Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bursting into bloom

Though we have many wonderful months through which we can enjoy the garden here in Sydney, October usually takes top spot for a host of reasons. The growth rate is quite phenomenal when you get that typical October combo of rain then warmth, not to mention the rapidly lengthening daylight hours. Then there's the newness, the freshness of it all. There's just so much in bloom right now that I thought a little lap around the garden is in order.

Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream', a multi-toned new grevillea variety that lots of gardeners are planting. After a slow start, it's doing well now, but the plant is still small, a bit over 1m tall and wide. It should double in size over the next 18 months, I hope.

Also a native plant but much smaller, this is our native violet. Rarely without flowers throughout the year, this little terrier of a groundcover loves moist or cool shade, and when it likes its spot it is almost impossible to eradicate, should you want to grow something else there. Pretty little flowers, though.

Also tiny and rather unusual, these flowers belong to a succulent, which I think is Gasteria.

You'll have to put up with my succulent-identifying skills being ordinary. The plant from which this exquisite, small flower springs looks part echeveria, part graptopetalum to me. I know there are hybrids called graptoverias, so that's my guess. Nice flower, though, whatever it is.

And now for two cheery potted chaps. First up, sweet alyssum, with a sweet scent, too.

And this silver-leaved guy who I call 'buttons' simply because I lost the plant label and don't know its name. I keep a lookout for similar things in nurseries, so I can learn its name. No luck yet.

Down the narrow side passage between our house and our neighbour's, large potted cane begonias thrive in the combination of morning sun and afternoon shade. They're coming into bloom right now.

Also enjoying the side passage conditions in its pot, this is loosely described as New Zealand Christmas Bush (metrosideros) even though it does its blooming here in spring.

While we're talking Christmas bushes, this is our potted NSW Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum), doing its thing now in spring, as it does every year. The real flowers here are small and white, while the pinky-red 'flowers' are colourful bracts (a la bougainvillea and poinsettia, for example). Florists sell stacks of NSW Christmas Bush in December, and a whole tree in red-hued 'bloom' is a wonderful sight.

The pale yellow-green flowers of this pelargonium are the real treasure of this plant every month of the year, but in spring it puts on a presentable pink parade of dainty blooms for several weeks.

Towering over the perlargoniums are the garish orange spikes of our canna lily. I still haven't made my mind up about whether I like this plant's flowers, which start now in October and last all through summer and into autumn. The whole plant is so striking that it probably belongs in a bigger garden. Last autumn I cut the whole clump back by half, to reduce its impact, but when it came to actually getting rid of it altogether I just couldn't.

This is the reason I hang onto the canna – that wonderful striped foliage. This cultivar is called 'Bengal Tiger'.

A far more conventional beauty, this is my friend Evan's wonderfully fragrant standard yellow 'Friesia' rose, which finally got down to the business of blooming just last week.

How could I do a post about flowers without mentioning my poppies, which are still in bloom? Here's a charming orange-yellow mutation that announced itself a few days ago.

And from the poppy patch these wild ones keep on popping up from self-sown seed. This is the most common colour, well ahead of the next most common, a deep, luminous orange that reminds me of Californian poppies.

Last but not least, this morning's latest baby – a thumping big yellow zucchini flower. I love cooking zucchini flowers (stuffed, battered, fried), so this one was harvested immediately and will await the imminent arrival of several siblings which are forming on the other zucchini plants.

As I couldn't imagine having a garden without food plants to use in my cooking, it's similarly unimaginable to have a garden without flowering plants grown for their beauty alone. Yin and yang, I guess.


jfr said...

get paid to share your great pictures

Nicole said...

thank you for the tour of your garden :o)

LC said...

Beautiful photos, spring flowers and really interesting blog. Great to read about someone else gardening in the inner west. Thanks also for reading my blog! I will make sure to check back regularly.

Gavin said...

Hi Jamie. What a wonderful passion you have for gardening. I love all of the photos of your garden, they are so uplifting.

Also, thanks for dropping by on my blog. It was nice to see a new face so to speak.


lspichkin said...


I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I was wondering whether you'd be interested in including it in our gardening website, The Grow Spot ( in our "Gardening Around the Web" section? You would receive all writing credit and there are multiple links back to your site. We would only include however much you approve in your RSS feed. Keep up the good work!