in 1891, the first variety called ‘Marhan’ (L. x dalhansonii), resulting from a cross between pollen parent L. hansonii and L. martagon var. dalmaticum. They include the Backhouse hybrids (L. martagon x L. hansonii) from the late 20th century and the rare heritage Paisley hybrids (L. martagon var album x L. hansonii).

Tall slender stems (90 cm to 1.8 metres or 3 to 6 feet tall) with whorled broad leaves and many small (5 to 10 cm wide), dainty, nodding flowers (usually 12-24 flowers per stem, but can bear up to 50 flowers on a single stem from a single bulb), with strongly recurved thickish tepals, resembling a Turk’s Cap, from early to mid-Summer.

Their colours range from white and yellow to pink, lavender, light orange, deep dark red, spattered with freckles and spots, and the scent is only very slight or unpleasant, so it is not one for the house! Despite this fact, I would love to grow them in the garden!

Martagons do not typically grow well in hot, humid climates and much prefer cool weather and shade, so are excellent for the woodland garden. They are also excellent border plants. Highly disease-resistant, they like slightly alkaline, well-drained soil and good moisture. They can take a year to establish in a new garden. If you want to know more about growing Martagon lilies, read: http://www.da.lilies.org/articles/martagonlilies.pdf.

Division 3: Candidum Hybrids/ Euro-Caucasian

eg Madonna Lily, June Fragrance (L. candidum salonikae x L. monadelphum 1971)

Hybrids are derived from L. candidum, L. chalcedonicum, L. monadelphum, L. cernum, L. longiflorum and  L. henryi.

This division includes very few entries, and they are not easily found in commerce. It includes one of the oldest known hybrids: L. testaceum (Nankeen Lily), a cross in the early 19th century between L. candidum and L. chalcedonicum.

Fragrant large white funnel-shaped blooms with a yellow base on 4 foot tall (1.2 metres) stems from late Spring to early Summer.

Division 4: American Hybrids

eg Tiger Lily

Hybrids are derived from L. columbianum and L. pardalinum (West coast); L. canadense, L. superbum and L.philadelphicum (East coast); L. michiganense (middle states) and L. grayi, L. michauxii, L. catesbaei and L. iridollae (south). Other North American species include: L. humboldtii, L kelloggii, and L. parryii.

Tall stately plants with flowers with reflexed tepals on curved pedicels, which bloom about the end of June and early July (mid Summer), although if they are planted south of Philadelphia, where the climate is warmer, they will bloom in late May to mid-June (late Spring).

They enjoy light dappled shade and can develop huge clumps in woodlands if left undisturbed.

The best known are the Bellingham hybrids, developed from a cross between Lilium humboldtii var. ocellatum, L. pardalinum and L. parryi.

Division 5: Longiflorum Hybrids

eg Easter Lily, November Lily or Christmas Lily

Hybrids are derived from L. longiflorum and L. formosanum, both native to Japan and Taiwan.

These hybrids bear elegant large pure white trumpet-shaped flowers.

They are easily raised from seed, but not particularly hardy in the garden and need a protected position.BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-02 08.43.39Division 6: Trumpet or Aurelian Hybrids

eg Henry’s Lily; Regal Lily; African Queen

Hybrids are derived from L. leucanthum, L. regale, L. sargentiae, L. sulphureum, and L. henryi.

There are two types:

Trumpets: tall stately plants bearing huge waxy trumpets with a heavy sweet fragrance and a colour range from white, gold and yellow to pink, plum and apricot with maroon on the outside of the trumpet in mid-Summer. They can be upward-facing, outward facing or downward facing. eg Regal Lily…and the

Aurelians, resulting from the introduction of the hardy L. henryi to the mix and producing a plant with 5 foot tall willowy stems bearing secondary and tertiary buds over a long season from mid to late Summer. The buds open to wide bowls with flared petals, sunbursts, stars and flares.

Trumpets and Aurelians may need staking to prevent the heavy flower heads breaking in the wind and mulching in colder climates, as they are not frost tolerant.

Division 7: Oriental Hybrids

eg Stargazer, Casablanca

Hybrids are derived from L. auratum, L. speciosum, L. nobilissimum, L. rubellum, L. alexandrae, and L. japonicum.

They are stronger, more resistant and often more spectacular than their species parents. The plants are 5 foot high and bloom from late Summer to Autumn with huge (6-8 inch) bowl-shaped, flat or reflexed flowers, which face upward, outward or downward and have rich colours (white, pink,and red with yellow banded petals and striking spots) and strong fragrance, making them very popular as cut flowers.

They are not as east to grow as the Trumpets and Aureliums, but like plenty of water, an acidic humus rich soil and mulch for a cool root run.

Division 8: Interdivisional Hybrids

eg LA Hybrids; Orienpets; OA Hybrids; LO Hybrids . See: http://www.bdlilies.com/long.html and http://www.lilynook.mb.ca/Division8.html.

LA hybrids are the result of crossing L. longiflorum (the Easter lily) with Asiatic varieties. Most of such crosses on the market have larger flowers (4 to 7 inches across), a very slight fragrance and hardiness. Eg Brindisi. See: http://www.lilynook.mb.ca/LA_Hybrids.html and http://www.bdlilies.com/long.html.

OT hybrids or Orienpets involve crossing Oriental lilies (beauty and fragrance) with Trumpet/Aurelian lilies (robustness and adaptability; heat tolerance; and range of colours). They can be incredibly beautiful, robust and durable plants, 6.5 to 8 feet tall with many large heavily scented flowers (6 to 10 inches), which face upwards and outwards eg ‘Black Beauty’ ; ‘Leslie Woodriff’; ‘Scheherazade’; and ‘Starburst Sensation.’

OA hybrids are derived from crossing Orientals with Asiatics. Eg Kaveri. See: https://blog.longfield-gardens.com/new-for-2015-the-first-oriental-asiatic-lily-hybrid/.

LO hybrids are produced from a cross between L. longiflorum and one or more Oriental Hybrids. They have large (6 to 10 inch) fragrant outward facing trumpets with curved tepals. Eg Pink Heaven. See: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=271494&isprofile=0&.

Division 9: Species Liliums

Species lilies are wild lilies, the parents of all the lily hybrids in our gardens and hailing from temperate areas in North America, Europe, and especially Asia (Japan, China, Burma, and India). They propagate from seed, but are often harder to grow in the garden than the hybrids.

To learn more about some of these species lilies, see:

https://www.gardenia.net/guide/Species-and-Wild-Lilies and https://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Lilium.

Other excellent sites for information on Liliums in general include:

The North American Lily Society http://www.lilies.org/culture/types-of-lilies/;

The RHS Lily Group http://www.rhslilygroup.org/;

and the Europaische Liliengesellschaft (European Lily Society), written in German, though their links page http://www.liliengesellschaft.org/links/ is particularly useful, listing a large number of other lily societies worldwide.

Here in Australia, some good sources for Lilium bulbs include:

Tesselaars https://www.tesselaar.net.au/liliums;

Club Creek Bulb Farm http://clubcreekbulbfarm.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/cat-2018-lilium-email-version.pdf   in Victoria and

Van Diemen Quality Bulbs https://www.vdqbulbs.com.au  in Tasmania.BlogLovelyLilies2016-12-05 18.04.40Propagation and Cultivation

Lilies can be planted in beds and herbaceous borders (photo above); shrub borders; woodland plantings; formalised or natural pool plantings and alpine rock gardens and make excellent accent plants and patio plants.

They love cool climates, but the amount of sun or shade is dependent on the variety. The general advice concerning lily position is: ‘Heads in the sun; Feet in the shade’. Ideally, they should get direct sun all morning with partial shade on hot Summer afternoons. They love a north-facing aspect in the Southern Hemisphere. Blooms with pastel shades do better in partial shade, so they don’t bleach or fade with the sun.

Lilies like a porous loamy lime-free or moderately acidic soil (pH 6.5), but clay or sandy soils can be improved with large amounts of organic matter. Good drainage is ESSENTIAL.

They can be grown from seed eg Longiflorum hybrids, but take up to 4 years to bloom, so they are more often planted as bulbs in Spring or Autumn. Do not plant dry or shrivelled bulbs and on their arrival, plant immediately 12 to 18 inches apart at a depth of twice the height of the bulb, except for L. candidum, which is best planted in late Summer and should barely be covered with soil.

Water deeply and apply a 3 inch layer of organic mulch around the plants to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool. This mulch layer can be removed in Autumn.

A balanced fertiliser (low in nitrogen) can be applied every few weeks during the growing season.

Stake long stems with heavy flowerheads or grow them amongst shorter flowers for support. Remove seedpods as they appear and yellowing stems and foliage.

Really lilies are very easy to grow, except for species lilies and some of the American hybrids. My L.longiflorum plants receive minimal care and bounce back every season!BlogLovelyLilies2016-12-12 16.53.33

History and Mythology

Lilies have been cultivated for over 4000 years and have an extensive history and mythology. The Madonna Lily L. candidum was used in Asia Minor as a medicinal ointment and food in 2000 BC and artefacts depicting it have been found in ancient ruins in Mesopotamia, as well as Knossos, Crete and mainland Greece.  In Greek mythology, the lily was the symbol of the goddess Hera and represented purity, innocence and refined beauty and was used for ornamental and medicinal uses, a practice continued by the Ancient Romans.

During the Middle Ages, it was also a symbol of purity and often depicted with the Virgin Mary in artworks. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, lilies represented love, ardour and affection. The Easter Lily L.longiflorum is a symbol of the resurrection of Christ, while the Orange Lily, L. bulbiferum is, not unsurprisingly, a symbol of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland.

Colour also dictates lily symbolism. While white lilies are a symbol of modesty and virginity, yellow lilies represent gaiety and orange lilies passion, happiness, warmth and love.BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-07 09.43.15Uses

Floristry

Lilies are supposedly the fourth most popular flower in the world and are used extensively for funerals, representing the restoration of the soul of the deceased to a state of innocence, while the Easter Lily L. longiflorum dominates the Easter trade. Other popular lilies for floristry include: L. auratum; L. canadense; L. speciosum; and Oriental hybrids, Stargazer and Casablanca.

Be aware that some lily fragrances are so strong that they are best avoided in closed hospital rooms; some lilium species like L. longiflorum are toxic to cats, causing acute renal failure; and dropped pollen can cause gold stains on white clothing.

Lilies should be harvested when the lower bulbs are showing colour, but are not yet open. Stems should have plenty of buds. Remove the bottom leaves and cut the bottom of the stem at a 45 degree angle, adding floral preservative to the water. Change the water every few days.

Lily plants also make attractive gift pots.BlogLovelyLilies2016-12-05 12.14.11Food

While lilies are the food plant for some Lepidoptera larvae, including the Dun-bar, humans have also been consuming their starchy roots for years, especially in China, Japan and North America. Edible species include: L. bulbiferum; L. lancifolium; L. auratum; L. leichtinii; L. pardalinum; L. pumilum; L. davidii; L. brownii; L. canadense and L. columbianum.BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-07 09.42.44Medicine

Lilies have also been used for their medicinal properties, including:

Madonna Lily L. candidum: Astringent and demulcent;

Turks Cap L. martagon: Diuretic; emollient; emmenagogue; and expectorant properties and for heart disease and cardiac pain;

L. japonicum: for respiratory conditions; and

L. henryii, which relieves congestion and was used to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Lily oil has healing and softening effects, can be used for massage, as a hot oil treatment or in or after a bath, and is particularly good for sensitive or baby skin; dry cuticles and elbows and as a facial moisturizer and under-eye oil.BlogLovelyLilies25%IMG_1774I learnt so much about lilies through my research for this post and am now keen to trying growing some of the species lilies, including the Turk’s Cap lilies. Our lilies have been a little later this year, their buds not yet open. Maybe, they will be in another week, when I am posting an update on our late Spring Garden. What a visual and olfactory treat it has been! And there is a surprise in store…the next phase of our Candelo Blooms adventure! See you then!

 

 

Spring 2018 : The Garden Awakens

I have not featured our own garden for quite a while. In fact, I think my last reference to it was Spring last year, so I though an update was long overdue! It has been a very long cold Winter again with heavy frosts and very little rain, so all the flowering times have been delayed, both in the garden and in the native flora.BlogSpring25%IMG_4930BlogSpring40%IMG_5057Our recent walk to Hegarty’s Bay was marred by the dearth of the highly anticipated Spring wildflowers. This month has also been quite cold. So we are only now just starting to experience early Spring.BlogSpring25%IMG_6050 The early jonquils (Erlicheers, Ziva Paperwhites and white jonquils) and camellias are now over,

but other narcissi (including the double Winter Sun in the first photo, and in the second photo in order:  Pheasants Eye (top two photos), Golden Dawn and scented white Geranium,  Ptolemy and King Alfred) are persisting…,BlogSpring25%IMG_5395

along with violets…,

japonicas (Chaenomeles)…,

and hellebores.

However, it is the advent of the Spring blossoms, which really spells Spring for me: the plums and crab apples, BlogSpring30%IMG_6085BlogSpring30%IMG_5844BlogSpring30%IMG_5732and flowering shrubs: Exochorda macrantha ‘The Bride’  and superbly scented Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’.BlogSpring25%IMG_6054BlogSpring25%IMG_6069BlogSpring50%IMG_5912We had a wonderful display of our new Dutch Crocus (white Jeanne d’Arc, striped Pickwick and mauve Grand Maître) in the cutting garden,BlogCrocus20%DSCN3483BlogSpring30%IMG_5664BlogCrocus25%IMG_5605 which has had a makeover in its arrangement with the paths now dividing it into four large squares rather than the original four skinny strips, allowing much more room for the plants to grow and multiply.BlogSpring30%IMG_6150BlogSpring30%IMG_6149We have two shady beds nearest the boundary trees (left side of photo above) and two flower beds in full sun (right side of photo above). The back shady bed is full of feverfew and blue Love-In-The-Mist, Nigella hispanica, both wonderful fillers for bouquets, while the front shady bed contains foxgloves, Nigella orientalis ‘Transformer’, Aquilegia, Dutch Crocus, Hacquetia epipactis, Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis), pansies and heartease, the latter two sustaining us through the Winter with their wonderful colour!BlogSpring25%IMG_6221BlogSpring25%IMG_6220BlogSpring2518-05-20 11.58.11BlogSpring20%DSCN3493BlogSpring20%DSCN3486BlogSpring30%IMG_5663The back sunny bed is chock-a-block with Dutch Iris and poppies, edged with ranunculas,BlogSpring25%IMG_5656 BlogSpring25%IMG_6387.jpgand the front sunny bed is now coming into its own with the steadfast purple Hoary Stock, Matthiola incana, which provided much needed colour over the Winter, as seen in this vase with Winter Jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum;BlogSpring25%IMG_5241 anemones, Anemone de Caen….;

and now, Lily Tulips (Synaeda Orange) and Parrot Tulips…BlogSpring30%IMG_5909BlogSpring25%IMG_5908 BlogSpring25%IMG_6282and species tulips: Lady Tulips, Tulipa clusiana: the red and white Lady Jane, and yellow chrysantha and ‘Cynthia’ varieties,BlogSpring30%IMG_6074BlogSpring25%IMG_6057BlogSpring40%IMG_6099 as well as the stunning Bokhara Tulip, T. linifolia.BlogSpring25%IMG_6060BlogSpring25%IMG_6007The cutting garden certainly is a mass of colour at the moment and I find it very hard to pick anything!!!!BlogSpring25%IMG_6252BlogSpring25%IMG_6049BlogSpring25%IMG_6385The Soho and Moon Beds have been weeded, pruned and mulched over the Winter.BlogSpring25%IMG_6193BlogSpring25%IMG_6184BlogSpring25%IMG_6209

A few ailing roses have been replaced and the Bog Salvia removed, as it is far too rampant and swamps everything! We have moved some of the plants around to allow for better aeration around the roses and peonies. The wallflowers and nemesias are blooming at the moment.BlogSpring25%IMG_6182BlogSpring25%IMG_6183 It looks like I might have my first Tree Peony this year!BlogSpring25%IMG_6190We also transplanted the hybrid musk and rugosa rose hedges, as they were not thriving, due to the heavy root competition and shade provided by our neighbour’s huge old Cottonwood Poplar tree. Fortunately, the latter had a severe haircut by some very talented tree surgeons over the Winter, with the removal of the bough over our Mulberry Tree, so we hope the extra sun will sweeten the fruit considerably this year, provided of course that we get more serious rain as well! We plan to build a glasshouse on the old rugosa site one day in the future.BlogSpring20%DSCN3191BlogSpring20%DSCN3205BlogSpring20%DSCN3221The rugosas all moved up to line our driveway, while the other roses now grace the sweeping path from the Main Pergola up past the entrance steps (on left of photo), along with new plantings of quince, apricot (second photo) and Prunus subhirtella autumnalis.BlogSpring25%IMG_6192 BlogSpring25%IMG_6278We have also planted a golden peach to replace the dead Native Frangipani in the Tea Garden and a fig and a blood orange in the citrus patch behind the Moon Bed.BlogSpring25%IMG_5753

Sweetly scented old-fashioned freesias are just starting to bloom on the steep bank of the Tea Garden (second photo below), while their colourful relatives brighten up the feet of Mrs Herbert Stevens next to the house (first photo below).BlogSpring25%IMG_6262BlogSpring30%IMG_6073And we have the first of our new Bearded Iris starting to bloom at the top of the agapanthus bank.BlogSpring25%IMG_6259BlogSpring25%IMG_6265We also planted clematis on both iron rose arches: a blue Clematis macropetala ‘Pauline’ to complement the golden roses Rêve d’Or and Alister Stella Gray at the entrance to the garden; and the fast-growing pink Clematis texensis ‘Princess Diana’ to accompany the creamy Sombreuil and pink Cornelia on the chook fence arch (photo below).BlogSpring25%IMG_6374 While we still have to develop our chook yard, we have moved the compost bays and planned a garden shed behind the Perennial Bed, where the raspberries have been pruned and tied up and the comfrey, sorrel, angelica (currently in full flower), rhubarb and asparagus are thriving.BlogSpring25%IMG_6136 BlogSpring25%IMG_6203BlogSpring25%IMG_6205The strawberries and blueberries have their own bed, also sown with hollyhock seeds, and there are two more vegetable beds underway.BlogSpring25%IMG_6131BlogSpring25%IMG_6180Up on the terrace, the Treasure Bed has been awash with blue Hyacinth (Delft Blue) and grape hyacinth, interspersed with Tête à Tête daffodils, pale yellow primroses and now, the mauve Pasque Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris.BlogSpring30%IMG_5645BlogSpring20%DSCN3469BlogSpring30%IMG_5345BlogSpring30%IMG_6003BlogSpring30%IMG_5977 BlogSpring25%IMG_6368We have created a new herb garden close to the house in the old Acanthus Bed, though the latter keep popping up- they are resilient survivors indeed! We have planted Italian and Curly Parsley, lemon thyme and common thyme, Savory of Crete Satureja thymbra, common sage, French tarragon, oregano and calendulas, now in full glorious bloom!.BlogSpring25%IMG_6165BlogSpring25%IMG_6235BlogSpring25%IMG_5788 We have also started to clean up the agapanthus terrace, though it is a huge job, as the steep slope was never terraced properly, so new beds have to be created and supported, as well as eliminating all the old couch grass, before we can plant lavender. Ross also had major waterworks with new pipes being laid and a new tap in the vegie garden, which will make watering so much easier now. The bowerbirds were pretty impressed with the new tap!BlogSpring20%DSCN3418 Ross can certainly dig a straight trench!!!BlogSpring20%DSCN3246 And we have been working on the shed, lining the interior ceiling with ply, so now it is clean and dry and usable… not to mention, possum-proof!!!BlogSpring50%2018-04-26 08.24.59.jpg The shed garden has also been the recipient of much-needed attention and is sporting lavender, primula and euphorbia blooms!BlogSpring20%DSCN3724BlogSpring25%IMG_5752BlogSpring25%IMG_6187 It is so wonderful to be heading into Spring finally here in the Southern Hemisphere! I know I was sustained over the long Winter by blog posts and Instagram photos from the Northern Hemisphere Spring and Summer, so I hope this post has returned the favour! I will probably write another Spring garden post later in the season, when the garden is in full party mode! In the meantime….Happy Gardening wherever you are!BlogSpring30%IMG_5819

Oldhouseintheshires

 

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

 

Green Cape: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Winter Weather!

The period between Late Winter and Early Spring (August/ September) is one of the best times to visit Green Cape.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.28.23 While the weather is certainly cold, wild and windy, as seen in the photo above, the wildflowers are starting to come into full bloom and the whales are just starting to return south from their tropical Winter breeding grounds, with babies in tow.BlogGree Cape4017-08-29 15.56.38I have touched on Green Cape in previous posts (See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/16/ben-boyd-national-park-part-1/

and  https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/23/ben-boyd-national-park-part-2-photo-essay/).

It is the southernmost point of the Light to Light Walk, as can be seen in these maps from the NPWS interpretive boards.BlogGree Cape2515-06-28 13.01.23BlogGree Cape4015-03-31 14.57.57Green Cape lies at a latitude of 37 degrees South and longitude of 150 degrees East and because it juts so far out into the Tasman Sea, it is a wonderful spot to see humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) closeup, as they hug the coastline on their journey back home to their southern Summer Antarctic feeding grounds.BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 14.43.04BlogGree Cape3016-09-07 14.42.58BlogGree Cape2517-08-29 16.02.24The Yellow-Nosed Albatross (Diomedea chlororhynchus) can also be seen in Late Winter/ early Spring off Green Cape, though I have yet to see one, while the Short-Tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris) head south in long black clouds from late September to early November on their annual migration from the North Pacific to their breeding burrows on the islands in southern waters.BlogGree Cape3017-09-07 19.07.42BlogGree Cape5015-06-28 15.03.29BlogGree Cape5015-03-31 14.46.39We have however seen plenty of other birds: Australasian Gannets (first photo above), Ospreys and White-Bellied Sea Eagles (2nd photo above), Nankeen Kestrels (3rd photo above), Cormorants and Pacific Gulls (first photo below), Crested Terns (2nd photo below), and Sooty Oyster Catchers (3rd photo below).BlogGree Cape3015-03-31 14.49.17BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 16.08.28BlogGree Cape2016-09-07 14.10.17Dolphins and Australian Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) are also often seen, the latter forming bachelor rafts just off the point and lolling about in the surf with the odd Queen’s Wave!BlogGree Cape3015-06-28 13.24.02BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 14.49.59BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 15.45.13And on land, there are wombats, usually fast asleep in their burrows during the day, but sometimes surprised grazing on the tough wiry grasses, especially in more remote areas.BlogGree Cape2015-06-28 13.52.05BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.14.07 More commonly seen are the quiet Eastern Grey Kangaroos (first photo) and Swamp Wallabies (2nd photo), which graze near the lighthouse.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.33.39OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the coastal heath, there are Southern Emu Wrens (Stipiturus malachurus) and Grass Parrots. I would love to see the latter, which are best observed on first light.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love all the wildflowers of the rugged coastal heath, which is adapted to cope with the salt-laden winds and sandy soils of Green Cape.BlogGree Cape2016-09-07 13.53.02BlogGree Cape2015-06-28 14.25.41 I have organised them into colour ranges and identified them by their genus only:

White: Clockwise from Top Left: Westringia; Hakea; Leucopogon; and Leptospermum;

Yellow: Clockwise from Top Left: Hibbertia; Banksia; Senecio; and Pomaderris;

Reds: Clockwise from Top Left: Kennedia; Correa; Epacris; and Grevillea;

and Pinks: A beautiful Epacris impressa;BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 15.15.11Blues: Clockwise from Top Left: Patersonia; Comesperma; Dampiera; Hovea; Glossodia; and Hybanthus;

and Purples: Tetratheca and Comesperma;

with special sections for wattles (Acacia):

and peas (numerous genera).

Green Cape is a stunningly beautiful area, as the following photos attest.BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.54.35BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.50.22BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.27.32 It looks south across Disaster Bay to Baycliff and the mouth of the Wonboyn River, to the tall sand dunes of Cape Howe, the Nadgee Wilderness area and the Victorian border.BlogGree Cape2516-09-09 11.03.45BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.07.52OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then, there is the lighthouse itself- such beautiful architecture with a fascinating history!

BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.27.08 The East Australian Current flows south at 2 knots off Green Cape, which was great for ships sailing south, but difficult for northward-bound vessels, which would hug the coast to avoid the current, exposing them to the risk of being wrecked on reefs and promontories.BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 15.20.54 It is a very rugged section of the coast, which has claimed over 10 shipwrecks, including the Ly-Ee-Moon 1886, in which 71 people died, 24 of their bodies being buried in the cemetery nearby.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 16.23.15The decision was made in 1873 to build a lighthouse at Green Cape, the buildings to be designed by the then-colonial architect James Barnett.BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 18.58.19BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 16.27.33BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.51.39 Building supplies, as well as food and later supplies until 1927, were shipped from Eden to the storehouse at Bittangabee Bay, 7 km to the north, then were transported by horse-drawn tramway through the dense coastal heath and across creeks to the headland.BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.51.07BlogGree Cape5017-09-07 17.51.12 The lighthouse complex included the 29 m tall octagonal lighthouse and residences for the Head and Assistant Lightkeepers;