Monday, May 14, 2018

Beth Chatto

The sad passing of Beth Chatto, what a wonderful day we had at Beth Chatto's Garden and Nursery, what a wonderful legacy she has left the Gardening world.

The Dry Garden.

Working in the Garden on our arrival.

The Nursery.

Our welcome to her Garden and Nursery.

Two good friends, our condolences to family, colleagues and friends. On behalf of the Alpine Garden Society Victorian Group.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Exploring Plants of Italy

26th May at 2.00pm 

 Not only does this man grow beautiful dwarf bulbs as is shown here, Jon is going to speak to our group on the 26th May at 2.00pm at the Olinda Community Centre, Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda Melways Ref 122 A7. We do hope you will come along and listen to Jon speak about what he saw in Italy and share a cup of tea and afternoon tea with us as we would love to meet you.
Galanthus elwesii an Autumn flowering form (above) and what a strong grower it is, as well as being a beautiful form.

Iris vartanii ex Mt Carmel, Israel raised from seed by Jon 2016 a fast germination of this exquisite Iris Jon says it has interesting blotches on the falls. Otto thinks it is probably the only one in Australia if you or any one grows it in Australia we would love to hear from you.
Iris vartanii from Brian Mathew's book on Iris says  'It is a native of Israel, and probably adjacent Syria, and it flowers from November to January over there and it is flowering May here, it flowers at low altitudes in scrub on rocky hillsides. It is not an very easy plant in cultivation.' It is part of the Iris reticulata group so well done Jon.

Friday, May 11, 2018


                                                               Family Oxalidaceae.

Oxalis enneaphylla album, Edinburgh Bot. Gardens 2001.

Oxalis enneaphylla album seed SRGC Oxalis enneaphylla is found growing in Southern Patagonia from Tierra del Fuego to the central Santa Cruz, Chile and the Falkland Islands. It prefers stony or sandy soils, but must be well drained. Unfortunately I raised this from seed and promptly lost it right after it flowered.

Oxalis enneaphylla Wisley above and below.

Oxalis 'Ione Hecker' Edrom Nursery 2001. A hybrid between Oxalis lacinata and Oxalis enneaphylla flowering late spring to summer, it has dark Purple-blue flowers with a darker centre. Oxalis 'Ione Hecker' was selected by Mrs Hecker as the best of a batch of seedlings raised by E. B. Anderson, and another was named in the same batch as Oxalis 'Hemswell Knight". 

Oxalis enneaphylla x 'Anne Christie'

 Oxalis enneaphylla, collected Patagonia growing in the Edrom Nursery garden 2001.

Oxalis 'Gwen McBride' also in the garden of Edrom Nursery 2001, Oxalis 'Gwen McBride' is a seedling raised by Harold McBride.

Oxalis lacinata 'Julia Johnson', in the Glass House at Wisley above and below.

Oxalis lacinata 'Seven Bells' in the Glass House of Wisley 

Oxalis lacinata hybrid, sorry can't read the label and I did not write this one down, but a very dark Oxalis, Vale Cottage Garden Glass House. 
Oxalis enneaphylla  'Sheffield Swan' was originally collected in the Falkland Islands by Captain Peter Erskine VMH who named it for his former ship HMS Sheffield, it was growing in the Glass House at Vale Cottage Garden, but not in flower.

Oxalis lacinata 'Pink' Vale Cottage Garden in the Glass House.

Oxalis lacinata x Vale Cottage Garden in the Glass House.

Oxalis lactea  syn. O. magellanica (apologies slide scan) photo taken in Tasmania 'Walls of Jerusalem' growing in a moist position on a old rotting log, covered in moss. An Australian native Oxalis.

Oxalis purpurea 'Garnet' growing in a large mass 1 meter x 1 meter in the garden in Sherbrooke.

Oxalis truncatum from the Beefy Boys Nursery above and below.

Oxalis versicolor 'Barbers Pole' late Autumn flowering, South African easy in a well drained position.

Oxalis perdicaria syn. Oxalis lobata a very easy Oxalis to grow, from Southern Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. Likes a sunny, protected position in the garden.

Oxalis flava a pink flowering form, from Fermi

Oxalis hirta pink flowers.

Oxalis hirta magenta.

Oxalis Craige Lidgerwood above and below. A chance seedling found by Stephen Ryan from Dicksonia Nursery, Stephen sells a large collection of Oxalis from his Nursery in Mt Macedon Victoria. Plants and photos from Jon. Dicksonia Rare Plants Nursery

Oxalis Hirta with an unknown mauve oxalis flowering in the mix above and below a close up of the seedling grown and flowered by Jon.

Oxalis flava, grown and flowered by Fermi.

Oxalis brasiliensis as the name implies from Brazil needs to be grown in a frost free area, It sets many bulblets around parent bulb, needs to be contained in the pot.

Oxalis kaajvoegensis from one of our founding members Wilma, Fermi Photo and plant.

Oxalis massoniana just coming into flower, we are colder here so every thing comes out a little later.
Oxalis massoniana is rare in the wild, it is known only from Van Rhyus Pass Sth Africa. A barren rocky mountain plateau. It was first introduced into cultivation from New Zealand 2000 into England, but I remember the Maxwells growing it a lot earlier than that. Another easy Oxalis.

Oxalis goniorhiza winter flowering South African Oxalis, damp marshy places above and below, very similar to Oxalis Barbers Pole, much later flowering.

Growing Oxalis, they are one lot of bulbs that I like to grow in pots as they have a tendency to set seed copiously and thousands of small bulblets around the parent bulb, they also produce runners under ground spreading when you have allocated them a small area you think they will stay put, but it will not be the case they will travel under rocks. You need to be very aware of that when growing Oxalis. Like Alliums that you have never grown before, if bulbils are formed in the flower heads or if on lifting after the first year  a mass of bulblets are found around the parent bulb you need to throw them out at once or be very careful with them, keeping them contained in pots. 
Oxalis, like Allium are mostly worth growing especially Oxalis, as they flower early Autumn and into winter providing valuable flowers for that time of the year. I grow my Oxalis in terra cotta pots as the South African Oxalis love the heat and warmth and are ideal for the Australian Climate. A good potting mix is fine for growing Oxalis in, with a bit of grit added so that you have a free draining mix, feed regularly with a granular fertiliser 3 to 4 times a year.
What ever Oxalis you are growing look after them as they are not allowed into Australia any more, so we need to keep them growing as some of the more difficult ones could disappear in cultivation.
 Oxalis adenophylla, Oxalis enneaphylla and lacinata all from South American are extremely difficult to grow and can not be imported sadly into Australia, so if you do have these last three Oxalis you are very lucky indeed and I am extremely envious of you as they are so beautiful in leaf and in flower.

Thank you to Jon and Fermi for their photos.

An oxalis web site is

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sternbergia lutea

 Sternbergia's have done well for Fermi in Kyneton, Victoria this year we have had very little rain and it has been very hot and dry. Fermi writes;  Sternbergia lutea which appeared in early March. This is the form in "the trade" and can be obtained from many bulb sellers. These came from Otto. They are growing under deciduous trees and the flowers emerge with foliage. (above)

This colony of S. lutea grows at the base of a rock wall in full sun and the flowers usually emerge before the leaves.
Otherwise they seem to be identical to the others; we got these from Doug Bryce who was a bulb seller in Kyneton. (above)

This colony of S. lutea grows at the base of a rock wall in full sun and the flowers usually emerge before the leaves.
Otherwise they seem to be identical to the others; we got these from Doug Bryce who was a bulb seller in Kyneton, (above)

A few years ago we had a nice clump of the winter flowering Sternbergia candida - again a kind gift from Otto - which he had raised from seed. He had two seedlings and gave us one which did very well in a raised bed in full sun till two years ago when they failed to reappear! Why? It could be that they had too damp a summer as we had started watering a bed which was higher up in the garden.
These pics are from 2015. In the recent final catalogue from Hillview Rare Plants I found there was S. candida on offer so now I hope to establish it again. ( 3 Pictures above and below)

Sternbergia sicula grown from seed from Rannweig Wallis in Wales; originally from Crete. There is a bit of variation in the petal shape as these were from seed rather than one clone propagated vegetatively. In our garden they usually start in early March and continue for a month.

Click on Fermi's photo's to see them full size, what a beautiful sight it must be to see the Sternbergia's in all their glory. They need a hot position in the garden and full sun very similar to Cyclamen graecum in fact they look good together.