Mystery plant identified

You may recall in my recent post entitled Spring or Autumn, I had purchased a plant which I thought was an orchid at a local garage sale. Having scoured the gardening books, I could not identify it. However, with the help of some of plant loving friends, we have a definitive name. It is Haemanthus albiflos – or as the name suggests, blood lily, the albiflos denotes the colour – in this case white. A few friends of mine went to that trouble to taking the photos to the Secretary of the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria who declared it, the white variety, was quite rare and generally expensive! It would develop a yellow centre and produce red berries – apparently it drew quite a crowd! Here are the latest photos as it sits on our back deck.

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The horticultural notes also told us it was of South African origin and needed well drained soil and kept well watered in summer, allowing a rest period. That explains why it flowered when I left it under a large tree and forgot about it! Will survive to a minimum of 10-15 degrees. Considering we get down to zero Celsius here on the Mount, I will have to keep it sheltered.

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Compared to this early photo, it is blooming quite well as our begin temperatures begin to drop. Quite an unusual specimen.

Spring or Autumn Take #2

After visiting the Melbourne International Garden Show, I am again confused . Are we in autumn? Then these wonderful tulips belong to the Northern Hemisphere not Down Under. e

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This interesting contraption from fifty years ago sorts the bare bulbs into sizes. What intrigues me are the fantastic displays which are often not seasonal and brought here from thousands if miles – was this also the way in the 1960’s or were the seasons recognizable ?

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Thank goodness we finally found some maples turning to mellow yellow.

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More special arrangements to come later – stay posted! Hopefully they will be seasonal too.

Garden Gratitude Theme: Yellow

This week end, while I endeavoured to complete my weekly rituals of checking the chicken house, scrubbing their water trough, replenishing the water and reorganising the straw, I sat for a moment to give a little thanks. I say ritual because these repeated acts, like a garden itself, gives me a sense of order and gratitude. Once completed, I can move on to the other areas of my day in need of attention.

This week end, though, I stopped for a lengthier time to notice how many colour combinations had appeared in the garden. There were too many to commit to one post, so I am compiling them into themes. Today’s snapshot theme is yellow – all that is pale, primrose, amber, golden or creamy has a special place in this post. So, let the show begin….

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The obligatory golden daffodils…

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Creamy Camelias

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A blazing bush….

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The first tulip to bloom – you guessed it – it’s canary yellow!

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Add a touch of “jonquil” to the mix

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And an emerging magnolia

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Let’s finish off with a compilation

With all its simplicity in a complicated world, let us give thanks for gardens in all seasons – they are the rituals that soothe our souls.

How does your garden grow – is it a metaphor for how you live?

What a winter, but what a wonder…

Ten years on the Mount and what a winter we’ve had. Last weekend we tried to burn our ever increasing pile of winter debris, to no avail. Instead we set about trimming the abundant camellias – one of which shot over the roof of the house! I salvaged its ruby blooms.

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What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. (John Steinbeck)

It’s been a winter of mists, fogs and log fires. Nothing new here really, but this year every weekend brought with it the wonder of winter! In early August, I raced up to the Mount when I heard there was “snow on them there hills”! I have done this a handful of times over the years, much to the bemusement of friends and family. The last time we had snow on the back deck was August, 2008 but each year, the Mount, at elevation 1013m, is dusted with the soft, white ice. We are 750 metres, so often we just get sleet.

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One weekend we ventured to our favourite country town, only to be confronted with thick lunchtime fog!

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Daylesford on a not so clear day…

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Brrrrrrr, I can hear you exclaim! Yes indeed, it is quite chilly.

Top five mountain garden tips for winter
1. Weed, weed and then weed again
2. Rake those leaves and clear those paths
3. Watch the bulbs emerge
4. Visit the camellias or pay homage to any floral friend – they love to be admired!
5. Smell the clean, intoxicating air
But there’s one more
Head for that log fire at the end of the day!

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Emerging camellias

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The beauty of winter can be seen in every turn. The sparsity of foliage is countered by the abundance of those beacons of colour; those buds and blooms that wink at us around each corner of the garden. We can only be in awe.
Thy knowest, winter tames, man, woman and beast. William Shakespeare’s, The Taming of the Shrew.

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As we prepare for a few more chilly days, wear our coats, scarves and gloves, may the wonder of winter be kind to us!

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Today’s view from the back yard deck. How is your winter (or summer) experience?