Sunday, 25 March 2012

Onslow and the grasshopper

It was a confrontation of David and Goliath proportions.

The grasshoppers have been very busily chewing their way though much of my garden. As the combatants eyed each other off, it seemed Onslow might finally have a chance to earn his keep and make amends for all the plants he has dug up.

The quarry was examined from every angle.

Even taste tested on more than one occasion.

So, when the little green guy made his final break, I decided he had earned his freedom.

After all, there was one unchewed cosmos left, and, with the addition of some miniature dahlias, pentas, and salvia, that was all I needed for a posy.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Queensland Dahlia Society Show

As you may have gathered from my last couple of posts, I have been thrilled with the performance of my first real dahlia, 'Marie Antoinette'. After seeing Belinda at Wild Acre's beautiful arrangements, like this one and reading her cutting patch posts, I was inspired to try my luck with dahlias quite late in the tuber planting season. There were only two left in my local Bunnings store, 'Marie Antoinette' and a rather unhealthy looking 'Mrs Reeves' tuber. I bought them both, but not surprisingly, only 'Marie Antoinette' came up. I am planning well ahead for next season, and today, the Queensland Dahlia Society's competition and show at the Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens provided a great chance to see some superb blooms and to get a few ideas about which ones to select and to meet some local growers. 

I really only have space for about 3 dahlias and thought perhaps a dark red or deep pink pompom, an almost black waterlily, and a dark red or dark pink cactus (and maybe a burnished orange), but seeing this incredible selection leaves me back at square one!

I have done my best with names. It is possible with some of the double-barreled names that the first could be the name of the grower, and perhaps just the last half is the variety... I didn't question it at the time. 


'Bracken Sarah'

'Pam Howden' - could be my burnished beauty!

Granite 913 Collarette

'Bracken Sequel' and 'Bracken Nicholas'

'Bracken Enfield', 'Bracken Rossi' and 'Bracken Hazel'

At the back, 'Devon Calypso' and 'Bracken Sequel' and in the front 'Bracken Elizabeth' and deep red  'Bracken Rossi'  (another favourite)

Apricot 'Sarah', back red is 'Bracken Jessica', the other dark red is 'Bracken Perla'

These are small cactus. The red on the right is 'Kenora Sunset'

'Araluen Fire' (could be a contender!)

'Downs Hazel'

The centre red is 'Moray Jewel'

The light orange waterlilies are all variations of 'Pam Howden'

The orange  pompom on the right is 'Golf Ball'

These pale and mid pink pompoms are both  'Pam'

Anemone-type 'Mexico' - love it!

These are collarettes. The red is 'Apache', the mauve 'Christie' and I can't read my own handwriting on the front one, but it might be 'Kismet'.

'Granite Nymph'

No wonder I'm confused. Luckily I have till Spring to decide on my purchases (and I should also add, all care taken with names, but my writing is appalling, and there were so many!)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Up close and personal

I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed by chores at the moment and usually find the perfect cure is a 5 or 10 minute meander through the garden to see what has changed from the previous day.

A new bud on the 'Little Gem' magnolia had appeared and warranted closer inspection, but it seems someone else had the same idea and was getting up close and personal themselves...

But despite the interlopers and the fact that they'd had a bit of a nibble on a couple of the petals, nothing detracted from the pristine beauty of the almost-bloom.

Then I headed down to dahlia 'Marie Antoinette' to check if there were any blooms ready for picking.

I love the frosted tips on its petals.

Nearby, there were new zinnias just coming out.

Zinnia elegans 'Polar Bear'

Colourwise this looks like Zinnia elegans 'Isabellina' , although it should be more double.

This is the first flower on a small Cosmos seedling. The colour doesn't quite match the fancy varieties of seed I planted, so I think it may be self-seeded from my original 'mixed' selection that seemed to be all deep pink.

Another first flower of the season, the Osteospermum 'Double Sensation' that I bought in July. 

A couple of the miniature dahlias I bought in a mixed punnet.

Signs of flowers yet to come : these scabiosa, which have germinated so quickly.

Up about as close and personal as I like to be with this fellow standing guard on a bromeliad.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day March 2012

Although I have been busy in the garden, applying a thick layer of mulch to help the garden get through our dry season and planting seeds and bulbs in preparation for spring, with the following two exceptions, there are very few changes in what has been in flower since my report for February's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

This little ginger is a Globba 'Golden Dragon'

 Aechmea  fulgens 'Burning Bush'

Dahlia 'Marie Antoinette' is still flowering well.

Despite looking a little washed out in this photo, I love my salvia 'Hot Lips' and the way it varies from all white to all red and two toned.

The Evergreen Frangipani Plumeria obtusa looks a picture of health, but the advent of frangipani rust here in Brisbane over the last few years causes early leaf drop, and it is virtually now 'evergreen' in name only!

Always flowering,  Hammerhead Frangipani Plumeria pudica

I don't know what I'd do without my Rosemary. (Roasted rosemary potatoes are the best!)

The Bird of Paradise Strelitzia reginea are putting on a great show along the driveway.

Lots of storm lilies, Zephyranthes candida, have popped up after our wet weather.

Zinnia 'Summer Brilliance' with salvia 'Heatwave Sizzle' and variegated pineapple (also a bromeliad).

In the back garden there is lots of new growth on the spiral ginger , Costus 

...and plenty of flowers

Not exactly a bloom, but this Ponytail 'Palm' Beaucarnia recurvata deserves its moment in the spotlight. It has fallen into the 'hidden in plain sight' category. I have never included it in the blog because it is on its own by the pool, but it is quite an impressive specimen, despite some unsympathetic pruning by a previous owner.

Finally, my nomination for villain of the month...

Look at the terrible damage to the new fronds of this cycad.  All the handiwork of the blue cycad butterfly's caterpiller.  I have posted about these menaces before, and, although I don't like spraying, I used Confidor on this plant, but it seems to have had no effect, perhaps because of all our rain.

To see more beautiful blooms from all around the world, and hopefully no more villains, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


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