Top ten list of garden plants

  • Abutilons of all kinds
  • Buddlejas old and new
  • Epiphytic orchids and ferns
  • Gordonia species
  • Heliotrope, Lemon verbena, Fennel and herbs
  • Michelias of all sorts
  • Perennial Salvias large and small
  • Species Camellias
  • Tea and China Roses
  • Weigela of all types

Montville Rose

Thursday, August 19, 2010

other gardens and responsibilities

Dendrobium speciousum, 'The Shambles'.
As well as our own garden and the ongoing preparations we are making for our October 9th open garden, we have a responsibility for 3 other gardens. If you start something off you may as well expect to carry on unassisted, so these other places seem largely to have become our sole responsibility.
Firstly, here at home in Montville, a large amount of tropical chick weed, Tradescantia and clutter has been removed yet again by Kyleigh. Our Galtonia, Spanish Bluebells, Clematis and others are emerging but with the Buddleja salvifolia and Buddleja 'Wattlebird' in full flower I fear that spring will be too early for our open garden display. All the roses are coming back strongly with new growth after their late july pruning.
In Brisbane the garden at our daughter and son in laws house is establishing well. As the house is white with blue trim (with a lovely sharp black powder coated wire fence in contrast) we established a garden with lots of blue and grey accents. Plumbago 'Royal Cape', Brunfelsia latifolia, Lavandula stoechas, Agapanthus praecox, Helichrysum italicum, Lantana montevidensis, Clerodendrum ugandens have been augmented with Osteospermum and Argyranthemum daisies on our last visit. Shrubs also include Loropetalum 'China pink' and the showy twining plants Hardenbergia violacea, Bauhinia corymbosa and Solanum jasminoides.
On our last visit the very healthy weeping melaleuca, Callistemons , Cassia javanica, Caesalpinea ferrea, Tibouchinas, Tuckeroo, Syzgium and Frangipanis in the back yard were augmented with Grevillea 'moonlight','superb', 'Sandra Gordon' and 'Pink parfait'. We have been encouraged by the colourful corners which have healthy ferns, cordyllines, Dieffenbachia and Bromeliads. Of all things the Bougainvilleas seem to have really struggled.
Yesterday, at the Montville Uniting Church the 4 year old Lavandula stoechas alternating with tea roses are finally looking quite sparse. We have interplanted Rosemary, Salvia, Dianthus, Pelargonium and Verbena. Everything is looking quite healthy so Kyleigh removed a lot of 'fishbone' fern from under and around a lovely collection of shrubs on the northern side which include Michelia 'Bubbles', Spiraea cantonensis, Grevilleas, Buckinghamia, tetradenia, Centradenia underplanted with Dianellas and Plectranthus amboniensis. We also planted a healthy Callistemon (pink flowering hybrid) and gave up trying to spray for an infestation of bindii weed due to equipment failure.
Then on to the Montville Hall where all of our plantings look very healthy. There is a perennial problem with the two small gardens either side of and inside the Memorial Gates which relates to very poor depleted soil, which often appears to be bone dry. We have thrown in lots of organic material over the last five years but well meaning people also use these gardens as a place to stack the prolific fall of material, spent flowers etc from the adjacent Ficus benjamina. This stuff seems to set like concrete and seems quite hydrophobic. Never the less the old fashioned roses, 'Comptesse de Labarthe', 'Beauty of Glenhurst' and 'Princesse de Sagan' look very good with new growth. The various Salvias, Heliotrope, Goldfussia, Buddleja, Shrub Basil, Reinwardtia indica, Camellia sasanqua, Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis, Pentas lanceolata, Spiraea cantonensis and Centradenia were in good nick. We planted Marigolds, verbena, Hibiscus syriacus and Hardenbergia violacea to brighten things up.
This was all done in the last 4 days and ,as forecast, along came the rain over night to water things in. We are always aware that people only value a garden in development or looking it's best. There is always a danger to these places, that if the custodians drop their guard and the place looks shabby, some obsessively neat committee member will propose 'cleaning it up'. In Queensland terms a 'clean up' means annihilating a beautiful complex garden and concreting the edges in straight lines then mass planting the most drab, soul destroying 'low maintenance' things that the hardware wants to discount and get rid of.
Michael Simpson

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

returning home, the preparation continues

Grandbaby Leo and Kyleigh with Rosa "Princesse de Sagan" Bougainvilleas Court House Cloncurry

On the first week of August we returned after a fortnight working in Cloncurry, North West Queensland.
The country side around Mt.Isa and Cloncurry is very beautiful with low growing Acacia and Eucalypt woodland interrupted by dramatic ranges and mesas of red rocks and boulder outcrops.
Domestic gardens were lit up by Bougainvillea and Ixora which contrast dramatically to the form and colour of locally endemic plants.
The day we flew out in late July we had a visit from fellow members of Heritage Roses in Australia who came to help up us clean up, prune and prepare all of our old fashioned Tea and China roses for the 5th October. On that day it is the turn of our garden at 'The Shambles' to be visited by the National Tour of Heritage Roses in Australia which has been suitable titled 'Rainforest to Roses'.
We shared some cuttings and struck yet more of our own from the prunings.
In early August the roses are responding already with lots of new growth. Although there is finally some cool (rather than genuinely cold) weather we are pleased that Clematis 'Daniel Deronda' and 'Andromeda' are establishing well. Pieris rhykuensis ? P chinensis is flowering beautifully with chains of pure white bells. Both Gordonia axillaris and Gordonia yunnanensis are in flower as is Camellia japonica 'Blood of China', 'Commander Mullroy' and of course the irrepressible 'Aspasia MacArthur'. Of our investment this year in yet more types of hardy bulbs Spanish Bluebells, Ipheion, Snowflake and various Friesias are up and the silly Friesias are forming buds. I am looking forward to Hippeastrum papilo in summer.
It is my impression that even though we would like to see all the various spring flowering plants hold off our lack of cold weather will see many of our garden favourites will have shot their bolt in September, which has previously been a lean time. Please bring on the cold