Tuesday, 31 May 2011

This week's best bloom

I can't remember buying this mystery bromeliad - I suspect it's one I have scored from my brother's garden.
With the neoregelias what you see is what you get - their stunning foliage is the highlight and the flowers are insignificant. But with other varieties like the guzmanias, while the foliage is generally a uniform green, there is an incredible variety of flower shapes and colours. Most of mine are in warm tones from yellows to orange, pinks, reds and burgundies, so this was a lovely surprise.

Also while in the garden this week, I resurrected my simple water feature - now home once more to a family of white cloud fish and a louisiana iris.  It looks pretty uninspired at the moment, but (hopefully) will come into its own, come Spring and look even better once my gardenia hedge has grown enough to screen the ugly patchwork fence. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Good Morning, Sunshine!

bauhinia kockiana

I saw quite a lot of this beautiful woody climber on my March visit to Malaysia and was surprised to discover today that it's a member of the Bauhinia family, like the pink and white flowering trees used so extensively throughout Brisbane street plantings and parkland. While its colour scheme was reminiscent of the marmalade bush, browallia, its vigorous growing habit reminded me of another with beautiful multicoloured clusters of flowers, the Rangoon Creeper, quisqualis. Sadly both need more space than my compact garden can offer.

Monday, 23 May 2011

This week's best bloom

I inherited a variegated Hibiscus 'Snowqueen' when I have moved here just over 5 years ago, but so far I have only added two hibiscus to the garden. The first, 'Psyche', was not a great success - quickly growing too large for the small garden bed in the pool area until I removed it about 6 months ago.  I searched high and low for this beauty known as 'Wilders White'; firstly to unravel its identity and then to track down a plant. 'Wilders White' is native to Hawaii and is one of the few hibiscus with a scent. I love the purity of the white flowers with the stunning red contrasting stamen. The hibiscus beetles have been giving it a hard time, but my young shrub is still throwing beautiful blooms.

If you love hibiscus, check out the wonderful photo album at the world of hibiscus. I just loved Pink Bouquet, Ruth Woodruff, Mulberry Snow and Marjorie Brown. What's your favourite?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Wet weekend with a taste of the Mediterranean

Yet another wet weekend here in Brisbane. Luckily, there was a break in the weather early Saturday that lasted long enough for a walk along the local creek with Onslow and Miss B.

By the time we got home, it had really started to settle in.

I thought I'd get some cooking done and whipped up a quick batch of pumpkin soup, but got a little side-tracked and spent the afternoon curled up on the couch reading some favorite cooking magazines. Both Delicious and Gourmet Traveller have Italian editions out for May, so I found lots of inspiration for future projects.

Today I continued the Mediterranean food theme by heading along to Paniyeri, Brisbane's Greek Festival. This year marked its 35th anniversary. We were lucky again with the weather and despite being a bit soggy underfoot, there was a good crowd.  It is a fabulous day out with entertainment, lectures and over 30 stalls showcasing the best of Greek cuisine. I sampled the souvlaki, haloumi, spanakopita, baby octopus and stuffed capsicum. All were wonderful and there were enough honey puffs in one large serve to share with all my new found friends at our table.

honey puff production line


Sunday, 15 May 2011


I was collecting the last few items of washing off the line tonight when I noticed the view over my neighbour's Copperpod (Peltophorum pterocarpum).  I am usually cursing this tree as its seedlings pop up by the hundred in my garden.  But tonight, its pearly pink pods provided a beautiful foreground to the rising moon, reminding me of a Japanese watercolour or an illustration by Edmund Dulac or Arthur Rackham.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Water features

There's no better place to look for inspirational use of water features than South East Asia. They can be as elaborate as the fabulous water garden of Tirta Gangga in eastern Bali, built by the last king of Karangasem in 1947...

I'm only a lottery win and a few acres away from that!

Or they can be simplicity itself...




Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Autumn is well and truly with us here in Brisbane now. The days are getting shorter and the evenings slightly nippier. Yesterday I changed over my doona from my 'token effort' to the 'now we're getting serious' weight, and Miss B is all snug on the sofa in her little red coat for the first time since last winter.

There is always plenty to do in the garden in autumn and we have been lucky to have had two long weekends in a row, first Easter, then Labour Day. I started with the big jobs - some serious pruning for the poinciana and the murraya hedge, and then had some help removing a huge philodendron to free up some space in the side garden at the back of the house. Next, I potted up a Vietnamese mint I had bought at the Farmers Market in the City on Wednesday, which I promptly reversed over on my way to the nursery, before spraying a few weeds around the pool and 'weed and feed'-ing the front nature strip.

Fortunately, my mission at the nursery was successful. I managed to pick up a Brazilian red cloak (Megaskepasma erythrochlamys) which I have been obsessing over for quite a while now. 

I think it will be just perfect in the spot recently vacated by the philodendron.

The star of my garden this week has been the datura which has exploded in a glorious flush of cream and apricot flowers. On a wet and miserable night like tonight, it was wonderful to be greeted by the intense fragrance on my return home.


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