Monday, March 5, 2018

A very dry Autumn 

We have had a very dry Autumn here in Victoria none the less the bulbs have not turned a hair.
They are loving the Summer warmth and flowering well. An Australian native, Blandfordia grandiflora above flowering now and does not like to be dried out. Very similar to Blandfordia punicea which I prefer as it is much dwarfer in statue, the bells may be slightly smaller but B. puicea has far more red on the bells apologies for the quality of photo as it is scanned from my slides. This photo was taken at Cradle Mountain Tasmania and I have just included it here so you can see the comparison between the two.

At our last meeting I won the door prize, I never usually win anything, but Jon had bought along this beautiful Narcissus tazetta 'First Stanza'  a cross between Narcissus elegans and Narcissus Soleil D'Or 8W-O and it has wonderful tiny dark orange cup with creamy perianth flowering in Autumn. Jon has written on the back of the label "First jonquil to flower in autumn, weeks after a wet, cool change. They can be forced to flower by watering in the cool shade in February. This is a Lawrence Trevanion cross, it's fully fertile. Strong grower".

Sternbergia lutea another plant from the glass house, these bulbs are from Ray's mum she always grew these in Apollo Bay. They grow beautifully in the garden and are out in all their glory but I just like to have a pot stashed away in case something happens to them. There is no sign of Sternbergia sicula yet. I do wish I could get some of the white forms from seed, does any one know where to get seed from please?

Cyclamen mirabile Tilebarn Nichollas from Holland seed, grown in the glass house as I find the C. mirabile flower better for me, I grow some in the garden but they do not flower nearly as well. I like to see them up close too. 

 This seedling came up in Crocus seed from Marcus Harvey that was collected on Greece. It is Colchicum montana, much larger in flower than mine, flowers early, and is a very dark form just shows, you should never discard a rogue seed, look what you might get.

Colchicum Princess Astrid from Marcus Harvey is now multiplying well, I just wanted to show you the tessellated flower.

Adenophera yehatae from Lynns Rare Plants and Adenophera morrisonensis ssp Yehatae AGS seed 1061 from 2016 (below) there is so much difference in these two plants, they are both lovely both flowering now.

Anemone tryllifolia from Otto raised from seed.

Nerine maxiania from my own seed as I have lost the original plants many years ago, they are doing very well in full sun in the rock garden, with good drainage.(above and below)

Ramonda x regis ferdinandii from Otto has done extremely well for me from what Otto has said to me this was a hybrid raised at the Munich Botanic Gardens that he received in 1989, a hybrid between Ramonda myconii and Ramonda nathaliae. The Munich Botanic gardens have since lost this plant and Otto thinks he is the only person that still has it growing and now I have it growing as well, it flowers nearly all year and is very floriferous, and I love the Ramonda's they are such special plants.

Vallota speciosa new name Cyranthus elatus from southern Africa, easy in a well drained position like's a little high shade in summer months.

Haemanthus coccineus now this does have very large leaves and needs plenty of room, nick name Elephant ears there is a white form that I think is whishy washy. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

 More Autumn Flowers.

Jon has sent me a photo of his Colchicum variegatum from Marcus Harvey seed, it has taken 5 years for it to flower, but well worth the wait as I don't think anyone is selling this beautiful Colchicum in Australia I haven't seen it listed anywhere. Marcus collected the seed in Ambelos, Stamos in Greece.

Another of Marcus Havey's Colchicum this is Colchicum macrophyllum I have struggled with the name of this bulb as it has hugh pleated leaves like a Veratrum. That part is fine but when I read Brian Mathew book The Smaller Bulbs he says Colchicum variegatum has purple anthers but E A Bowles in his book Crocus and Colchicum for Gardeners states in Colchicum macrophyllum "The connective of the young anthers is white tinged with lilac" and looking on the internet it say Colchicum macrophyllum has mauve anthers. So this has a funnel shaped flowers with a white throat and pale tessellated flowers that I really think is Colchicum macrophyllum and it is great to compare it to Jon Colchicum variegatum.

Colchicum sfikasianum from Archibald seed 2/2008 0317.650  a very pale form which is ok for me as I have a lot of dark flowering forms and it forms a contrast to the ones that are out at the moment. I'm not sure why we are not growing more Colchicum in Australia as they are so suited to our climate. Ok our lawns are all brown but the Colchicum are all out and flowering and with their tessellated markings they are a joy to look at, you can always control their leaves just tie them back from precious plants or put in a small stake so that they don't interfere with other plants close by and they need no watering at all in the summer months, in fact they just love a baking to make them flower well. One Colchicum bulb can have at least 3-6 flowers per bulb, so why wouldn't you grow them.

Colchicum kotschi another from Archibald seed 2086 this time I hope that date is correct, where has the time gone, collection number 314.750. The flowers come out very pale and fade to the very dark colour at the front.

A wee little flower that first flowered a few weeks ago and I forgot to take a photo of it, and it is flowering again today to cheer me up as my mum passed away in the last few days, its been a tough week, the brown background is our lawn which we do not water, as all the water goes on to the garden. With the first heavy rain, it will green up again in days. Acis rosea Scottish Rock Garden Seed  2016.

I would like to thank Jon publicly for the work he has put in with Bicon, with his gentle nature and sound reasoning, it looks like we will be able to get our seed into Australia from the seed exchanges, as long as they are listed on the Bicon permitted seed list. Please let us know if you have not received your seed from the seed exchanges as they are being held in Sydney, apparently they have mountains of unnamed seed there mostly from China. But if you get empty packets saying they have taken your seed please get in touch, as we may be able to help you get it back, as with Gavin from Perth in WA.
Thank you for reading.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Autumn Flowering Bulbs

 Its not quite Autumn yet in Australia but the Colchicum have been out for a few weeks, and this morning I went out with my cup of tea and found Crocus banaticus out in flower. We have been struggling with our beloved dog Lucy for the last five months carrying her every where as she was unable to walk for much of that time and my mother has had multiple strokes and is just as helpless, unable to speak or walk, Saturday the decision was made and Lucy is no longer with us. So finding these gorgeous Crocus out was very uplifting. These bulbs were from Otto when we first moved to this new garden, and there are more flowers to come. I think it is the much branched purple styles along with the coloured flowers that make this such an attractive bulb that I covert. From Romania, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, in meadows and deciduous woodland. There is a white form that I have only seen in books and on Ian Young's bulbalog I guess Otto has it, but it must not have been out on my visits. (above and below)

 Colchicum's out in flower greeting us from the front gate.

An unknown Colchicum that was in the garden that I thought may have been C. byzantinum but when I compare it to C. byzantinum from Archibald seed, it is nothing like it unless there are large variations in the wild, I am uncertain as to what it is (above and below)

Easily the easiest Colchicum to grow is C. agrippinum  multiplies very well and is available from different nurseries. Probably a hybrid between C.variegatum and C. autumnale.

Colchicum bivonae this is the true form Otto imported from Ruksans also very vigourous.

Colchicum bowlesianum from Joy Hawthorne is starting to settle in and multiply I have had this for years and it has never done much but it enjoys where it is growing now.

Another Colchicum that I bought as C. byzantinum I think our Colchicum's need a bit of sorting out in Australia. Colchicum's need to be lifted and divided every now and then as they grow on top of one another and to get them flowering properly you need to dig them up and separate them.

Staying in the pink theme Cyclamen mirabile Tilebarn Nicholas from dutch seed 2013 it does not like to be over potted or dried out, so a light watering all year in Australian conditions is important, semi shade in summer in a we'll drained mix.

Monday, February 19, 2018

All things Blue

Late summer seems to be the time of the year for blue flowering plants and they shine in our summer heat.

Gentian makinoi( above and below)

Gentian unknown

Gentiana prolata New Zealand seed.

Gentiana paradoxa

Anemone obtusifolia from Archibald seed collection Number 4,044.010 date 2001

Campanula Samantha a lot taller and more vigorous than Campanula Mai Blyth.

Campanula x Stansfieldii an easier Campanula when you find the right position for it.

Campanula cashmeriana I grow this dear little Campanula in the glass house as I know it will not survive our cold wet winters (above and below) Grown from AGS seed and is relatively easy from seed. It self sows under the benches where it is sunnier and dryer.

Geranium Azure Rush a Geranium wallichianum hybrid from Woodbridge Nursery flowers nearly all year except winter when it is dormant.  A very good doer.  

Corydalis chinensis I find I can grow and flower this Corydalis nearly all year, it is the easiest one for me.

Caryopteris x clandonensis only reaching 80cm small shrub that bees and butterfly's just love. (above and below)

I will post an entry about the banned seed exchange seed when I know more and have been informed about what we all need to do, and who we contact. It is the most disappointing news I think we have had from BICON so far, as our whole constitution and rules are based on belonging to overseas seed exchanges and raising plants from seed. It is one of the joys of life being taken away at the stroke of a pen.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The High Country

Recently Helen has been up in the High Country as we call it, Falls Creek is the area where Helen completed a 45kilometeter hike over 4 days and three nights camping at Johnston Hut, Edmonson Hut and Wallaces Hut. Helen says it was a real thrill for her to see so many different plants massed together.
Scaevela hookeri (creeping fan flower) were on Mt Nelse with Gentians and Celmisia.
Helen thinks January is a better time to visit Falls Creek as a lot of the Celmisia's had finished flowering by February but the Wahlenbergia may not have been in full flower.

Wahlenbergia gloriosa up around Wallaces Hut 

On the track to Mt Cope Helichrysum acuminatum (orange everlasting)

Oreomyrrhis brevipes (Rock Caraway)

 Podolepis robusta (Alpine Podolepis)

Euphrasia collina subsp. diversicolor (Eye bright)  alongside Celmisia pugioniformis