Copyright © 1997-2009 Demand Media. All rights reserved.
The above picture is of one of my favourite roses - the Australian breed Lorraine Lee. She is an absolute cracker as she is breed for Australian conditions, ie can tolerate hot dry summers and she is evergreen, yes, evergreen. She was breed by a guy called Alister Clark around the turn of the 20th century in Victoria. I don't know why these roses aren't more popular here, because they are so tough and everygreen.
They continually flower and do best in winter. I have two and I notice the one in the pot, doesn't do as well as the rose in the ground, but that is normal. Plants in pots struggle in Australia over summer. They dry out very quickly.
I don't know if you can buy Alister Clark roses in other parts of the world, but they are worth looking out for. There is a variety of size bushes. from huge roses to small ones.
If you want to read more about Alister Clark roses, jump onto this link and it will take you to one of my articles on Ezine.
From scorching Melbourne yes, 36C to day and ahhhhh 40C tomorrow which think is over the 100F. Tomorrow sounds like time to go to the movies.
It is New Year's Ev here and its going to be hot. I am on watering duty, I have friends away in Queensland and the watering system at La Trobe's Cottage is stuffed ie. it floods beds or it does work at all in other beds, so I have to hand water. I did volunteer too because we have lots of new treasures that I don't want to die.
My trick for surviving the hot weather, is to bring most of my small liftable pots inside and it gets a bit jammed. I unfortunately, gave away two old sheets to Lort Smith the Animal Hospital that I could of used to put over the plants during the middle of the day. Only just thought of that after I had given them away. Couldn't very well ask to borrow them back.....
Another trick I do is when I am watering, is too scratch up the soil, so the water soaks in and doesn't run off. I either use my finger or find a little stick and break it up. It really annoys me, when I see water running over the top of the soil as it is wasted.
I am really concscious of watering now, as the price of our water has gone up and having been through 15 years of drought. The last bill I got had trippled in price ahhhhh and I only have a tiny garden.
Another trick I learnt from the TV would you believe it, is when watering in new plants, to water into the middle of it to make sure that water soaks into the root ball. This will help push the roots out and help establish the plant better. If you only water around the edges, it is possible the root ball will dry out and eventually the plant will die.
Happy New Year Everyone
We have a big conglomerate hardware store called Bunnings in Melbourne. I call it the Big B. Hate going there but it is where Port Melbournian folks go, when they need hardware stuff. They have put alot of the smaller hardware stores out of business. On my drive to the Big B I saw this fabulous roundabout with these stunning black trunk gum tree and white flowered Dietes iridioides. Not a big fan of dietes, but here they looked terrific. I love seeing combinations of plants I would never think of. I can't remember and Goggle can't find for me the proper name of the Eucalypt which is very annoying because I used to know it. We have a saying in horticulture about botanical names and using your brain to remember their naems "If you don't use it, you loose it".
Once I got to Bunnings I found this Dianella revoluata or Flax Lily in the boring concrete car park! Now, this is another plant that usually bores me, unitl I saw this. It was spectacular. The blue berries make such an impact, but the flower is very small and insignificant to me. Looking down, I felt like I was in the bush and from this picture you would never know you were in the inner city of Melbourne. The thunderous sky also helped intensify the colours which made them stand out even more
I am very lucky, some friends gave me for my birthday a beautiful Phalaenopsis orchid. I love them and I even love saying the word Phalaenopsis, it just one of those nice words to say.
I had one before and it did really well in my old house because it had lots of light. But it had to go to my friends who gave me this new Phalaenopsis because the house I am in at the moment does not have much light, except of course in the loo. Yes, the best room in the house is the bathroom, wouldn't you believe! So it is going to live there on the window sill which is a bit prercarious as it isn't very wide. They also don't like the cold, so I am not sure what I am going to do in winter, because the glass conducts the cold. So I have a big responsibility, I will never live it down if it carks it. It may have to go to my friends place for holidays in winter as they have a lovely light warm room, where their orchids live.
It is still at my friends because I rode over there last night. So when I get it today, I will take a picture and posted it for you too see. Just picked it up!
Enjoy your garden
Well, it has been the most amazing christmas day weather wise I can remember. All day it showered and I was constantly running my pot plants and ferns out into the rain. Rain is so good because it contains nitrogen and other nutrients and the plants can absorb it through their leaves. It also seems to fresh them if you have left them in the rain for a couple of hours.
About 4.00pm, the thunder gods started stomping around. Nothing too dramatic, until........... about 6.00pm. I had just finished watching the King's Speech video - literally when there was this almight crack, and all the electric died. Oh sh.... I thought, I haven't put a new battery in my torch and when it gets dark I will stumbling around. The lighting bolt was terrifying. And then the rain came and sometimes my street floods, although my new neighbour didn't seem to belive me. I think the pictures below speak for themselves. It didn't flood last night, these are last years pictures, only because I got my rake out and unblocked the drain! I moved my car just incase. Last time I was moving it, I stalled and had to be pushed into a drier spot. No fun!
So I sat on the verandah, reading my book, drinking some chardonay, I mean there was nothing else I could do. Makes you realise how reliant we are on electricity.
Luckily, it came back on about 8.00pm, so all was well. The thunder gods had stopped and so had the rain and hail.
Enjoy the snaps
It is Christmas day here, just woken up and having my second cuppa. Well we are in for a thunder storm. I sat out on the verandah, drinking my coffee and gosh were the colours in the sky fantastic. The thunderous sky made all my flowers in the front look more intense, the orange marigolds were oranger, the yellow ones more intense, and the blue of my annual ageratum more blue. I do love sun, but a purple sky makes the colours come alive.
My cuttings are still alive and I think going to succeed. How funny it when you discover things. I discovered that the light under my front verandah is perfect for settling in new cuttings. It is just the right spot, which I didn't realise it was.
The above pictures are Pelargonium triste
It is Christmas Ev, well morning actually and yesterday I went up to La Trobe's Cottage and took some cuttings of pelargoniums/geraniums. Next year, we are trying to implement a new garden bed and I want to plant it up with old fashioned roses - must be available before 1854 (La Trobe left Melbourne to return to England) Luckily a very nice lady at the Rose Society was able to help narrow the choice down and suggest some that were around then and that are still grown by the rose nurseries. I want to fill the bed with roses, pelargoniums/geraniums and worm wood. The following are the old geraniums I planted souced from the Pelargonium Society based at Geelong Botanic Gardens. Pelargonium acetosum ( is a succulent variety), Pelarg
onium cucallutum (is like the common old purple flowering pelargonium), >Pelargonium inquinans (like the common red zonal one) and the ground cover Pelargonium triste that I planted.
I used old pots, and dipped the stems in honey as it acts as a root hormone. I then popped them into the pots and watered them with a weak fish solution. The spot where I propagate catches the mid-day sun which isn't good at this time of year, so I popped them on the front verandah, where they will get light, but not direct sun. I will move them back to propagating table in a couple of weeks, when hopefully some roots will have formed.
Thought you would like to see these beautiful gum trees from Western Australia. Their botanical name is Corymbia ficifolia syn. Eucalyptus ficifollia. They are flowering at present (summer over here) and they are one of my favorite favorite trees. They like a sandy soil, I learnt they hate clay soil, especially if it is wet - they die and a full sun position.
They are a great feature tree and bring the birds. They are also an excellent climbing tree, because they have lovely big solid branches. Oh the bee also love them.
These pictures I took last year in my local park - it is sort of a park, it has a tram (which used to be a trainline) running down the middle of it. They are just starting to flower this year.
If you want to grow native Australian plants and you are looking for overseas Australian Native Plants nurseries, I found some on Google. Here they are.
Nursery Trevena Cross Nurseries
Address: Breage, Helston
Cornwall TR13 9PS
Phone +(44) 01736 763 880; Fax: +(44) 01736 762 828; Email: email@example.com.
Nursery: Australian Native Plants Nursery
Address: 9040 North Ventura Avenue, Casitas Springs, CA, 93001
Phone: (805) 649 3362; Fax: (805) 649 4080; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Windmill Outback Nursery
4583 E.Old Mountain Road
Louisa VA 23093-2420
Phone: (540) 894 0288; Email: email@example.com
Some hints to growing Australian plants, they don't like a lot of fertiliser, especially phosphorus - too much will kill your plants. They don't need as much water and they do need pruning after flowering, just a light prune to keep them healthy.
Enjoy the pictures
Hope the photo's aren't too small. The first picture is of my ornamental tabacco plant which I got um just thinking where, I think it was when Paul Bangay (Melbourne designer) openned his country garden for the Open Garden Scheme several years ago. It is a perennial and once I gave the front a good pruning, it is now thriving because it is getting lots of sun.
The next picture is one of my most favourite is purple cosmos, the dwarf ones. and the last picture is my sad tomato ;Red Robin' which I gave too much potash too, but it is solidering on with new growth.
Here we go!
Thanks Betts, I think I have done it, just got to set the sizing right. The first pictures is my Mary Rose named after King Henry VIII after his battle ship Mary Rose sank. It is a David Austin. The next picture is of Charles La Trobe's Cottage where I am a volunteer. La Trobe came to Melbourne in 1839 and had to bring his own house from England. I am the garden co-ordinator.
I think that is enough of pictures for today.
My Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff is budding up and not far from flowering. Very excited. It has dark purple leaves and fantastic red flowers. I moved the tuber a couple of years ago and last year it only sent up one stem - disappointing and this year I wasn't sure it was going to grow as some friends dahlia has sprouted much earlier than mine. But it did but again only 1 stem. So I have been fertilising it, so the tuber has the energy to multiply. I have been giving it pelleted organic fertiliser and I will spread a little potash, not too much as I burnt my tomato leaves when I gave it some a few weeks back. Potash encourages flowers and that is what I want.
I still can't work out how to upload pictures and haven't heard back from Garden Guides Support, so I will put some in my photo album. It is last years flower but you will see how gorgeous it is.
PS Tried to up load pictures into album and couldn't get them to save....... this is very frustating site
It is tomato time in Australia, as it is summer. This year I am growing one called 'Red Robin' and it is a dwarf variety, ideal for a pot. It is not too late to put one in but don't buy leggy ones with flowers as they are old stock and have been in the nursery toooooo long.
Reb Robin is a survivor, as I unintentionally gave it too much potash (flowering) which caused the leaves to go red. But, it battled on and sent up some new growth, very healthy and green. I also have some new flowers. The fruit are very very small, cherry size. Excellent for picking straight off the bush and popping into your mouth.
I have written 3 ebooks on growing tomatoes for different climatic zones around the world. There is cool/temperate, tropical/subtropical and hot/arid and they can be purchase from my wesite gardenpatch.com.au. They made excellent christmas presents because you don't have to leave home to go shopping and it is instantly downloaded. Tomatoes are temperature sensitive and the ebooks give you lots of very helpful information on how to manage this. For example picking tomatoes that are heat tolerant.
Just finished mulching my garden with sugar cane mulch. Urrrr. Don't know why I waited so long to do it as it cuts down my use of water. When there is no mulch, I notice I tend to water more, because I see the top of the soil is dry. But now I won't worry. I have also put it in my pots and hanging baskets.
It smells sweet, like sugar but is starting to become a bit sickly. The smell will disappear in a day or two. My other concern is last year after I mulched my nose became twitchy and I felt a little bit hay feverish, even though I don't suffer from hay fever. So this time after I applied it, I watered it down, hoping that will settle the dust and other nose iritants.
I am glad I have mulch, I just hope I don't start sneezing too much.
Last night (Saturday) on the ABC - the Australia version of the BBC we usually have Gardening Australia which is the best gardening show in Australia. On the commercial channels they are either advertising products or are rubbish. Anyway back to the topic, GA isn't on (christmas) so they put on the BBC's Don Monty's Italian Gardens. Well if you love gardening then you will adore these programs. He does brilliant places and this epidosed was all about the Italian garden. He visited some private (not usually open to the public) ones and not all formal. They were brilliant.
I also learnt several things, like the English Landscape started by William Kent, popped in Italian buildings deliberately built as ruins to create a romantic garden. They were situated in the garden and you are meant to stumble over them.
I am sure his programs are out on DVD or you can down load them. They are worth watching.
I am a professional horticulturalist in Melbourne and I am interested in all sorts of plants and gardens. My favourite are heritage and I am a volunteeer at La Trobe's Cottage which is a National Trust property where I help look after the garden. We have had a good year, establishing a new garden bed around the weeping elm that The Friends of the Elms doanted to us. La Trobe's Cottage is in Kings Domain, just behind the Shrine.
I also do some teaching at Victoria University and run beginner gardening courses at several neighbourhood centres around Melbourne.
My garden is tiny, single worksman's cottage and I don't quite get enough sun, especially in winter when I only get 2 hours in the back yard and none in the front. Makes growing things, tricky especially as I love flowers and they usually require full sun.
It is very exciting, my dahlia Bishop of Llandorf or Gandorf as we call it is up to the fence, about 1 meter and buds are swelling. Yehhhh, that means beautiful red flowers. The good old bishop has black foliage and bright red flowers. I moved the tuber a couple of years ago and it still hasn't recovered completely, so I am hopefully this year feeding up the tuber so it will multiply. Before I moved it I had about 4 stems but for the last 2 years I have only had one stem.
I would show you a picture, but I am new to this site and can't work out how you up load pictures.
In the nurseries there are also so lots of lovely smaller dahlias that you can plant in pots or at the front of your garden bed.
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