Monday, September 14, 2009

Squeezing in some shopping

Attending garden festivals is always a risky business when you have a small garden. Yes, of course I was going to buy something there. I'm a hopeless gardening nut, after all. And besides, Pammy came with me and she's probably worse than me at these events. So between the two of us we were quite happily doomed to our fate. More plants!

How's this for restraint? Gold star effort from the Garden Shopping Team. Just eight plants. Given that there were one zillion plants for sale at the Florafest, eight is almost too restrained. We should have bought more. But space is tight...

Pam went off in one direction doing her shopping and exploring while I worked on our magazine's stand. During a half-hour break I made a bee-line for the plants I wanted and, yep, Pam and I both bought the same plant – a yellow clivia! We had discussed clivias for one shady corner of the garden a few months back, as clivias are one of the best flowering perennials for shade that you can grow in Sydney. And Pam never forgets a good shopping idea. Clivias usually have orange blooms, but in recent years plant breeders have come up with red, yellow, peach and other colours. And so we now have two yellows and one peach clivia (which has an interesting green throat to the flower). It will take these babies one or two more years before they flower, but after that they should be very easy-care.

The other plants I knew I wanted were some flowering gingers. I really enjoyed watching how my ginger lily flowered last summer (I blogged about it here). These are similar but different plants. As you can see from the plant labels they produce spectacular tropical-look flowers, but it might take a year or two to produce their first blooms (as was the case with the ginger lily). However, September and October are ideal months to get any tropical plants going in Sydney, so they have all of the summer to get established. They'll die back a bit in winter, but if you cut them to the ground completely in late winter, then feed them, they'll roar away soon after in the spring, reaching 1.5-2m tall before flowering. Can't wait!

I recently blogged about my various orchids and, at the time, didn't know the name of my little native orchid. Now I do. It's a Dendrobium, just like this one. I couldn't resist buying another one, mostly because this one had such a beautiful perfume. It's a fair bit stronger than the perfume on my other Dendrobium, and now that I'm back home I'm kicking myself for not having bought three or four more of these in the various other colours on offer. Next time don't be so restrained...

Pam found this little Lithops, or living stones, as they are commonly called, and this will be added to her tillandsias as her collection of easy-care, interesting weirdos grows. (No, I'm not one of her easy-care weirdos. I'm high-maintenance!)

This is a picture of restraint. Tables galore of superbly presented succulents for sale, and I didn't buy one of them. There were lots of succulent growers here at the Florafest, and while I could easily have brought several more cuties home, my little Succulent City is chockers, and I astonished myself by resisting the urge. It's a shame this kind of heroic goodness has no real reward. Maybe I was foolish to resist?

One simple way to resist the urge to shop was to work on our magazine stand. My duties in 'helping out' on the stand were somewhere between light and slight, but it's always great to talk to people who read your magazine, and I enjoyed chatting to lots of them. The main attraction on our stand was the talks by Don Burke, the magazine's owner, who's well known here in Australia for his TV show and radio show, not to mention his books, etc. He always pulls a great crowd, makes them laugh, answers their questions and tells stories. All I did was play 'helpful assistant' to whoever needed assistance. But six hours on your feet without a break sure makes your legs ache!

And so Pammy and I decided to make a long weekend holiday of the little 1.5 hour road trip north from Sydney, staying an extra day or two in Terrigal, a popular coastal getaway for Sydneysiders. This is the view from our hotel room of the beach, with the Norfolk Island pines such a familiar sight for beachfronts along our East Coast.

It was nice there at Terrigal. We easily could have stayed there a few more days, but running out of both money and time, we're back home already. The next task: find a few spots where we can squeeze in our weekend's shopping. There's always room for another one, isn't there?

1 comment:

Julie said...

What a great festival! You did good with resisting the succulents!!! I like your wife's lithop though! I had one and killed it over time...I did keep it going a whole year though...but I understand they can be difficult!!! Great finds!