Thursday, September 21, 2017

Next meeting Saturday 23 September 2017

This Saturday (23 Sept, 8pm) is our next meeting / A.G.M. We’re very excited to have Stephen Ryan ( speaking on the night about his travels in Italy. There’s always a good attendance when Stephen is the guest speaker because he’s entertaining and knowledgeable. This is a meeting not to be missed! We’ll also be taking a vote on changing our constitution / rules but that shouldn’t take up much of the meeting. If you haven't been to our meetings before this will be the perfect opportunity. Come and say hello to me - I'll have my name tag on. 


Spring is here and it should be a good show bench this Saturday as well. Below are some signs of spring.

Nacissus 'Mitimoto'

The Narcissus above (flowering in the Ferny Creek garden) was one of the bulbs that has been offered to members in a previous plant swap (called the "Bunfight"). Every December members bring excess plants to swap with other members. You can pick up some amazing plants. It's one of the highlights of our year - membership has it's benefits! You won't regret it.

Scilla melania

This scilla  is another example of bulbs that have been available at previous bunfights.

Babiana villosa

I might be able to bring some spare corms of Babian villosa to the next bunfight. It's a beautiful flower that just shines on a sunny spring day. 

Iris suaveolens

I love small flowers and as you can see from the coin next to these irises they're tiny! They flowered mid winter as well which was a bit strange, but appreciated. Frost hasn't bothered them and unlike Iris Pumila the snails don't seem to like them. Click on the photo to enlarge for more detail. Highly recommended.

Muscari armeniacum ex Gul

Although this Muscari doesn't have the strong pink of its parent, it flowers profusely for me so I'm happy with it.

Thalictrum orientale

This delicate little Thalictrum is an absolute gem.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Spring has come.

 Corydalis wilsonii easy in the glass house but not suitable for the garden up here, its too cold and does not like our wet weather, but seeds around the glass house gently so there are always some new plants coming up. China, blue foliage.

Lachenalia contaminate from New Zealand seed 2012 forms a strong clump quite quickly, very upright.

Pulmonaria Beth Chato

Scoliopus bigelovii California in redwood forests and moist shaded slopes, quite easy in woodland conditions, its leaf is quite interesting with its maroon-brown spots and markings.

Ranunculus calandrinioides 10-15 cm high, glaucous leaves with wavy margins, flowering late winter early spring, a soft pink tinge to the flowers. Can be grown in a protected position in the garden, but nice to have a pot in the glass house too. Not long lived for me so I need to keep sowing my seed. From the Atlas Mountains on rocky slopes Morocco.

Epimedium ogisui from Jill without a label she was not sure what it was and would I like it, what a silly question to ask a plantaholic, big pure white flowers, and dark new bronze foliage. A gorgeous plant for the woodland and the first Epimedium to flower for me.

The next three Epimedium photos are from David Kennedy of Clover Hill Nursery. These are new one's that I do not think have made his plant list yet, so you may have to wait awhile. Epimedium Wayside Ruby.

 Epimedium Custard and Cream, one of Davids own crosses with bronze, spiny new leaves.

Epimedium Chocolatte.

Iris reticulata Natasha from Marcus Harvey.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

More from Marg

Trillium rivale Purple Heart has opened up.

Chionodoxa sardensis is looking splendid.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Canberra is certainly blooming.

More photo's from Darien and Col from their garden in Camberra Colin writes they still haven't had any rain, I think we are getting all the rain here, their garden is looking very healthy regardless.

Crocus tommasinianus Ruby Giant

Erythronium ' Pagoda' a hybrid between E.tuolumnense and one of the white flowering species.

Pulsatilla unknown those pesky blackbirds, I wonder where they take all those labels.

Trillium chloropetalum, Colin tells me they have their first Trillium luteum coming into flower as well, I hope he takes a photo of that.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Fermi mentioned to me the other day that he had waited 9 years for a little bulb to flower from seed.
It takes such patience to grow plants from seed, we and our founding members were and are very good at it in Australia. It is part of our rules that we have to belong to an overseas group with a seed exchange, to improve the amount of plants and bulbs that we are growing here, because importing is so expensive. Not to buy the plants, we can all do that, it is the expenses of fumigation, inspections the couriers moving the plants from one place to another and then there is the quarantine fees for looking after the plants for 3-6 months until they are inspected again and then may be released, and oh I forgot the import permit. It is so important to keep doing the 10 page weed risk assessment for BICON so that all the new little bulbs and plants that are discovered and botanised can be allowed into Australia even if it does take 3-4 years to go on the approved list, once they are done it is unusual for Bicon to remove them. Of course it does not cover the hybrids, the beautiful little Saxifraga's and many more, that we will probably never see in Australia as they all still have to be imported, but species, we can raise from seed. Many of us buy seed from the collectors, seed seller's and botanic gardens to extend our range of plants.

This is from Fermi "this little bulb called Hyacintella nervosa comes from semi-desert area from Turkey to Jordan. I grew if from seed from Turkey which in turn I got from the Gothenburg Botanic Garden in Sweden in 2008, but it did not germinate until 2009. It looks like something that might be suitable for the crevice garden" and indeed Fermi its gorgeous.

Marg's Spring Garden

Cyclamen persicum 2 or 3 corms in a large terracotta pot.

Trillium chloropetalum above and below. Marg started out with one shoot 4 years ago now she has 4 noses coming up and is very excited at how plants that are difficult to grow in the suburbs are growing so well for her. But as you can see, a lot work has gone into this soil over the last 4 years, large amounts of compost has been worked into the soil, sheep manure, beech leaves and pine needle duff has been spread around the Trilliums especially.
When E Gay Henderson from New Zealand came over to speak to us about growing Trilliums, she advocated to us about how important pine needle duff, the older the better, is to growing good Trilliums, and it certainly is working here in Marg's garden.

 Trillium rivale Purple Heart from Archibald seed, but as you can see doing extremely well for Marg in her beautifully prepared soil, not flowering fully yet but you can see what is going to open in the next week.

The Erythroniums and Anemones are growing like radishes so very happy.

Soldanella montana growing in a Hypertufa trough.

Saxifraga Minutifolia in a hypertufa trough.

Muscari chalusicum from Kirt Vickery seed.

Sedum palmeri from Marg T. in a large pot.

Monday, September 4, 2017


 The second stage of the woodland is coming alive,  Helleborus have been out for some time now, along with the Galanthus it is the Erythroniums, Epimediums and Trilliums to set the stage and you need fillers to set the scene around them. The fillers take a while to make a woodland look good, you need plants to start seeding around, and making large clumps, and that takes time. Plenty of mulch helps to keep the ground moist in summer. Above Brunnera macrophylla Betty Bowring approx 60cm high by approx same width is our first filler, and gently seeds around. From the Caucasus.

Brunnera macrophylla Langtrees has silvery-grey marks on it leaves from  Dr Rogerson's garden in Devon called 'Langtrees'.

Omphalodes cappadocica seeds around a little too vigorously but is easily removed, and a beautiful blue.
One Omphalodes to try and get seed of, is the rare Omphalodes luciliae which I have grown and flowered and all to briefly it left me. Most times the seed is named incorrectly but some of the specialist seed places may offer it from time to time, with its green-grey foliage and Ice blue flowers exquisite. It is from Greece and Spain and should do well, I would grow it in the garden next time and not in a pot as I think it would do better.

Omphalodes cappadocica Starry Eyes, does not alway come true from seed it sometimes reverts back to its parent Omphalodes cappadocica. Antique Perennials have bought in a few new varieties of Omphalodes, Omphalodes 'Cherry Ingram' is one being done by tissue culture, so you need to keep your eyes open when shopping at your nursery for the new varieties to Australia.

Omphalodes verna blue flowers, good ground cover.

Omphalodes verna alba slow to multiply in this garden, web photo.

Corydalis cheilanthifolia from China I thought I would have to try and raise this Corydalis from seed again, almost an impossibility as the seed needs to be kept moist. There is a large Garden near me called Tindale Gardens and they have a plant stall day, by the friends once a year, and there was one small plant of Corydalis cheilanthifolia. It has unmistakable foliage almost like a fern and gets a bronzy look to the foliage during the year.  I lost all of my plants in the drought, but now there are a few new seedlings flowering.

Pachyphragma macrophylla I first read about this plant in The Green Tapestry by Beth Chatto and she writes "When the drifts of snowdrops are fading Pachyphragma macrophylla gives the effect of further snow patches beneath the still-bare trees" thats what I would like to create, still a way off. From the Caucasus and northeastern Turkey. It sets good seed and is spreading around gently. I know some of these plants are easy to grow and I can hear the poo! poo! from here, but you do need to have some easy plants in your garden, otherwise you would just give up gardening altogether.