It is coming with a Vengeance


Eventually here in Melbourne the summer heat is coming with a vengeance. A four days in a row temperatures over 30 deg. C and it will reach the highest 41 deg. tomorrow. Christmas day forecast will be 34 deg.

All lawns are yellow and dry specked with yellow Dandelion flowers which obviously can better withstand the heat. Very annoying look, really.

Stop complaining about the stinking weather, instead look somewhere else where things are doing quite alright.

Kaempferia galanga (Kencur):

The heat has sped up the growth of this fragrant plant. The pretty and shiny leaves grow flat.

Himalayan Lantern:

To my surprise the Himalayan Lantern (Agapetes serpent) is having some fruits for the very first time. It flowered many times before but never developed into fruits. The purplish colour of the fruits look quite odd. Actually this year it is only flower sparingly, so it is a real surprise to see the fruits.

Phalaenopsis Orchids:

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A Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti):

The other day when lifting a plant pot, I noticed a small black spider. After looking at it closely, to my horror it had red marking along it’s back which is a distinctive sign a of a very venomous redback spider. For a while I was thinking of killing it, but then I decided that it too has the very right to live… yes right here in my garden. With the help of a stick I lifted the small spider and I let it go in the garden away from the back veranda. Hopefully that it brings a good karma so that I will never be bitten.

There was a redback on the toilet seat

When I was there last night

I didn’t see him in the dark

But boy, I felt his bite…… (from the song The Redback Spider)

Red Back Spider in backyard Dec.17-2015

Red Back Spider in backyard


They are found Australia-wide and will live almost anywhere as long as there is adequate food, a sheltered web site and warm enough for breeding.  They are especially common in disturbed and urban areas, in association with human habitation. – See more at: (http://australianmuseum.net.au/redback-spider#sthash.3naMiPLw.dpuf)

Anggrek Cymbidium – Perawatan dan Problemnya

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Belum lama ini seorang teman yang hobbynya juga mengkoleksi anggrek Cymbidium minta saya untuk membantu mengurus anggreknya yang sudah lama terlantarkan. Setelah bertahun-tahun lamanya tanpa perawatan, tanaman banyak yang tidak tumbuh sehat lagi.

Perawatan anggrek Cymbidium selain menyiram dan memberi pupuk, juga diperlukan untuk memindahkan tanaman kedalam pot baru (repotting) dengan memakai media tanam baru. Seringnya setelah sekitar dua atau tiga tahun, tanaman anggrek ini akan mulai memenuhi pot dengan banyaknya tumbuhan baru. Selain itu media tanam juga mulai hancur dan akar tumbuh memadati pot. Banyak umbi yang sudah tak berdaun lagi juga mulai keriput dan kering  harus dipotong.

Ada tiga cara memindahkan (repotting) tanaman aggrek Cymbidium:

  1. Langsung memindahkan tanaman kedalam pot yang cukup lebih besar tanpa membuang media tanam lama. Media baru hanya diperlukan untuk tambahan saja. Ini bisa dilakukan kalau media tanam masih belum hancur dan tanaman sehat serta akar tidak menggumpal padat sekali. Juga tidak banyak umbi tanpa daun yang sudah tidak sehat lagi.
  2. Memindahkan tanaman kedalam pot lain yang cukup lebih besar dengan membuang media tanam lama karena media tanam sudah hancur. Juga karena akar yang sudah menggumpal padat sekali.
  3. Membelah tanaman sebelum ditanam kembali kedalam pot yang sesuai besarnya. Pembelahan ini biasanya diperlukan karena tanaman sudah membentuk rumpun yang kelewat besar atau karena terlalu banyak umbi tanpa daun. Walau umbi tanpa daun ini bisa berfungsi sebagai cadangan makanan kalau keadaan memaksa, tapi terlalu banyak jumlahnya menandakan bahwa pertumbuhan tanaman sudah tak seimbang dan perlu memotongnya. Biasanya untuk satu pot cukup ada satu atau dua umbi tanpa daun sebagai cadangan makanan. Tanaman yang sudah besar sekali bisa dibelah jadi dua atau tiga atau lebih tergantung situasi dan keinginan.

Ada beberapa tanaman milik teman kami yang keadaannya cukup ekstrim:

Adanya Tumbuhan Lain:

Cukup banyak tanaman anggrek Cymbidium yang ditumbuhi ‘Spider Plant’ (Chlorophytum comosum). Tanaman ‘Spider Plant’ memiliki akar banyak, besar menggembung. Dengan cepat akan mengalahkan akar anggrek yang rapuh dan kalau dibiarkan anggrek akan mati dan yang tinggal hanya ‘Spider Plant’ saja. Rupanya tanaman anggrek teman kami ini letaknya berdekatan dengan ‘Spider Plant’ dimana bijinya diterbangkan angin dan nyangkut serta tumbuh di dalam pot anggrek.

Selain ‘Spider Plant’ rumput bisa juga menyusup tumbuh subur, jadi harus dicabut secepatnya. Satu pot Cymbidium ditumbuhi tanaman Eucapyptus karena biji pohon ini jatuh didalam pot dan tumbuh. Lucu juga melihatnya.

Tanaman Terlantar dan Banyak Umbi Kering:

Satu lagi contoh tanaman anggrek Cymbidium yang ditumpangi oleh tanaman liar. Banyak dari umbi tanpa daun yang kering dan harus dibuang sebelum tanaman ditanam kembali dengan media tanam dan pot baru.

Pot Terlalu Penuh dan Bercak Hitam:

Beberapa tanaman anggrek Cymbidium milik teman yang betul-betul sudah penuh potnya dan juga daunnya banyak terdapat bercak hitam. Saya tidak bisa memastikan apakah bercak hitam ini virus, bakteri atau jamur. Untuk mengerjakan anggrek kebersihan perlu dijaga walaupun tanaman tidak terlihat kena penyakit, misalnya dengan strelisasi peralatan setelah digunakan untuk satu tanaman dan sebelum dipakai untuk yang lainnya. Untuk yang jelas ada bercak hitamnya lebih baik tanaman dipisahkan/ dijauhkan dari yang lainnya.

Karena yang ini tanamannya sudah cukup besar jadi dibelah dua:



Garden Early Summer 2015

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Coprosma repens - Mirror Bush

Mirror Bush – Coprosma repens


So far, here in Melbourne area we have been very lucky with the weather. While mother nature has been unkind to other parts of Victoria and some other states in Australia where the heat and drought have arrived much too early. Here around Melbourne, we only had few days of temperature in the low 30 deg. C. Today is supposed to be hot 32 deg. but it is now overcast and quite nice and cool.

All our roses have finished flowering except the ‘Double Delight’ which is in flower instead of in spring time. Next door standard pink rose is also flowering late. It is grown near the fence so I can easily took some photos. Regular summer flowering plants like for examples the Hibiscus, Yucca filamentosa and Pelargonium geraniums are all in bloom. The Phalaenopsis orchids flower buds are getting bigger and will be ready to open in a week or two. Dancing Lady orchid is also growing a surprise spike.

For this seasonal gardening note, I will write a little bit about two plants that have been grown in the garden since we bought the house in the early 80s. I will not include the Blue Bells because they are not in flower right now, but the Fuchsia and the Belladonna Lilies are in bloom right now.

As I haven’t include the Double Delight rose in the previous blog, I am also going to include some photos together with next door pretty pink one.

Belladonna Lily:

Besides the Blue Bells, the previous owner of our house grew another bulbous plants that were planted very close to the fence near the driveway. They are Belladonna Lilies which are also known as Naked lady and the Latin name is Amaryllis. Because they were planted so close to the fence line, a lot of times the blooms were obscured behind other plants in front of them. I plan to dig up the bulbs when they are dormant and move them to a better place where their pretty pink blooms can be enjoyed and admired properly. The other day I saw some flowers and took some photos.

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There used to be two of this Fuchsia plants before. Both were mature plants, and one completely died and gone. The other one was struggling to grow good for many years and also had dried branches. In the last few years the suckers that were trying to grow was wilted during the extreme summer heat. I tried to salvage the plant and dug it up and grew it in a pot. Since then, it has grown quite healthy and flowering and I transplanted it back in the garden in a shady area.

Rose ‘Double Delight’ and unknown next door’s pink Rose:

Water Garden:

Peruvian Lily:

Cymbidium Orchid – Spider Plant Invasion

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A friend brought in some Cymbidium orchids to repot. From far, some of them looked very leafy and green, but then I noticed that other plants had grown there.

Apparently she put her Cymbidium orchids near clumps of spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum)  that grow wildly in her garden. The seeds must had been blown by the wind and ended up in the orchid pots. Cymbidium orchid roots could not compete with the fleshy roots of the spider plant. I found that some of the situations were so bad that the invader’s roots just about to smother the frail orchid roots.

Spider plant  is commonly grown in hanging pots indoor, but if it is grown outside in garden bed, the plant will sooner or later multiplies and grow everywhere.

These photos show spider plants that had invaded a Cymbidium orchid and the vigorous roots had taken over and just about to kill the orchid roots. They were all dry and broken apart. Compared to Cymbidium orchid, Spider plant is very nasty and aggressive.

Hopefully the repotted orchid will grow well after all the invasive spider plants were removed.

Sequential Bloomers


For most flowering plants, after finish blooming the flowers and stems will be wilted, dry and fall off. It is often recommended to remove the spent flowers to encourage new growths. However, there are plants that have sequential blooms where new flowers will grow again for few times or even few more years on the same stems. For sequential bloomers, it is better to leave the flowers alone when they are spent. Not long, another flower buds will grow again, and this can happen several times or sometimes for few years. If the flower stems look dead and dry after they have flowered for multiple times, it is a sign that there they are done and then can be cut off for good.

Some plants in our garden that have sequential blooms:

Psychopsis papilio Orchid:

This unusual orchid will grow more flowers on the same old stems for several years. Each spike will grow one single flower at a time, so it will be a consolation to have them to regrow more blooms for a few years. The left photo is a new flower bud which is growing on the old stem.

Crucifix Orchid:

Crucifix orchid (Epidendrum sp.) will continue to grow new flower buds on the tip of the same old stems  until they look kind of trailing and rambling. This habit of continual growth will make this orchid always in flower all year around.

Phalaenopsis Orchid:

If you don’t cut Phalaenopsis orchid flower stems after finished flowering, often enough new flowers will grow on the same stem. I read that some orchid growers prefer to cut the stems after flowering to encourage new leaf to grow, but some prefer to let the spent spike to have another chance to grow more flowers.

Fairy Iris:

Fairy Iris or Dietes grandiflora will bear many flowers if the flower stems are not cut off after finish flowering. As the plant grow in a clump of many individual plants, if the flower stems are removed, those individual plants will never grow more flowers. Instead the clump will grow more offshoots (pups) and usually it will take time before the new growth to produce flowers. If the flower stems are remained after flowering (which usually followed by the growth of seed pods), new lead will grow on these old stems where new flowers will grow again the following year. To keep it this way, the plant will flower many blooms every year.

Many fairy iris flowers that grew this season in our garden were grown on the old stems of the previous blooms, and many still had dried empty seed pods clinging.

Garden Late Spring 2015

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Australian Painted Lady Butterfly

Australian Painted Lady Butterfly


In Melbourne we are lucky that our weather was quite cool lately with enough rainfalls. However some parts of Victoria and other states in Australia have drought and high temperature. This month was generally cool and today will be the hottest with highest temperature up to 34 deg. C, but it will be followed by cooler days.


I don’t know what variety this Begonia is, but it has beautiful foliage and pretty small white-pink flowers.

Murraya paniculata:

The sweet fragrance of Murraya flowers fill the garden with delicate sweet scents. For those who are not familiar with these flowers will look around to see where the beautiful smell is coming from :)

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana:

Ours are the old fashioned ones with the short stem flowers. I saw new varieties sold in the shop that have flowers up above the foliage on long stems.

Fairy Iris (Dietes grandiflora)

Easy to grow and tough, Fairy Iris has beautiful flowers. It is a common plant that grow well in parks and along the street.

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’

Last year we bought two spurge Euphorbias, one is the Ascot Rainbow with yellow flowers, and the other one is Amygdaloides which has green flowers. Only the Ascot Rainbow survives. No idea why the other one was completely dry, I thought that this plant is easy to grow and can stand dry condition.


Callistephus chinensis (China Aster)

Last week I bought 2 pots of China Aster plants (pink and blue) at Bunnings. I’ve never grown this plant before, so I planted one in the garden and the other one is still in the pot. After about a week, the flowers are not as prim as before, kind of droopy with burnt edges. I think they don’t like sunlight that much.

Note: As that Jo had said in the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott:

“…..I hate to think I’ve got to grow up, and be Miss March, and wear long gowns, and look as prim as a China Aster……..”

Roses 2015


 There’s so much to appreciate about my life every single day, and I make a big point of taking time to smell the roses and noticing how lucky I am. I never want to take that for granted…… (Josie Maran)

 Rose ‘Peace’:
This year, the ‘Peace’ rose bloomed very early in Spring and I did not take any photos. The big and perfumed flowers are soft yellow with a splash of light pink around the edges. It always flowers every year and these are some photos that I took the previous year.

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Rose ‘Hannah Gordon’:

Rose ‘Remember Me’:

Flower Carpet Roses:

Some of the no identity roses:

Pink Miniature:


Red Standard, it is one of the oldest roses that we have. Productive bloomer that almost bloom all year  round. By looking at the big clusters of vivid red blooms that is grown as a standard rose, it could be Floribunda ‘Red Pixie’.

Large Pink, planted many years ago around the same time as the red standard:

Orange Red, another old rose bush. The blooms are smaller and grow on thin stems.

This Pink Iceberg Rose is not doing very well this year. Very little flowers.


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