Thursday, 30 April 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.

Wednesday, 15 April 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, 9 April 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.