Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ode to a cabbage;

The Kitchen garden;

I, the best ever cook, with a degree in coleslaw making, my secret with a dash of this and a pinch of that, a drop or two of a sun kissed lemon, a few snips of the greenest chives, the best olive oil ever produced, triple virgin… knife in hand went up to the kitchen garden. There in all its cabbage glory, filled to the brim with chlorophyll. Leaves crisp, folded sweetly into each other holding tight, the last of the last; nearly a crime to cut it, stands, ready, waiting.  No, not yet, tomorrow will be the day.
Tomorrow was to late, the last of the last was last, sunken in itself, shredded leaves, half eaten, its glory gone for ever not as supposed in the best ever coleslaw way, but roughly devoured by some other creature, without the blessings of  garlic chives, sweet balsamic, and the touch of a spoonful of   Dijonaise. Sigh…

soups...glorious soups, cooking is fun.

©Photos mygarden/Text Ts/ Lavender & Vanilla

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The beauty of old Roses, a winter's tale;

Old china rose Irene Watts can quickly become a favourite.

 Everything about this rose is lovely. Its double, luscious pink blooms fading to a soft ivory, a fine fragrance, dwarf, twiggy growth with healthy foliage, double, pale pink flowers with deeper centers and a pleasant fragrance. Fairly dwarf and hardy,  disease resistant. Continuously flowering, nearly thornless, Breeder  Guillot, 1896.

Roses must be fragrant.  Ts

China Rose Old Blush

Rosa 'Old Blush', derived from Rosa chinensis, and is generally accepted as the first East Asian rose cultivar to reach Europe. It is recorded in Denmark in 1752 and England in 1793, but was probably cultivated in China for several centuries'Old Blush' has light silvery pink semi-double flowers of medium size. They have a nice   fragrance, The red buds appear in clusters almost continuously, here in the subtropics  throughout the year, and can develop to small, red rose hips.
The shrub has an arching from, few prickles and mid-green leaves that have a crimson colour when young. It grows 100 to 150 centimetres tall and about 90 to 120 centimetres wide,tolerates half shade,  and poor soils.

A rose as beautiful as it might be, without scent  is dead,  just colour and matter, no heart nor soul. Ts

Perle d’Or
Rosa 'Perle d'Or a cultivar bred by Joseph Rambaux in 1875 and introduced by Francis Dubreuil in France in 1883. Its parents were a double-flowered R.  multiflora seedling and the tea rose 'Madame Falcot' (Guillot 1858). It is sometimes considered to be a china rose and sometimes considered a polyanthus.

Small shrub, height and with 1.2m

Successive flushes of bloom spring, summer, autumn and winter. Lovely 
Water to establish and then very drought tolerant. Will not tolerate being watered too often. 

Perle d’Or (pearl of gold) is a highly regarded old garden rose that is well suited to many growing conditions even alkaline clay soil and hot dry weather. It blooms from spring until fall replacing spent flowers quickly with new flushes of bloom. 

Feelings are fragile like the petal of a rose, easily bruised, unable to recover, curl up and die. Ts

Crépuscule is a reliable, strong rose bred by Francis Dubreuil in France in 1904. It is classified as a Noisette, one of the Old Garden Roses.

Flowering throughout the season in decorative small clusters, Crépuscule creates a beautiful rose display with intense, sweet, musk Old Rose fragrance.

Crépuscule can grow into a very large tall shrub rose up to 4m high and 2 to 4m wide. It is also capable of a semi-climbing habit and can be trained against a trellis or along a fence. 
Quick to repeat flower, richly fragrant and very disease resistant;  a wonderfully easy to grow rose in the garden.

Sophie's Perpetual
China. Beautifully shaped, fragrant, double silver and pink cupped flowers adorn this old rose of unknown origin. If left unpruned it will climb, otherwise it will grow into a medium-sized shrub.
Pleasant fragrance 
Height: Medium: 90–120cm 

  in June you can smell roses in the sunshine.Ts

Monsieur Tillier

a large, upright shrub bears flowers that are a mixture of pale rose, salmon and purple. Fully open flowers of Monsieur Tillier are compact and attractive, flat and very double with petals that are often imbricated. Its unique fragrance is rich and spicy.

A favourite rose in my garden since many years.

Apricot Nectar
The Apricot Nectar Rose, is a very fragrant,and quite beautiful
 Floribunda rose. 
These Floribunda roses have been a favorite for over 30 years.
giving you lots of roses for the vase. This is a nice rose for growing in the back of the garden. 

Hybridizer Boerner 1965 
 Growth Habits  Plant is vigorous, upright and bushy,  up to 1.5 m

Bred by Francis Meilland (France, 1951). 

Iceberg a firm favourite for the subtropics. Flushes of flowers throughout the year after pruning off the spend blooms. 

Believe it or not:

The world would be a desolate place without a flower.

©Photos my garden/Text Ts Lavender & Vanilla

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The ever popular Petunia.

Poetry, music, paintings even architecture declares no life can be successfully happy without a garden or at least a plant to care for. Plants and flowers, a garden might not be paradise but very near to it. Ts

Most varieties prefer full sun, here in the sub-tropics they do best  growing and flowering from early autumn over winter into spring, as heat can stop Petunias from setting flowers. 

Repeat blooming  throughout the growing period, some need  deadheading and later pruning back to get another flush of flowers.  Many will reseed generally in some pots standing nearby.

Although petunias like cool weather, they are not frost tolerant.

When planting, pinch the seedling back to encourage more branching and a fuller plant. If the seedling has gotten gangly, you can pinch back by half.

Petunias will tolerate a range of soil pH. They don’t like to be dry for long periods, but they also don’t like wet feet.

Older varieties of petunias require diligent deadheading or they will stop blooming. 
Even the newer varieties that say they don’t require deadheading will benefit from a pinching or shearing mid-season. When the branches start to get long and you can see where all the previous flowers were along the stem, it’s time to cut them back and refresh the plant.

Monthly feeding or foliage feeding will give your petunias the energy to stay in bloom. But be judicious with water and make sure the soil is well drained. Too much water will cause the plants to become ‘leggy’, with lots of stem and few flowers.

Petunias are usually carefree growers.
Because of their profuse blooms, petunias are excellent in hanging baskets, either alone or as a trailing plant in a mixed planting. Containers of petunias can be placed in strategic areas of the garden, to add color where needed.

Suggested Varieties: New petunia varieties come out every year, making older varieties obsolete, but hear are some particular nice ones.
’Blue Spark’ Cascadia - Trailing violet flowers with a sweet scent.
‘Supertunia Silver’ - White with lavender throat and veins. Good weather tolerance and very floriferous.
‘Prism Sunshine’  buttery yellow grandiflora sized flowers with multiflora weather tolerance. Can be grown from seed.  

 Gardens and flowers belong together, they are kin from all beginnings. Ts

Believe it or not:
“Gardens and chocolate both have mystical qualities.”
Edward Flaherty

©Photos my garden/Text and quotes Ts Lavender & Vanilla

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Along the drive way; Bird-Butterfly and Bee Garden.

The B&B&B garden, (Bird, Butterfly and Bee Garden) comes along nicely. The upper parts are looking splendid now, with well established plants. Further down it needs just more time for the cuttings and root divisions to establish themselves. Over winter won't be much movement in growth, but come spring, hopefully with some rain, the plants I have chosen will grow quickly and cover the area. Partly it might be a bit shadier then further up. Winter casts long shades from a  huge, old,  Araucaria Cunninghamii. Ts

Tropical Salvias play a big part in my garden to attract the three Bs

A garden’s interest is kept alive by constant imaginations. Ts

Lovely, dwarf dahlia plants are bought in Punnets as seedlings and keep going for many years, sometimes seeding and mutate new shades.

The very beautiful, tough Salvia 'Anthony Parker', I am making many cuttings for next spring. 

Making a garden relies completely on optimism, most of the time optimism succeeds  over experience. Ts

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, 
always enterprising, and never satisfied.  They always look forward to doing 
something better than they have ever done before.
- Vita Sackville-West, 1892 - 1962

This plant is  called 'dwarf Jacaranda' actually it has nothing to do with a Jacaranda, probably just because of the Jacaranda colour. I have never found its real name. I received this plant 40 years ago from a friend long passed away since, when I lived near Grafton, also called the Jacaranda city, in  Northern NSW. This plant is a perennial up to 50 cm in height, quite drought resistant.

Single, dwarf Dahlia has a special charm.

From  a Gardener’s dictionary;
Garden: One of a vast number of free outdoor restaurants operated by
charity-minded amateurs in an effort to provide healthful, balanced
meals for insects, birds and animals.

The hub of the three Bs

Plectranthus madagascariensis variegatus

Pink Abutilon 

Dwarf Canna grown from seed resulted in this nice hybrid.

Barleria cristata; drought resistant, hardy and reliable; not invasive like some of its sisters.

My all time favouite from its silvery leaves to the subtle beauty of its flowers. Beloved by Blue banded- and Teddybear bees. A tough, wonderful plant, I love it to bits!

A Zebra blue feeding on the blue flowers of  Plectranthus argentus.

 (Leptotes plinius)
 The Zebra Blue Butterfly is a small brownish and blue-grey butterfly. The underside is a marbled brown and white pattern. 
They like open woodland where they feed on native plants. They are most often seen in gardens around Plumbago plants or other blue flowering plants.
buds and flowers of Plumbago plant
eastern Queensland and New South Wales

The garden's own perfumer, the tough and pretty native Murraya paniculata.

Around the bend, driveway garden in progress; there is a Camellia sasanqua, a tall, tropical Salvia, yellow flowers, Salvia madrensies plus man other bulbs and perennials. The red flowering plant is a pineapple Salvia. Tall grasses are also incorporated, as small birds like to feast on the seeds.

Open seedpod of Coast Banksia.

Hibiscus welcomes you at the entrance of the wild garden to go and  explore.

Left side of the drive way is in progress, planted with different perennials and bulbs. All plants here must be quite drought resistant as it can get very dry in spring, and I do not have the time to water them all the time. They are only watered when they really need it and can not cope any more.

This was a tough area to establish with plants, because of this very big Araucaria who sucks all the water and nutrients away. With time and patience I could establish a pretty hardy border.
Agaves, Bromeliads which provide a great show when they are producing their deep red colour and in spring Agapanthus flowers. Now this place is getting fertilized by the bunches of needle like leaves  this  tree  showers on the plants.

Believe it or not:
A passion for gardening may be ravenous, hungry for more and more,  it is certainly not something to be dismissed lightly once your heart and soul is given to this wonderful botanical world. Ts

©Ts Lavender&Vanilla Photos/text and quotes.