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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A stormy summer ahead

Two views "Spring Bluff" Railway station & garden (looking North).
One before on left and one after the dramatic recent flood events of 12/1/2011
Last week there were two full days of fine weather and everything here in our little world seemed rosy. In many communities in suburban Brisbane, the Lockyer Valley, the Mary Valley, the Darling Downs and as far away as St.George, Condamine, Emerald and Rockhampton the cost of recent floods is only just being counted. Now two more cyclones are going to affect Queensland in the next week. All manner of infrastructure from road, bridges, rail & schools will need to be rebuilt. Mines are flooded. Agriculture, livestock and manufacturing has been wiped out in some areas.
With more to come it all seems pretty bleak.
But people need to carry on and a day of sunlight and the display of some bright coloured flowers hanging over a garden fence may help lift the mood. The indestructible, resilient nature of many sub-tropical plant species as they recover from floods and storms is like a signal to people they that can recover too.
We hope that this year has no more extreme weather challenges in store.
Here at Montville extreme wet weather is only a bit more than we have grown to expect. There is a lot of growth but flowers are easily knocked around and spoiled. Having said that the weather has allowed us to establish many new plants in a set and forget manner.
New varieties of Buddleja davidii (pink and purple), Thai basil, Hibiscus acetosella, Cordia bossieri (Texas Olive) have been planted. Seeds of Viola tricolor, Dianthus etc have been planted along with Rocket and Zucchini. From our propagation area many Coleus, Begonia coccinea, Dracaena recurvata, Cordylline terminalis and Plectranthus saccatus along with heaven knows what else has ben planted.
Michael Simpson

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Floods and recovery

Last week we were effectively housebound and an extraordinary rain event spread the floods of South East Queensland into the cities of Ipswich and Brisbane causing loss of life and critical damage. Then the sun came out.
This week the clean up and repair of thousands of homes and businesses is beginning. It has been a profound lesson in the power and changeability of nature.
In our garden, far from the dramatic effects of flood, flowers bloom, birds sing and there is no sign left behind of the severe weather of the week before. Is it luck? Probably! Is it a sign of some fundamental global warming phenomenum? That's a debate for others.
We are just grateful that our family have been high, dry and safe and amazed at the great spirit shown by those who rebuild through this event and those who help them.
Michael Simpson

Sunday, January 9, 2011

water, water, everywhere

Water, water everywhere. We could not get to the Surgery in Brisbane today, turned back early this morning due to blinding rain and dangerous roads. Flooding continues and towns affected badly this morning are Dalby, Maryborough, Rockhampton and Gympie. Extensive clean-ups are starting in Emerald, Theodore, Chinchilla, Warwick, Allora and all parts between.
Many gardens along with many homes will have been permanently damaged and will either be abandoned or will need extensive renovation.
When homes and livelihoods are getting back on track people will get comfort when they see natures recovery in gardens. Weeds may our-strip the pace of recovery in Agriculture where many crops have been ruined. However, some tough old fashioned remnant plants will survive around homesteads and houses in town. Hopefully their first flowers will give flood affected people renewed hope.
In our garden water can quickly get away into the deep red soil. Trees and shrubs have withstood the wind and irrepressible Canna generalis, Dahlia x hybridum, Salvia confertiflora and many tea roses, Abutilons, Ruelia, Buddleja and Agapanthus are in full flower. Their flowers and stems are pushed over into the thick wet buffolo grass by the weight of the water in their petals.
Here's hoping for sunnier days . The fertlizer bags are piled up, the tools are stacked in the shed, the sprays are waiting on the bench where they have been for sokme time and will probably remain for weeks more.