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Our gardens, a month-by-month pictorial diary of what's looking good now => Our Gardens => Topic started by: Caroline on August 29, 2014, 01:33:38 AM

Title: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Caroline on August 29, 2014, 01:33:38 AM
The first section of my garden to be planted up two years ago, - well-drained, reasonably sheltered, and I'm gradually improving the horrible clay.  This photo shows Euphorbia wulfenii with Narcissus "Tête-à-tête" in front.  A very satisfactory combination
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Trevor Australis on August 29, 2014, 11:11:23 AM
In NZ there are sme terrific daff breeders, esp the little ones. You should soon be able to make a great show. Check out viridiflora hybrids. Maybe Fermi can give you some contact names in NZ.

Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Joanna Savage on August 29, 2014, 01:28:28 PM
Caroline, that is a lovely looking tree behind your garden. Is it endemic to your island? Perhaps you would post some closeups of leaves and flowers. It looks as though it might be coastal, but aren't those grapes in the background? And congrats on your Wulfenii and daffs, very cheerful after the winter.
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Caroline on August 30, 2014, 09:58:41 PM
Hi Joanna - the tree is Metrosideros excelsa or pohutukawa which is endemic to northern NZ.  It's a tough, slow growing, evergreen coastal tree which in December is covered in red flowers - quite a sight!  I am lucky enough to have five big specimens - probably 150 years old - around my house.  I'll send photos at the appropriate moment as you are all hunkering down for the winter.

And yes, that is a vineyard you can see; I built my house at the bottom of the chardonnay block which I can see out of my kitchen window. Go to <> if you want to see more. We have four blocks of grapes on the property, all cleverly protected from the wind by remnant coastal forest, as well as a small olive grove. Pruning finished last week, and the chardonnay is now bursting into leaf.  :)

Trevor, you're right, I need more exquisite little narcissi like those in the photos Fermi is posting.  But first I need to finish the basic structure of the garden and put in the big stuff!
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Trevor Australis on August 30, 2014, 10:57:47 PM
Not too much big stuff 'cos later you may well end u taking some out - esp if you want more little bulbs.

Do you grow Poor Knight's Lily? I grow mine in a large pot of leaf mold and scoria nodules. I feed it occasionally but it never flowers. Any clues as to why?
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Umbrian on August 31, 2014, 07:13:04 AM
Here "Autumn has arrived" - the first small flowers on my Eleagnus ebbingeii have opened and yesterday their delicious perfume was wafting on the air - I wish I could post that on the a forum for all to share :)
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Caroline on August 31, 2014, 08:39:46 AM
I don't know if I am the best person to ask about Poor Knight's Lily, Trevor.  I started out with 3 very small ones ten years ago, and for a while all was well - they grew and I kept on feeding them and potting on into marginally bigger pots.  Then when I moved back to Waiheke two succumbed in quick succession to phytopthera.  :(    However last summer the sole survivor, nicely pot-bound, did flower for the first time - two spikes only but better than nothing.  I am about to plant another at the top of the retaining wall behind the house to see what happens - there are some growing locally in similar conditions which have done well.  Try <> for some expert advice - you will see that a ten-year wait is not unusual! 
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Caroline on September 03, 2014, 09:50:25 PM
Another sign of spring - Clematis paniculata is now flowering in the treetops.  The photos are of a female plant which has smaller flowers.  :(   I didn't plant these lovely things, they self-seed through the forest (bush to us antipodeans).
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Caroline on September 03, 2014, 09:52:24 PM
OK, have to work out how to post two photos on one post.  Second photo now I hope
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Caroline on September 08, 2014, 02:00:18 AM
And finally, the other sign of spring round here is the kowhai  (Sophora microphylla[/i) ]flowering - a small tree which is covered in these yellow flowers, which are the favourite food of native wood pigeons.  Flower a bit out of focus as a gust of wind came along at the wrong moment.
Title: Re: Spring has arrived! 2016
Post by: Fermi on October 08, 2016, 11:59:11 PM
Rather than start a new topic I thought it would be better to resurrect this one,
Here are some of the South African spring flowers in our garden:

Sparaxis tricolor (orange form);
Geissorhiza splendidissima;
Geissorhiza tulbaghensis;
Bulbinella cauda-felis;
Spiloxene capiensis;
Sparaxis grandiflora (purple form);
Hesperantha vaginata and ssp stanfordiae (pure yellow);
Geissorhiza ornithogaloides;
Sparaxis (maybe) bulbifera;
Sparaxis tricolor (red form);
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Alisdair on October 09, 2016, 08:12:39 AM
Splendidissimo! What a wonderful collection of these mediterranean-climate bulbs/corms you have, Fermi, and it's great to have the chance of seeing them in such good condition, especially as many of them are very rare indeed in gardens.
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Fermi on October 12, 2016, 10:18:07 AM
Thanks, Alisdair,
we've been building this collection for over 20 years and there are some that I got back in the 1980s!

Australian native plants have been a more recent obsession - mainly since moving to our current home in 2000:
Eutaxia microphylla (prostrate form);
Tetratheca thymifolia "Alba";
Conostylis aculeata;
Calytrix tetragona (prostrate form) x 2;
Senna artemisioides x 2;
Eremophila 'Augusta Storm';
Prostanthera incisa x 2;
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Daisy on October 12, 2016, 12:59:22 PM
It is the best time of the year and your garden certainly celebrates it. Lovely photos Fermi. I love your Prostanthera, I have always had a soft spot for it.
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Alisdair on October 13, 2016, 09:21:51 AM
More fascinating plants, most of them utterly unfamiliar to us in the northern Hemisphere (prostantheras are perhaps the only ones as popular here as they deserve to be); thanks again, Fermi!
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: anita on October 26, 2016, 10:40:21 AM
What a difference a bit of water makes!
Adelaide, where I garden, in fact the whole state where I live has had higher than usual rainfall this year. The long-term average for our city is 545mm – but the reality has been that over the past decade we have seldom achieved that, in fact last year we received only about 350mm for the year. With our Mediterranean style winter rainfall cutting out around August.
But this year it has rained, and rained and rained – over 750mm already.
The difference it has made to the garden can hardly be imagined. While we irrigate the garden; rainfall with its infinitesimal amounts of nitrogen delivers completely different outcomes.
I’ve been a lot more active with my camera than usual because this is probably going to be a once in a lifetime event in this climate. I keep wandering out into the garden and being swept away by the verdant greens.

I’ll share some of the images below.

We had a cypress hedge between the garden and the street but removed it this year as moths were girdling branches and causing unsightly gaps. We replanted with a sterile, non-fruiting olive to create a hedge in keeping with older gardens in the suburb, but as the ground was bare we chose to underplant with poppies and knautia. With the extra rain the poppies have been traffic stopping.

The combination of Malus ionensis plena (Bechtel’s crab), with Valerian and watsonias in just the right shade of pink has looked particularly lovely. I have a mirroring crab across the garden but in this area I have a slightly paler but equally integrated watsonia. Out of shot the bed is underplanted with roses Scentsation and Papa Meilland.

Roses Mr Lincoln, Papa Meilland and Oklahoma (rose nut note – same parents different breeders, all equally dark and sensuously scented) and Valerian, Lychnis coronaria and Gladiolus byzantium look well together – unfortunately I couldn’t get the rose to face the right way but I can assure you it smells as sweet.

The wisterias have enjoyed the extra rain too.
As the wisterias have faded the roses have come into their own. The floribunda Gold Bunny puts on an amazing display and repeats throughout the year but only in spring do the Californian poppies provide a supporting display. I’ve culled and culled over the years until I’ve now got a strain of butter yellow, sometimes pink-backed that echoes the softer faded petals of Gold Bunny.

This year’s display of Dendrobium falcorostrum has been particularly good. It really needs a repot but breaking up this clump is pretty intimidating.
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: anita on October 26, 2016, 10:42:49 AM
And just a few more.
Another general shot. And the most beautiful watsonia which blends pink and orange.
Cheers Anita
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: Joanna Savage on October 27, 2016, 10:55:55 AM
Anita, that is an amazing D.falcorostrum. Do you ever see them so large in the wild? Are they terrestrial or aerial? It is difficult to imagine a branch that would be strong enough to support the weight of your magnificent specimen.
Title: Re: Spring has arrived!
Post by: anita on October 27, 2016, 01:28:39 PM
I must confess that I've never seen D. Falcorostrum in the wild as they are native to the rainforests of northern NSW and Queensland.  However,  I have seen absolutely  enormous plants of staghorn, elks horn and bird's nest ferns (Platycerum superbum, Platycerum bifurcatum and Asplenium nidus) in trees in the rain forests of Far North Queensland around Cairns which would be much heavier than my potful of orchids. We guessed that some of the plant masses would have run over 100kgs in weight and individual trees would have been holding tonnes of epiphytes aloft. There's a cable car trip you can do into the mountains above Cairns that takes you into and above tree top height that gives you an amazing bird's eye view of the forest and the staggering masses of ephiphytes colonising the trees.
The dendrobium is definitely an epiphyte. More details at