Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A bouquet of flowers

Some collective nouns do their job quite well, such as a gaggle of geese, but the idea of a 'bunch' of flowers has never sounded right to me. Far too plain a word for such a lovely thing. However, a 'bouquet' of flowers is a lovely word, and so here's a little photographic bouquet of flowers in bloom this afternoon in our early-spring garden here in Sydney.

Geranium 'Philippe Vapelle', the only survivor from a group of six or so geraniums I bought at a flower show five years ago. I was told they like a colder climate than Sydney's and whoever told me so was right, but at least Monsieur Vapelle is flying the flag for true Geraniums here in Sin City.

Good old alyssum, just scatter a packet of seeds in a long, low planter and it looks after itself. Of course you have to put up with it self-seeding into cracks in the paving and all sorts of other spots, but I don't mind. And it does smell nice when you're weeding in its vicinity.

The calendulas are doing a lovely job making the spinach patch brighter, and as I've grown these from seed I'm just that little bit more pleased about them.

One of the bonuses you get with seed-grown plants is that they occasionally toss up weirdos, such as the very pale lemon double calendula. Yes, it's a confused mess of a thing but it's my seed-grown confused mess, and it's welcome here next to the spinach patch.

This is another of that category of plants which I frequently refer to in this blog as 'Pam's plants'. It's a dark-leafed pelargonium which sends up almost pink flowers which in certain lights look almost salmon-pink. However, Pam likes it for its dark leaves, and I'm growing it in one corner of 'Succulent City' where it adds some welcome contrast and colour in amongst the succulents.

Also in amongst the succulents, and completely uninvited, are the primulas, which I foolishly bought many years ago, and which self-seed prolifically and come up everywhere each spring. A pretty weed at best which I try to keep down to a few splotches of pink here and there.

And finally, my sage bush is in bloom. Though this is my culinary herb bush, not a flowering type, someone forgot to tell my sage that it doesn't have to flower prolifically, because it's a herb, and yet it does. (Probably thinks "Everything else is flowering, well so will I.") As soon as it finishes flowering, which will be in a few weeks' time, I'll get out the secateurs and cut the whole thing back by about one-third. This brings on lots of new leafy growth and it always looks just yummy by late summer and autumn.

Up close, each little blue sage flower is reminiscent of an orchid bloom, with its spotty tongue leading down to a cavernous throat, with wings on each side looking as if they are ready to paddle foolish insects inside.

Viewed side-on the sage bloom is not quite so pretty but is beautifully complex nevertheless. (Reminds me of that Rolling Stones tongue logo). At the end of flowering all that's left are the muddy-red cups which held the blooms, and at this stage the plant truly looks exhausted, clapped-out and half-way to carking it. That's when the magic of the secateurs is needed. This renews its mission to be a fragrant, beautiful and useful member of the garden, which it is. Even though it's a humble herb, it's actually one of the stars here in Amateur Land.

Finally, if any readers of this blog are in the Sydney, Central Coast or Hunter regions, the annual Florafest flower and garden show is on again at Kariong near Gosford, and I'll be manning the Burke's Backyard stand next Saturday, so drop by and say hello if you are planning on checking out the show. Every time I go to Florafest I tell myself that "this year I'm definitely not buying anything because there's no room to put it". Last year I only bought three clivias and three ornamental gingers, so that was fairly restrained. Who knows what I'll bring home this time (or, for that matter, what Pam will bring home, too!)


julie paterson - garden said...

beautiful blooms - i am off to the garden show at kariong tomorrow - am going to try to practice restraint (didn't happen last year, but at least gardening is a good addiction compared to others!!)

Shivangni said...

Lovely pictures and pleasing words to match as usual. Looking at the first picture of geranium I was going to ask you the trick of making them last, till you revealed that yours too have said goodbye slowly. Mine in Delhi don't last more than a couple of seasons.

How does Pam's pink one survive, any tips?

Jamie said...

Shivangi, I think the last surviving geranium has found a spot it likes, which gets plenty of sun in winter, but it's shaded from the hot afternoon sun in summer, (which is probably the deadly stuff that finished off the others, which were in full sun all day long).

Susan said...

Lovely to have a peep into your garden as per usual. Feeling a bit jealous though - cold, wet and windy here in Melbourne and the flowers, like myself, are a bit hesitant to pop their heads out into the elements.

lbc flower delivery said...

Oh' so cute little flowers! Wish I can also add them on my garden. Thanks for sharing.


flower Philippines said...

Oh! Those flowers caught my attention. It seems you have a great flower gardens. How I wish I could have a cool garden like yours. Keep it up!