Friday, 6 July 2012

Weekend at Tony's

Even though it is mid-winter here, there is always lots to see in my brother Tony's garden, just outside Ballina in northern New South Wales, about 2 hours drive south from Brisbane. I headed down with my canine companions, Bella and Onslow, for a weekend visit as my eldest niece was home from Uni in New Zealand.

This lovely wood-rose coloured Cymbidium orchid was just inside the front gate.

When I last photographed this fence over the Christmas break, our mid-summer, it was a mass of rose flowered bignonia (or pink trumpet vine), bower of beauty and jasmine as you can see here. In winter, the orange trumpet vine predominates, although I could still catch glimpses of early jasmine. Doesn't the orange contrast beautifully with the blue of the matchstick bromeliad?

Matchstick bromeliad Aechmea gamsepala

Still down at ground level, I spotted native violets in bloom.

Viola hederacea

His camellias and some azaleas were out, but, as usual, the bromeliads put on one of the best shows.

This is a very easily grown Neoregelia

A Guzmania

Guzmania conifera

I'm not sure of the name of this one, but I love the combination of showy bloom and foliage.

A better photo of the flower

Aechmea fasciata

These spiky flowerheads remind me of a medieval mace.

This is Tony's bromeliad nursery. The 'pups' are cut or pulled off the adult plant  once they are big enough, and then popped though a hole in a styrofoam box until the roots start to form.

The underside of the styrofoam showing the growing root on the bromeliad pup.

The inflorescence on his octopus palm was looking particularly 'octopussy' this visit.

Of course, it wouldn't be Tony's garden without the orchids, although I fear I have let you down badly on the names this visit.

There always seems to be a stunner in flower on the front doorstep.  The foliage of this cream and green orchid is like a vanda, although the flower is a different shape. The smaller yellow flowering orchid underneath is one of mine that was ailing and delivered to Tony's for R&R last year.

The flower of the front door orchid.

Dendrobium speciosum


...and another

A tiny Dendrobium plant that was a mass of buds

Finally, not too sure what it is, some kind of ginger perhaps, but I love this colourful seedhead.

So much to see! Is it any wonder we were dog tired by the time we got home?


  1. Gorgeous plants, some of them quite alien looking. Love the dog-tired photo, so adorable!

  2. I agree, Mac. Some of the bromeliads flowers do look a bit other worldly, and the variety of their flowers never ceases to amaze me.

  3. So exotic! I'd have to visit a greenhouse to anything like those here! How do you grow a trumpet vine as a hedge? I've never seen anything like that! Your dogs are adorable. :o) Is the larger one a pit bull/hound mix?

    1. Miss Bella's origins are a bit of a mystery. I got her from a friend of a friend's son when she was only 5 weeks old and thought that she was an English Staffordshire - until those ears popped up. Best guess (from a staffy breeder) is American Staffy crossed with a Bull Terrier. She is a very gorgeous girl. The little one, Onslow, is a purebred Miniature Australian Bulldog, just a new breed, with English and French Bulldogs and pugs in the mix.

    2. Sorry forgot...I should have said fence rather than hedge. There are about 3 strands of wire holding up at least 4 different creepers including the trumpet vine.

  4. Your dogs are charming! The plant life you have shown is fantastic!!!

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Jayne. Yes, there are some pretty wild tropical blooms in his garden. I am looking forward to getting back in a couple of months, our Spring, when even more is happening.

  5. Oh gosh - your brother certainly has a green thumb - I enjoyed the lovely photos.

    1. He does seem to have a knack - and you should see the car when I set off on my return trip - usually crammed full of pots, cuttings and home-grown produce (passionfruit and avocado this visit).

    2. thanks for reminding me to look back on this photo Marissa. Your advice is great too about how to get the new pups to form good roots.



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