Friday, October 24, 2014

Tiny tots

All sorts of spring flowers in our garden are coming out right on schedule, and the tiny ones Pammy and I have been looking closely to spot have finally made their appearance. They're so small that if you stand back a few feet you can't see them. You have to get up close … very close.

Spanish moss, or Tillandsia usneoides.

This enormous log photobombing my Spanish moss pic is
the tip of a toothpick. It illustrates nicely how small these
Spanish moss flowers are.
The flowers form at foliage junctions.

Though small, they're perfectly formed, complete with a
little yellow centre of pollen. Haven't exactly seen the
bees making a beeline for the Spanish Moss yet, though.
Just in case you're not familiar with Spanish
moss, it's that bromeliad which is also known
as old man's beard, for an obvious reason.
It's an 'air plant' that is not a parasite on its
host plant. Instead, it gets all its nutrients
from the air and rain. Here's it's thriving, hanging
off the branches of our Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream'.

Pammy loves this plant, and has done several paintings of both the plant and the flower. And so, to finish off our little celebration of this little cutie, here are two of Pammy's Spanish moss flower paintings, one a lovely little portrait of the flower itself, and the second (one of my favourites) an imagined microscope-eye's view of the foliage, where yet again Pam has created something which seems abstract at first glance yet is also realistic – it's one of the themes in her painting which I enjoy the most.

'The Reality', © Pamela Horsnell 2013

'Living and Breathing', © Pamela Horsnell 2013


Padaek said...

Love the Spanish moss, and the flowers are amazing! Also, a huge fan of Pam's works!! Excellent photos Jamie! :)

Haley said...

Never tried any of these. Might be time :)
Love the photography too Jamie.

Haley said...

Oh just one question on an unrelated gardening thing ... Do you have any curry leaf plants in your garden Jamie? If so how hard are they to grow?

Jamie said...


"Used to" have a curry leaf tree. In fact it was happily here for more than 10 years in a giant pot, then a few years ago we redesigned the garden, and it went.

Curry trees grow easily in Sydney, but it's best to grow them in a pot as they can become a biggish tree. They'll need the biggest pot you can manage. Our pot was 1m tall and almost 1m wide.

They love sunshine, regular watering too. They are subtropical, so they don't like cold Sydney winters much and look a bit scrappy in July, but no Sydney winter will ever kill them.

Further north in NSW, and up into the Qld, curry leaf trees are proving to be a bit of a weed (the birds eat the berries, then crap into bushland, where the berries sprout and grow). So if you are well north of Sydney (eg, Coffs or further north) be aware that they can be a problem if you live near bushland.

Haley said...

Hi Jamie, thanks for the fantastic concise information. I live in Sydney Inner West so it should be fine.

Thanks again.