Saturday, 25 August 2012

oh look at all the precious things this week

I know I forgot to post the plant that made me squeak with delight last week. But fear not I have a number of beauties for you this week which I have been grabbing all over the place.

First is the Chaenomeles, cool name huh?  Ok you might know it as the flowering quince or japonica (which at least gives you the origin of where it came from, although to be fair it is also from China as well as Japan). As a kid we had one of these in the corner of the front garden.  Whenever I use to jump the wall (fastest route to the door) I always got gabbed by the mean sharp spurs.  So one weekend when the folks were away my brother and I cut it to the ground.  My parents were not pleased at all but it was a lot easier to jump the wall.  It of course came back thicker and stronger.

I am afraid although I have seen at least 3 colours I just managed to snap the pink but the red and white are also pretty.

Flower is quite beautiful but those thorns are lethal!
I expect this could be  Prunus sargentii or sargent cherry again native to Japan it is part of a group of trees at the front of one of my clients.  It has burgundy leaves that I have seen lots of people take branches I guess for flower arranging. Having been a florist in the past I too have found free flower and foliage handy on the sides of the road.


So I have taken a trip out to Alpine Nursery in Dural to grab plants and potting mixes for work last week and came across a new Michelia called 'Fairy'.  It is a fairly open shrub/small tree that is laden in flower. Michelia is related to Magnolia, but generally have smaller leaves and flower up and down the branches rather than on the tips like it's bigger cousins.  I know it is also pink but I think it is just what happens at this time of year.  Each season has its colour.

Such a pretty colour

A view of Alpine Nursery

Finally just one last plant which I am not entirely sure what it is, hoping you might help.  It is a bit of a scrappy think.  It grows by the road and in rockeries with no water, full baking sun and no attention.  In fact the foliage is quite ordinary but the flower is quite lovely and reminds be a little of Christmas bell.  If you know what it it I would be most grateful.

The foliage is this on tall sticky growth

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom day - August

When I was small my Nana used to grow snowdrops in the lawn in the far corner of her garden.  They were spectacular and everyone always came around to admire there bright white heads (and have a feed of pikelets which were her speciality).  Of course they were finished by September. By November they would be really yellow and the bulb would have absorbed all those nutrients ready to repeat the following winter.

However by October, my Pop would start pestering her as he wanted to mow the grass and have it neat and tidy.  I guess he didn't care for a mess. She would always say he would have to wait another month so the bulb would benefit with the extra time.  As you can imagine he would wait until she was out so he could quickly mow them down long before they were really ready.  He no doubt had to go without the pikelets.  But they still did always flower again the following year.

So of course now I have my own place I have to a small section to remind me of Nana.  Here they are:

I am not sure if you are all out there missing the Olympics (like Mr R) but if you are I have a little red, white and blue to celebrate the fantastic job the Poms did in London.

Pieris japonica a bit of red and white

Have to confess I am not really sure what this bulb is....

Akebia quinata (chocolate vine) well it is the most red I have for you today
And here are a few other things that are flowering around the garden today

Cercis "Forest Pansy" I love how the branches look like they have a pink hairy growth

Helleborus.  Eek I have 3 colours now

Magnolia stellata I am growing over a drain to deter people falling down the easement behind.  It's only a year old so still has some growing to do
Dendrobium sp. with a Cymbidum in the back ground
If you are curious to know what other people are growing in their gardens all around the world you can at  maydreamsgardens. See ya next time

Monday, 13 August 2012

Winter holiday

Mr R and I decided we would take a week off work. Of course when you are both self-employed the best laid plans don't always go to schedule.  When I was desperate to take that break Mr R had to go and build a deck that he had agreed to start quite a few months ago, sigh.

Finally it was finished and now for the decision of where to go.  We really thought a warm and sunny break would be good but soon discovered that the best deals are out of the country and as my passport expired in May it was time to consider something else.....

I thought about Orange, which is about 5 hrs drive over the mountains west of Sydney and much much colder about 9 degrees at this time of year.  Most of our stone fruits are grown in Orange but it is too cold for oranges. There are also a number of vineyards which seemed another good reason to go.  It is a large country town which has a university and a population of 40 000.  I don't really know why I am even giving you this information as we decided to stay home instead.

I know why would you stay at home?  Well here are a few reasons that made us stay home:

* Olympics are one of Mr R favourite things to watch so he has camped in the lounge every evening to really enjoy them

* My garden finally got worked on! Of course I think a month would be better for me but I took a few days and we are both much happier

* Playing tourist.  I love Sydney so we found a few walks that we hadn't done before

* Sleeping in, reading books and wearing your pyjamas till 9am and played for hours on the internet

* Made stuff from scratch

It really was great to relax and here are some of the photos to show what fun we had

Waters edge near Cammeray

Notice the wildlife?

Add caption

Add caption

Maggie enjoys the suns warmth

Angophoras are one of my favourite

The camp to watch Olympics

I made butter (and buttermilk)

Mr R is proud of his homemade tortillas 

So back at work this week I feel quite rested.  Sometimes it is really nice taking a break.

I guess all those jobs that need to be done around the house will have to wait until the weekends again

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Magnolia, worthy of a squeak

I really don't think I can go far this week without love for the so showy Magnolia. They come in so many shapes and sizes, deciduous and evergreen.  They are considered to be an ancient plant which you can tell by the seed pod which is covers hard red seeds with a furry green and fuzzy protective coat.  It is said that Magnolias date back 20 million years before bees evolved so they needed to rely on beetles to pollinate them.

This week I am talking about the winter flowering varieties that are looking fabulous all  over the place.  They appear before the riot of spring to cheer us before the weather starts turning to warmer days. They make a fantastic cut flower arrangements so the joy can come inside.

I am of the option that the magnolia need to have an impressive flowering season as the leaves are quite ordinary for spring, summer and autumn.  They do make wonderful shade over those months and then turn a very dull brown and drop for winter.

Magnolia stellata
I felt I couldn't really do with out one so I pick a little guy the Magnolia stellata.  We have an easement that runs between my neighbour which has quite a drop.  We have had a new family move in a few doors up and I thought I would try to grow a shrub that might deter the kids from getting to close to this drain.  The only problem is there is not a great depth of soil so I will have to encourage the rooting system to spread horizontally rather than deep.  It has had quite a few flowers on it this year so I am hopeful.

I am glad the magnolia has stood the test of time so we can enjoy it still today.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Eek of the week

I tend to carry my camera around with me a lot.  When I am at work, around the garden and often when walking the dog. The truth is there are so many plants out there that make me squeak with delight.  Sometimes I have simply forgotten how incredible they are because it has been a whole year since I saw them last.  Sometimes it is because the climate has been perfect one year rather than the other.

Anyway I think they are worthy once a week to post up on the blog.  As I say they are not always in my garden, which means someone else has to look after them and I get to enjoy the beauty for free. 

With the Olympics currently on I suspect there are one or two plants out there that are feeling patriotic as well lets see what you think:

This is on the drive back from the South Coast

I am sorry I don't know what species this one is.  It was in a garden so it might not grow naturally in Sydney.  Anyone got a clue?

 Acacia linifolia found on disturbed sites

Acacia Longifolia or Sydney Golden Wattle
I find the smell of wattle quite overwhelming a bit like licorice but different.  It is only a shame that there are so many wattles that are attacked by borer making 90% of them short lived.  They do make great nursery plants protecting smaller and slower growing trees as well as providing nitrogen to the soil.  They make my eek this week.  What are your thoughts?