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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Shambles, Christmas 2012

 Some old roses at our Open garden
Christmas has come and just gone. Of course as well as the many gifts exchanged there were a considerable number of new plants to add to the garden. Unhelpfully the prolonged dry, hot weather has continued. It must be a record in our area surely with only about 25ml rain since July, with only one summer storm and dry weather continuing now, past Christmas.
New Plants added are a series of Hydrangea serrata "Komachi", "White Angel" and "Dance Party". The other Hydrangea serrata acquired at the same time are unlabelled but all are very attractive in flower. We also acquired a Hydrangea macrophylla sold to us as "White King". I am attempting to find our more about the cultivar names and breeding of the Hydrangeas from Poulmans who I believe have been the suppliers.
The newly built raised stone gardens of the fernery have been planted out with various groupings of Adiantum, Asplenium, Blechnum, Polypodium, Mycosorum, Darvallia etc.
In organizing the Hydrangea walk for new acquisitions a large number of Bromeliads were transplanted and the best moved to the nursery area.
At Christmas the small collection of Anthurium andeanum (Flamingo flower) was explanded and six new colour varieties added , which are now standing on their own display made from our recently replced back stairs. As originally native to columbia with hundreds of species and cultivars these plants are commonly seen but we have not really bothered to record our collection until now. Along with purple "Amethyst" we have white, Orange, Red, pink, Green, Miniature and cultivars with a different coloured Spath and Spadix.
Along with these we acquiterd two new specimens of the old rose Rosa chinensis sempreflorens.
Lets all pray for rain in 2013
Michael Simpson

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A new Fernery from a Mountain of Rocks

 Cooper and Bauhinea corymbosa. Photo by John Simpson
Over the last few days our son John and our friend Martin Leonard have helped Kyleigh move a mountain of rather large pitching rocks (granite we think, rather than our usual basalt) to form a series of new garden beds. Our daughter Eleanor helped as well.  In the area adjacent to our propagating area and previous fernery, under the shade of large trees, Brachychiton acerfolius, Neolitsia and Toona ciliata a series of narrow raised rock beds have been built with a network of gravel paths to become our new Fernery.
The large Privet hedge has been reduced by 2/3 and the fernery building renovated to let in light and restore its usefulness.
Our propagating area is coming back into production as an engine for new and replacement plants. While much more attractive already the rock edged fernery needs the backdrop of the propagation area to be altered to make it more attractive when walking in the garden.
Lots of new growth on epiphytic orchids planted in trees over the fernery area and the large Crinum asiaticum anjacent to the new paths give plenty of visual interest.
In flower at the moment are quite a few things but looking best is the Bauhinea corymbosa along the northern pool fence and embankment which is a blaze of pink and of course the fragrant Trachylspermum jasminoides on a trellis beyond that.
Michael Simpson

New Plantings but a Dry Summer indeed

A  number of charming and new plants have been added to the garden in spite of prolonged dry weather which quite honestly is verging on drought.
Most have been acquired as cuttings from Nicky and Paul  at Woodford but some have been bought at Noel Burdettes Nursery . A dwarf Apricot Knifophia has been added and we have boldly planted out Forsytghia viridissima "Lynwood Gold" and Kolkwitzia amabilis as well as a variegated Deutzia in the central shrub garden and front path gardens.
we have also added.
An enchanting Michelia 'BLUSH' hybrid, bred by renowned New Zealand breeder Mark Jury. A well struck cutting of this bushy shrub is noted for its masses of russet colored buds opening to lightly fragrant blush-lilac pink flowers in late winter to mid-spring. It's apparently a compact size.

Carissa macrocarpa  'DESERT STAR'Attractive, small, compact evergreen shrub with large white, sweetly scented, star-shaped flowers and glossy round green leaves. Hardy and drought resistant and makes a very good low hedge or mounding plant. This plant has thorns so not sure where best to put it in our often moist environment

Graptophyllum excelsum is a shrub or small tree 1.5m to 8m high, usually no more than 4m, with multiple stems. It is found in dry vine thickets usually on soils derived from limestone. The leaves are about 3cm x 1cm and borne in opposite pairs. they are dark shiny green and spathulate (shaped like a spatula, with a broad tip and tapering to the base).We already have wonderful specimens of Graptophytum ilicifolium
Pandanus utilis

Red Edged Pandanus
Madagascar and Mauritius.

Sandy to rocky exposed slopes.

Upright, generally multi trunking with wide spreading head.

Grey brown trunk and round seed pods create a statement. Branching often uniform from main trunk
I believe that this may end up on our front embankment.
This small Fortunella japonica  (kumquat tree) has an abundance of dark orange fruit that is delicious eaten fresh or used in marmalades and jams. They make very ornamental tub specimens. Carl Peter Thunberg originally classified the kumquats as Citrus japonica in his 1784 book on Japanese Flora. In 1915, Walter T. Swingle reclassified them in a segregate genus, Fortunella, named in honor of Robert Fortune.
Viburnum suspensum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in).
It is hardy to zone 9. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in March. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Tea Rose. Mrs Canons Rose Woodford. Cream coloured Tea rose grown from cutting. The spirce plant apparently was brought to Woodford  from the Blackall Range more than 50 years previous to our tiny specimen.

Caryopteris x clandonensis ’Worcester Gold’ is a deciduous sub-shrub with a rounded, bushy habit. Its foliage is bright yellow and lanceolate with a simple margin. It bears clusters of small violet-blue, tubular flowers from late summer.

Anisodontea scabrosa The pink mallow is an evergreen perennial shrub; its size is variable but reaching heights of 2-3m. It has an upright branching habit with partially woody stems. 
 We have many cuttings grown plants ready to go in , waiting for rain including Pieris japonica, Cleome, Abelia grandiflora, Pachystachys lutea, Plectranthus argentus, Sambucus nigra, Solenostemon spp, Salvias and even hopefully Rothmannia.
 Lets see what the following summer will bring.
Michael Simpson

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Launch, "An Open Garden" and more new plantings

 Rose 'Buff Beauty' and 'Zepherine Drouhin' at 'The Shambles' Oct 2012
We are looking forward to our Book Launch evening at Rosetta Book Shop, Maleny on thursday 18th October. Being an evening start, 5 30-6 pm means coming straight from work for the occasion.
"An Open garden , and Visiting Gardens by Motor Car has been well received and there are only a few copies left available. attendees should contact Rosetta book shop at or by ringing 54352134 by Tuesday 16th. No one will be turned away however.
Today a scruffy area on our eastern boundary garden, near the side stairs had a makeover. A big clump of Agapanthus praecox was removed along with a bucket of mysterious corms and a large Dichorisandra Blue ginger lily. In this place were planted well established specimens of Rosa banksii alba, Rosa Bloomfield Abundance opposite a mature Rosa banksii lutea. Lavender (Lavandula stoechas), Rosmarinus officinalis, Thyme and Oregana in pots and Lemon grass were planted. Fennel made up the new planting in front of pre-existing Salvia madrense, Salva involucrata and Salvia 'Purple Majesty'.
Several pot bound pelargoniums were released into the ground around the fenced rose garden and potted specimens of the roses 'Julias Rose' and 'Harry Wheatcroft' were put into the North Rose gardens. A new specimen of the rose 'Sparieshoop' was also added, together with a cuttings grown rose 'Carabella' from Ron Treloar.
It is our  third month without significant rain but we still have a very green garden. We made some very promising cuttings from a magnificent Rothmannia globosa outside the stained-glass workshop in Post Office Rd. Mapleton. We also put in a cutting froma very mature double white Camellia outside the site of a long gone Montville Guesthouse.
Michael Simpson

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rosetta books launch, following our garden Party

 Garden Bed at the 'Plough Inn' waiting for the opening ribbon to be cut.
Be aware we have a book launch for "An Open Garden' at Rosseta Bookshop, 30 maple Street Maleny with wine and cheese at 5 30-6 pm Thursday 18th October, bookings essential for catering as follows:
Phone Rosetta Books 54352134
E Mail: 
Thankyou to all who attended our successful book launch, garden party and reopening of the Plough Inn on 22nd September..
Our new book "An Open Garden and Visiting Gardens by Motor Car" was taken home by many of our visitors.
The weather was fine, the garden was full of flowers, the wine flowed and we were grateful that so many visitors had come a long way to attend
As for the weather, it remain dry , now into the thord month and today the temperature will go over 30 degrees C. In spite of this the garden remian green and even newly acquired and planted specimens such as Viburnum suspensum, Hemizygia transvaalensis and the rose 'Sparieshoop' are doing well.
In the Uniting Church Garden in Montville Kyleigh and I added the rose 'Candy Stripe' as well a number of lavender Lavandula stoechus to boost those flowering there. We also put in Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita' for follow on mauve colour and Salvias such as Salvia elegans and 'Hot Lips'.
Just as at home the red hot doubkle Dahlia from Talgai Homestead is emerging. Working in public attracts attention and before we finished Loma and Rod Carter stopped by to give us Brunfelsia latifolia and yellow shrimp plant Belerophone guttata to add into the garden at the church.
Michael Simpson

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"An Open Garden" successful book launch

A beautiful fine spiring day and plenty of colour greeted guest for our book launch on 22nd september.
Kyleigh worked very hard to decorate our 6 x 9 meter shed for guest to sit in and table and chairs were borrowed for the occasion.
Margaret and Laurie Jeays help put the finishing touches on the "Plough Inn" which was prepared with a big purple ribbon and bow for the occasion and a plaque fixed withe the names of all those who helped us keep this building standing in the last 20 years.
Guests enjoyed afternoon tea, prepared by Kyleigh and later wine, beer and cheese platters at the "Plough Inn". The book "An Open Garden and Visiting Gardens by Motor Car" was lauched with great success and the day finished with dinner at a local restaurant for some stayers and players.
Thanks to Tom Moroney for MC duties and all of our friends and family who helped out.
Until next time

Friday, September 14, 2012

Book Launch in a Spring garden

 Western Path around the house "The Shambles"
In spite of nearly 2 months without rain the garden is green and mature shrubs and trees and bursting with colour. Brunfelsia latifolia and B. americana are in flower as is white may and the Wisteria. Epiphytic Orchids are flowering and in bud . The Eupatorium megalophyllum is covered in purple flowers. It seems that purple an white will be the colour theme for our garden party.
Party news 2 PM, 22/9/2012, "The Shambles" 85 Western Avenue , Montville
Book launch of "An Open garden and Visiting Gardens by Motor Car"
+ reopening of the renovated "Plough Inn"
New plants acquired in our recent trip to Warwick include Teuchrium frutescens, Abelia schumannii, Marsh mallow and White Broom.
We were given Tillandsia "Queens Tears" and a white unknown Bauhinea by Sue at Assmanshausen Winery.
New Marguerite Daisys and planting out of our own cuttings grown perennials including Hypericum and Cleome will fill in some gaps. Very few losses in spite of appalling dry conditions
Michael Simpson 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Launch and Garden Party Preparations.

Our book "An Open Garden and Visiting Gardens by Motor Car" is a limited edition (100 copies only) colourful exploration of the experience of opening a garden to the public. The whys, whens and hows of this will hopefully make interesting reading for anyone who has opened their own garden or enjoys visiting them.
It is a glossy grown ups picture book of beautiful gardens we have visited.
For those who buy the book for $60 (the cost of printing a hard cover in Australia) we will give a complimentary copy of our 224 page hard cover book "Over the Fence and Overlooked, Traditional Plants in Queenslands Gardening Heritage" and  copy of our 1.2 hour DVD "A Garden in the Rain". I'd say that was great value.
The garden is holding up beautifully in the dry weather. Not only has our "Plough Inn" been rescued and renovated but Ed Donlen is helping us put power and water on in our big shed after 20 years. We will empty this of old cars and use it for under cover seating during the book launch garden party.
 "Plough Inn" before and after
Roll on September
Michael Simpson

Blackall Range Horseless Carriage Club 20years.

The Blackall Range Horseless Carriage Club recently honoured Kyleigh and I as a couple from the original years (after 1992) who are still active in the club. Well, still active from time to time.
Members of the club graciously helped us with a big boundary cleanup before our Open garden in 2011, and help stabilize the "Plough Inn" before its renovation this year.
It has always been a wonderful social club to belong to with very catholic views on old cars. The lion shall lie down with the lamb, just as the Rolls Royce shall park with the Ford Prefect in the BRHCC
Michael Simpson

Garden Party Launch of "An Open Garden"

 Rhodomytus tomentosa at "The Shambles"
It is less than a month until our garden party to launch our book "An Open Garden, and Visiting Gardens by Motor Car". The Plough Inn is nearly ready for the grand reopening and it promises to be  great day.
At the launch of the "Open Gardens Australia" season at Nindooinbah last weekend, and while writing invitations to our own garden party I couldn't help but marvel at the extraordinary range of different types and themes of gardens which are open for the public through the scheme. I hope our book can convey something of the experience of opening to the public and illustrates the beauty of some of the laces which we have visited.
Locally, not a drop of rain for more than a month unfortunately. Two out of three tanks just about empty but thankfully the mature shrubs, trees and perennials at "The Shambles " show little sign of drying out.
New spring foliage is appearing on deciduous trees and shrubs such as Red cedar (Toona ciliata), Japanese Maple (Acer spp) ,Weigela florida, Persimmons (Diospiyros kaki), Hibiscus syriacus, Hihiscus mutabilis and on our flowering deciduous Magnolias. Our young Pomegranates "alba flore pleno" and "Andre le Roi"(Punica granatum) have lovely golden red new foliage.
August flowers are welcome on Magnolia soulangeana "Nigra", Kerria japonica flore pleno, Michelias, Abutilons, Salvias and Pentas, Solanum jasminoides, Jasminium polyanthum and the lovely Buddleja salvifolia and Osmanthus fragrans et al.
Spring buds and spot flowers are everywhere, for example Buddleja "Wattlebird", Eranthemum pulchelum, Erysum bicolor, Scuttelaria ventenatii, Rhododendron indica (Azalea), Pieris japonica, Spiraea cantoniensis, Eupatorium megalophyllum, Viburnum megalocephalum and many of our terrestrial orchids. The king orchid (Thelychiton speciosus) has several yellow sprays already.
Quite a few of our old roses have fat buds and foliage has remained healthy because of the dry weather. 
Everything is set for a great spring, the grass is still green and all of the spring budding promises a lovely display for our garden party on 22nd september. Just a little rain would really help. 
Michael Simpson

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Montville Gardens in winter

 Cooper wondering what the fuss is about with this garden
It's not really that cold in South East Queensland so our Montville garden has quite a lot of flower colour in July. Fully deciduous shrubs like Hibiscus mutabilis, Hibiscus syriacus and Chaenomeles (japonica) create a wintery feel. The red cedars (Toona ciliata), Japanese maple, various Weigela and Prunus are all bare by this time of year letting in light to shaded corners.
We don't get frosted so our large collections of tender and subtropical perennials and shrubs carry on undamaged. It has been wet this winter, on top of the previous two wet years so epiphytic ferns, orchids, lichens, mosses and fungi abound and new tree ferns and staghorn ferns are "popping up" throughout the garden.
Our young Magnolia x loebneri is producing star like flowers and reliable mature Camellia japonica are adding splashes of winter colour.
New plants this week are Weigela florida variegata in our Weigela collection in South East corner, and an advanced Punica granatum 'Andre le Roi' in our central shrubbery. We already have juvenile Punica granatum in the blue trellis garden but I think this new planting has a better chance.
We have just started to send invitations for our book launch and garden party to unveil "An Open garden, Visiting Gardens by Motor Car" for 22/9/2012.
I am still working on extensive revision and rewriting of "Australian Gardens Making History"
Lets hope all of our usually reliable spring shrubs and perennials are ready for the event
Michael Simpson

Saturday, June 30, 2012

An Open Garden, preparing the garden for a spring book launch

Rosa "Clair Matin"
Well "An Open garden & Visiting gardens by Motor car" is being printed and we have nominated saturday 22nd September , 2PM for as book launch and garden party here at "The Shambles". There will only be 100 copies of this hard cover book and we haven't formalized any invitation yet.
All sorts of routine winter pruning, plant feeding, cleaning beds of weeds etc occupied us today. After a cold wet week it was lovely fine mid winter weather.
We have planted some Violas, Pansies, Petunias and Dianthus. There is silverbeet, bokchoy and new peas on a frame. Vegetables and herbs are planted in with the flowers here. There were yet more mountains of prunings from various parts of the garden to add to our mulch mountains.
A large climbing tea rose, possibly a sport of "M Tillier" called "Lauren Emma" by Kate Stock who found it has been placed around our front covered gate. It may end up being a mislabelled "Souvenir de Mme Leonie Viennot" but I hope not.
We need to learn what to do with our tall bare winter Philadelphus coronarius and Abelia floribunda. 
Japanese maple has coloured beautifully but other usually bare winter trees and shrubs are holding their leaf. Yet another warm winter so far.
Michael Simpson

Sunday, June 10, 2012

An Open Garden, our new book is at the printers

Our new book "An Open Garden, & Visiting Gardens by Motor Car" is at the printers and will be launched shortly. It is a personal look at the experience and practical aspects of Opening a garden to the public. It is a grown ups picture book about visiting other beautiful gardens but has plenty for the serious gardener and garden historian. At 144 pages, hard cover and full colour we haven't held back on the books quality because if you write a gardening book it may as well be the brightest and most colourful it can be.

New plants added Winter 2012. At last we have added Justicia aurea and two new species/hybrid camellias, Camellia luhsiensis and Camellia lutchuensis x "Tinsie". An area which has been crowding in on the front path garden has bee pruned back and a group of Abutilon megapotamicum and various Abutilon x hybridum of  all varieties plants. We call it an Abutolinarea. Which sounds botanical if you say it quickly.

The roof and exterior walls and windows of the old "Plough Inn" are finished. Now we just have to ine the old building fior it to assume new usefulness at the north end of the garden.
Happy Days
Michael Simpson

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"The Shambles" Open Garden and garden changes

 Open Garden visitors to "The Shambles" Easter 2012

Fast Facts:  We have had beautiful autumnal weather since Easter
                   1056 paying visitors to our Open garden, including prepaid and children about 1200 in all
                   2 Plant stalls and Kate Stocks Heritage Roses Stall pretty much sold out
                   All the scones , tea and coffee sold out as well!
                   Lots of lovely visitors to talk to.
                   Special Thanks to Marnie Trask and volunteers from the Maleny garden Club
 All of our friends who created plant stalls and volunteered from the Hunchy Community Association.(raised $6000 approx)
Thankyou for Help from friends Tracy and Chris Collie, Ian Noble and our family Christina, Tyson, Eleanor and John.
The "Plough Inn" our old machinery shed has been falling down for 20 years. The leaky roof and repairs last year finally provoked action.  At time of writing it has a brand new gable roof and skillion over verandah. The floor has been ripped up and relaid and the old windows re-hung. With new guttering a 500 gallon tank has been set up. A few more windows and internal lining and the old joint will be set for another century.
The ploughs and machinery have been painted and repositioned.

Two large Cupressus glabra which shaded out the centre of the garden and made the area around the "Plough Inn" cold, wet and gloomy in Winter have been completely removed. Let there be light!
The fire pit has been moved to the space where these trees were and the whole area has been re-seeded with buffolo/kikuyu grass seed. The grass seed has successfully shot.

New plant species in the garden over the last month are
Variegated mondo, Stachytarphetea mutabilis, 
                              Stachytarpheta  (Porter weed)
                              Eutrochium purpureum (Joe Pye Weed), fenced rose garden
                              Aster novi-belgii white and mauve
                              Artemesia lactiflora, front path garden
                              Justicia guttata
                              Salvia microphylla "Pennys Smile", "Angel Wings", "Easter Bonnet"
                              Salvia amarissima, south rose garden
                              Salvia carnea,        south rose garden
                              Salvia curviflora    fenced rose garden
                              Salvia urica            south rose garden
                              New cultivars of Liriope, cordylline and specimens of Adiantum hispidulum 
The garden s full of flowers at the moment with the Gordonia axillaris, many Salvias, Strobilanthes and the Yellow flax in full display.
Two bus trips arriving on the Mothers day weekend to look at the garden so busy days carry on.

Michael Simpson

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Open Garden 'The Shambles' is ready

With so much preparation behind uswe had to take some time off in the last few days . The fine weather has seen fairly rapid drying out of the soil and the dramatic rains of recent times are forgotten. I'm not sure if the Gordonia axillaris will be in full flower for the weekend, probably not but there is colour in flowering perennials everywhere and the garden is green and lush.
Equipment is arriving aleady for setting up our various plant stalls and there have been really good articles in the April "Gardening Australia", local "Sunshine Coast Sunday", "Hinterland Times" and the "Range News". We have been told that the Open Garden was mentioned in Gympie and Nambour Newspapers and rated in the article "Ten Best Things to do Over Easter" in Brisbanes weekend Courier Mail.
Lat Sunday we went for a run in our Old Car with the car club which was a loveley day in fine weather. The next day we went to Noosa instead of preparing the Garden.
By this is , what it is.
Our Ford Prefect and the Glasshouse Mountains.
Michael Simpson

Monday, March 26, 2012

Easter Open garden Preparations

Cooper the Wonderdog wonders what all this Open garden fuss is about.

Following on from the heavy rain of previous weeks there has been a lot to do to sharpen the old place up for our Open garden. For the first time with our connection with Open gardens Australia we got a mention in the April "Gardening Australia" Magazine and have had good support from the local paper and local regional papers . We even scored a mention in the "ten best things to do" over Easter in the Saturday Courier mail Newspaper (24/3/2012).
Last time the sun came out I managed to spray all the roses with triforine which is probably necessary given the ceaseless wet and humid conditions. The garden throughout has had a liberal treatment with mushroom compost and a supplement of "Nitrophoska" and Sulphate of Potash.
Kyleigh and done all the edges by hand and we have been judiciously pruning and deadheading as we go.
Camellias are starting to flower all about with the earliest being Camellia sasanqua "Hiryu", "Beatrice Emily", "Edna Butler" and "Mignonne". If we are lucky the big Gordonia axillaris will be in flower showering the ground with big white flowers with yellow stamens like fried eggs.
There are many perennials flowering. plectranthus ecklonnii is just about finishing but Strobilanthes cusia (darwin Bells) in pink and Plectranthus saccatus in blue are just about to colour up the shade.
The old fashioned roses have been flowering all along. I hope at easter "White Pet", "Perl des Jardins", "Proffesseur Graniviat", "Beauty of Glenhurst", "Comptesse de labarthe", "Rosette delizy" and "Mutabilis" will have plenty left over for display.
We are still planting. We were lucky enough to replace our lost Clitoria ternatea with both vines of blue and white flowers at the Glasshouse Nursery on Steve Irwin Way. This was a real find.
Our friend Martin Leonard helped put the final Giant Clam Shell touches on our rustic fountain of coral, shell and ferns, which is a celebration of 19th century gardening fashion.
I've just come in from paintning some "Open Garden Easter" signs for the front hedge.
Hope to see you there
Michael Simpson

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Open Gardens Preparation and New Interests

Picture: Old fashioned Rose "Cousin Essie" for an Old fashion house

Heavy rain persists this week and has made us worried about the waether for our Easter open garden only 3 weeks away. We have the base for the expanded "Rustic Fountain" of coral under tarps before it can be finished and gaint clam sheels mounted.
At least new plantings of Angelonia, Dahlia, Lettuce and Parsley will take off. We added a new red cultivar Abutilon near the gatehouse and brought in yet more ferns.
Heavy rain has reminded me to think a lot more about the marvellous variety of fern genus in the garden and how little I know about them.
We have reorganized out tumble down fernery to set out different ferns although there is a wide selection throughout the garden and especially pretty around the coral "Rustic Fountain".
I have reorganized our plant inventory published in our website to include a section just for ferns and intend to learn a lot more about them before moving on to mosses, lichens and fungi. The following is an inventory of sorts.

FERNS at "The Shambles"

Ferns being neither gymnosperms nor angiosperms are a unique and ancient form of vascular plant. They do not flower or set seed but propagate by producing spores or by spreading rhizomes. Their reliance on spores also requires moist conditions and our recent wet years have encouraged new ferns to appear on many tree trunks, stone walls and other cool south facing positions. There are thousands of different ferns and many of ours have been acquired without identifications. Collecting ferns was a popular thing to do in early Queensland gardens. Our ferns are distributed throughout the garden but also collected together in our own 'Fernery and Fungery'. Pictorial references for identification,

Adiantum aesthiopicum (common maiden hair fern) this delightful low growing fern does require moisture to look its best. There are a great many species of maiden hair about 200 in fact plus Adiantum cultivars available. ? syn. Adiantum atroviride (Maiden hair fern)

Adiantum hispidulum (Rough Maidenhair) longer staight fronds Eastern Australia.

Adiantum silvaticum Eastern Australia

Adiantum peruvianum Maidenhair with much larger leaflets , new ones on red-bronze Central America

Asplenium australasicum (birds nest fern) Dramatic long leaf blades, very successful as epiphyte and in ground under trees throughout most gardens where there is adequate leaf litter and ground moisture. Australia

Blechnum gibbum (Silver lady fern) Fiji, New Caledonia

Calochaena dubia (Mountain Bracken fern) appears spontaneously in our garden in summer. North Eastern Australia

Cyathea brownii (Norfolk Island Tree fern)

Cyathea cooperi (common tree fern) An iconic tall fern of warm climate gardens.These are sensitive to drying out during hot dry weather and favaour a shady positions Australia

Cyrtomium falcatum syn. Phanerophlebia spp (Holly Fern)

Davallia fejeensis (Fijian Hares foot fern) Very finely divided leaflets on long cascading fronds. Fiji

Davallia pyxidata (hares foot fern) Epiphytic fern which produces ‘hares foot’ rhizome or stem below the crown

Doodia aspera (Prickley rasp fern) Attractive new reddish fronds. Australia

Microsorum pustulatum (Kangaroo fern) Native to Australia and New Zealand

Microsorum crocodyllus (Crocodile fern) Long fronds like Asplenium but tesselated in texture. South East Asia and New Guinea

Nephrolepis cordifolia (common fish bone fern) A common shade and dry tolerant fern. Does have weed potential. America 30 species known such as Sword fern and Boston fern. 3 distinct forms are very hardy in our garden.

Pellaea rotundifolia (Button fern) New Zealand

Phyllitis scolopendrium syn. Asplenium scolopendrium (Harts tongue)

Platycerium bifurcatum (Elkhorn) large epiphytic fern with shield which adheres to tree trunks or walls Australia

Platycerium superbum (Stag horn) Large epiphytic fern with shield which adheres to trees . Spectaular high in trees or understory fern Australia

Polypodium aurium syn. Phlebodium (75 species) Central and South America

Polystichum tsus-sinense ?Polystichum retroso (Shield fern)

Pteris cretica cultivar albo-lineata (Brake fern) attractive tall stem with fronds variegated with a cream-yellow central line of colour.

Pteris cretica cv. mayii (Brake fern) larger leaflets more crested than above

Pteris enformis cv.Victoriae (Brake fern) long narrow leaflets , longitudinal and banded with lighter-cream colour

Pyrrosia rupestris epiphytic linear leaflets on tree trucks or stone (Rock Felt fern)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Open Gardens, not all Scones and Roses

We spent a whole day going around primping and preening gardens which on the face of it seem only to have just been done. Kyleigh worked with the pole hedge trimmer while I stumbled around with my shears. We fixed an ornamental pump head, repaired and painted the letter box and even used some remnant paint to paint an outdoor table top.
Many ornamental shrubs and perennials such as Plectranthus saccatus, Plectranthus exklonii (white, pink and blue) and summer plants such as Dahlias are flowering well.
The rain has continued intermittently so moisture loving plants such as Coleus (Solenostemnon spp), Ruellia repens and epiphytes such as the many Dendrobium spp, Cymbidium spp, Oncidium Spp orchids and various ferns are looking well.
Even the Caladium spp which resents dry weather is in appearence. Roses and Camellias are covered in bud and all is on track for our Open garden organization visitors on Thurday morning
Michael Simpson

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Open Garden Montville again

Photo: Plectranthus ditectly on the scanner plate.

With a few weeks left until Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday and our Open garden event at "The Shambles"everything is going well for a lovely event. (details at )
The weather controls a great deal of what our visitors will see and so far the sunny days are evenly balanced with showers and the odd storm so the garden remains fresh and our buffalo grass (not really a lawn) is thick and green.
All the old fashioned roses had both a dressing of potassium sulphate and a spray with triforine. That and a long dead-head , a demi-prune has seen them right for a display around the Easter time.
The Gardenia jasminoides of various types had quite a severe trim along our North east boundary hedge so I hope they thicken up with the rest of summer. Many other young plants are establishing quickly. In flower just now Phaseolus giganteus, Phaseolus caracala (our snail creepers). Ipomoea horsfallii (Cardinal Creeper), Quisqualis indica (Rangoon Creeper) and of course our honeysuckle.

Some silly Camellia sasanqua are coming into bud but also spotting flowers and we are not usually bothered with disbudding Camellias.
The cuttings grown perennials for our plants stall are all very well established as is our growing collection of ferns of all sorts which thus far I have failed to identify
Michael Simpson

Sunday, January 15, 2012

garden visitors in 2012

photo: "The Shambles" south rose garden

Christmas and family birthdays are just behind us and bus visits to our garden, arranged last year are looming. The benign weather, continual grooming and a deliberate strategy of putting plants into empty spaces has our garden looking the best it has for a while.

We have to keep on our toes not just to have a display for visitors in January but because of our Open Garden Australia opening at Easter , Saturday, Sunday and monday 7th-9th April this year.
A little stroll today identified flowers on just about everything in the long narrow East garden. At one end is an arch with mauve flowering Phaseolus caracalla and at the other an arch of flowering Phaseolus giganteus and a climbing frangipani not ready to display. Old fashioned roses, Salvias, Abutilon and Cannas are in flower along with Eryisum bicolor (wallflower), Mirabilis jalapa (4 O'Clock plant), a very late flowering Quisqualis indica and a big tall clump of Crinum x powellii.
At the south east stone circle garden and walkways along with Hydrangea there are both blue and pink flowering Plectranthus ecklonii and a great crowding in of fresh green growth on our species Camellias, Spiraea, Clerodendrum nutans, Thunbergia erecta and white flowering Orthosiphon stamineus
Never being shy of a challenge we planted three Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood Gold' interspersed with single pink and mauve Azaleas along under the cool south side of the house. Colour madness you might say! We shall see what the result is next spring or perhaps the one after. We also planted Deutzia gracilis in and around a garden which is already too busy with Spiraea and white species Camellias and the odd young Pliladelphus mexicanus ? coronarius.
Lastly near the stone circle we planted a tiny Kolwitzia amabilis "Pink Cloud' where we can keep an eye on its early life.
Elsewhere in our busy garden old fashioned roses of all sorts are coverd in bud and bloom, the Agapanthus are just at the end and Hibiscus syriacus of several coloyrs are still flowering.

And so this friday and the following week bus trips are bringing visitors to the garden for an hour or two and we feel that there is quite a lot of colour and interest to see for all tastes. Along with plants mentioned above there is lots of other perennial colour and in our forested areas and tropical foliage plant areas the rain and humidity have interesting new growth on plants which don't normally flower at this time of year. Brugmansias, Iochromas, Cetrodenia, Ipmoea carnea, Bauhinea corymbosa and Lagerstroemia speciosa/ Lagerstroemia indica and in display.
Its raining tonight again but we hope that there some moments of sunshine for our visitors
Michael Simpson