Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The lovely Cats whiskers;

Orthosiphon aristatus
Cat’s Whiskers is a tall, slender evergreen perennial growing up to 1.5 meters including the flower stalks. The spread is variable at 30 to 90cm per plant depending on home garden conditions. 
The flowers range from white through to light mauve or pink. 
 The ‘whiskers’ or stamens extend outwards up to twice as long as the flower itself, giving the impression of cat’s whiskers. Cat’s Whiskers flowers from late summer to autumn and is considered to be a bee, bird and butterfly attractant. 

The scientific name ‘orthosiphon’ refers to the upright tube shape of the flower and ‘aristatus’ means ‘with ears’. This plant is native to some tropical regions of Australia and South East Asia, spreading to East India, Indo China and Indonesia. 

Cat’s Whiskers is a fast growing plant that should do well in most gardens. It comes from a tropical climate, so replicating this environment with rich soil and good water supply will result in a healthy plant. Orthosiphon aristatus requires moist soil and it is best not to let the soil dry out too much. 
Most recommendations say it requires full sun, but this is not with the heat of Australian sunshine in mind. The plant will often wilt simply from the heat, so it is worth trying part shade or a few different places to see where it grows best. 

Pruning back flower stalks leads to improved performance the following year. It is easily propagated and may root in water or soil if left lying on the ground. Propagation is by soft wood cuttings or seed pods can be collected and dried in a paper bag for planting

I grow mine in a half shaded area together with this soft yellow Tecoma. They look very nice together  as they flower at the same time. The yellow colour from this Tecoma is not overpowering meets up and blends well with the soft mauve shade of the cats Whiskers. 

It is believed it has many medicinal uses, as its healing  history indicates. It is considered to be anti-hypertensive, diuretic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory. 
O. aristatus contains the diterpenes orthosphol and orthosiphon, as well as saponins, rosmarinic acid and lipophilic flavonoids. 

Excerpts from Mudbrick cottage, Herbfarm

Cats Whiskers

An old proverb claims, a cat has nine lives. For three he plays. For three he strays, for the last three he stays. 

Believe it or not;
Cats do not have nine lives, it is nothing but a popular myth, a legend.

©Photos/ Text Ts  my garden, Lavender & Vanilla

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cosmos a beloved flower;

I don’t know what attracts me so much to this radiant pink gem,  is it  its golden yellow heart that winks and beckons when I visit the garden? Or is it the smooth petals arranged in a perfect circle, turning this and that way in a rush of pink silk.  Her greeting is intense and vies for attention and this must be enough for  adoration. Ts

Cosmos  is loved for its beauty and it fragrance.  It is originated from Mexico. Cosmos is a  herbaceous, perennial flowering plant. A variety of colors, white, pink, orange, yellow, and scarlet are available. The flowers can be  single or double-coloured. Its leaves are pinnate or bi-pinnate. In my garden cosmos grows from 50cm to 1.00 meters tall.
In Greek,  cosmos means  universe, orderly, beautiful, and ornamental. It has been considered as the flower of love for its fragrance and  vibrant looks.

Here in the subtropics Cosmos flowers all summer long if it’s spend flowers are deadheaded. Some  should be let to seed for next summer’s flowers.

Growing Cosmos flowers
Sow the cosmos seeds in early spring.
Spread the cosmos seeds over freshly turned bare soil.
Press the seed into the dirt, and do not cover the seed.
Cosmos seeds germinate quickly.
Most of the Cosmos varieties are annuals.
Cosmos flower plants are drought tolerant but water Cosmos plants during long dry spells.

Garden fairies come at dawn. Bless the flowers then they're gone.

Old florists never die, they just make other arrangements.

Tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes. (William Wordsworth)

Believe it or not:
follow the link below and you can reach Cosmos Heaven.

© Photos and some text Ts Lavender & Vanilla.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Good bye Summer; welcome autumn;

Summer.. no, summer is never short here, its promises of hot sultry days, veiled skies on early mornings  are always fulfilled, as common as no rain for many month. Summer is sweet and harsh at the same time, it has no rules and reaches into autumn with its last humid, sweltering days. Summer   has been.Ts

December, January, February;
Christmas lillies, Coffee bush  flowers, Honeydew Melons, and sweet Buddleia are summer treats.

Summer carries a lightness infused with scents of sunshine and storms, clouds and  lots of light, so much light we only see in summer. Ts

...and grand sunrises..

Red Roses; Sage from the herb garden and homemade Pumpkin gnocchi, oh summer how sweet you were!

Summer, it sounds so musical, so warm and flowery, what would we do if there were not one summer more? Ts

Watching the rain clouds with anticipation; please let it, tomorrow and more...

 daylilies, china roses, all putting on a pretty good show...

The green of summer is not quiet, it is full of the shrieks of the cicadas.Ts

Christmas came and went...

..the blue banded bee, a welcome summer visitor busy checking out the Pickerell flowers.. delicate fungi grew after the rain; all in all a good summer; very hot and humid but that is what summer is all about in the subtropics.

Departing summer hath assumed
 An aspect tenderly illumed,
 The gentlest look of spring;
 That calls from yonder leafy shade
 Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
 A timely carolling.

 -  William Wordsworth, 

...then March arrived
with full baskets
Pommegranate, Mangoes, Persimmons, and Basil to make Pesto.

.... early flowering bulbs of cottage Gladioli  Dahlia Salvia and many more create a riot of colours in the Butterfly garden.

The new "orange corner" is a good place to observe the comings and goings on the pond.

Believe it or not:
today it's very windy, rainy and the temperature has plunged to 21 C; it is 6:30 AM 
Saturday, 14/03/2015

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hoya carnosa in the home garden;

Hoya carnosa, the wax plant, is an Asclepiad species in the dogbane family (Apocynaceae). It is one of the many species of Hoya that are native to Australia.  Here it grows in my garden, doing what it is doing best scrambling up a tree.

The flowers are light pink, but may be from near-white to dark pink; they are star-shaped, and are borne in clusters that look like tiny wax miniatures. 

The surface of the flowers are covered in tiny hairs giving a fuzzy sheen to them. They are scented and produce  nectar that drips from the flowers. 

Hoyas flower from specialized perennial structures referred to as spurs,  from the axils of the leaves and stem. Each season new flowers are produced on these same spurs, so they should not be removed.

H. carnosa has been in cultivation for more than 200 years and has given rise to many cultivars that vary in foliage form or flower color.

Studies have shown, Hoya carnosa  works as an excellent remover of pollutants  in an indoor environment.

©Photos Lavender & Vanilla Ts./My garden.