Garden Early Autumn 2015


Mushroom - Coprinus/Coprinellus disseminates growing under Jasminum sambac

Mushroom – Coprinus/Coprinellus disseminatus growing under Jasminum sambac

Summer this year was one of the mildest in a long time around Melbourne area, with only very few days of over 35 deg. C. This first week of autumn was cool with some cloudy and windy days and few rains. We  could not complain at all . Today was generally grey, about 22 deg. C with the sun that was too shy to show up.

It is too early for the leaves to change colour, but some Autumn flowers are blooming.

Choisya ternata – Mexican Orange Blossom:

We grew this plant long time ago, but only now that it is ‘really’ blooming with quite a few flowers. This slow growing plant from Mexico has white flowers, fragrant and very pretty. Usually it blooms during Spring to Summer, so it is a surprise to see ours is flowering now in the Autumn. Once established, it is very hardy and can tolerate high temperature and light frost.

Choysia ternata


Choisya ternata – Mexican Orange Blossom

Murraya paniculata – Mock Orange:

Earlier towards the end of Summer, our Murraya had abundant flowers and the sweet scent could be enjoyed all around. I missed to take photos while the flowers were at their best, now it is only few flowers remained and most of the white petals have dropped.

Murraya paniculata 2

Murraya paniculata - Mock Orange,- Kemuning

Murraya paniculata – Mock Orange,- Kemuning

Duranta repens “Geisha Girl':

This time I let the Duranta grows out of control, usually it is always neatly clipped into a ball shape. The result is that it blooms much more than usual. I have to put up with the untidy look, once it has finish flowering later I will give it a good cut :)

Duranta 'Geisha Girl' 2

Duranta repens 'Geisha Girl'

Duranta repens ‘Geisha Girl’

Yellow Kniphofia:

For the last two years this plant did not flower at all, I think it was caused by the scorching heat of the summer. Now it is growing flowers but the stems are much shorter than usual, but they are still very pretty nonetheless. The original photos have ugly old fence background, so I edited the photos and give them white and black background :)

Kniphofia - yellow

Yellow Kniphofia

Yellow Kniphofia

Sedum telephium ‘Autumn Joy':

As it is mentioned in the name, Sedum “Autumn Joy’ will flower during Autumn. Like most other succulents, it is very easy to grow and will always flower every year.

Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy'.jpg 2

Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy'

Sedum telephium ‘Autumn Joy’

Washington Hawthorn / Washington Thorn – Crataegus phaenopyrum : The Autumn Berries, not fully ripe yet. When they do ripe, birds will eat them. How silly I was to think about making hawthorn berries and loquat jam as they are available in different time. Loquats ripen around Winter and early Spring.

Washington Hawthorn Berries

Washington Hawthorn Berries

2 Small Trees for a Small Courtyard


Japanese maple - nice garden decor.2

The other day I saw one of the most beautiful courtyards with a very minimal use of plants and decoration. The focal points of the narrow and enclosed courtyard consist of a big pot in the centre and a Japanese Maples tree on each sides. To accentuate the view, garden spot-lightings were installed and they create a soft romantic feeling at night. There is no lawn, instead the ground is covered with pieces of crushed white granite stones.

I am not so sure what kind of Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum sp. ) they are, but they have smooth white trunk. The trees are pruned nicely so that the branches grow close to the main trunk. Being grown in an enclosed position all around, the maple trees are protected from harsh heat of Melbourne summer and the trees grow beautifully. This kind of garden design is very suitable for a small yard setting and for those who are too busy to look after a more conventional garden with a lot of plants and lawn.

Japanese maple - nice garden decor

Note: Thank you Kus… for your stunning courtyard :)


Crepe Myrtle - Lagerstroemia indica

Lately I noticed that many Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica sp) trees were newly planted along side Springvale rd. Though both the Crepe myrtle and the Japanese Maples have some similarities like for examples that they are both deciduous, small and have pretty autumn leaves, there are two big differences. Crepe Myrtles enjoy full sun position and tolerate hot sun, Japanese maples hate direct hot summer sun. Crepe Myrtles are grown for the beautiful and long lasting flowers but Japanese maple flowers are small and insignificant. I can imagine both of these trees can make a beautiful addition for a small yard setting.

Most of the newly planted Crepe Myrtles along side the road are still small, but most of them have already grown pretty ruffled crepe-like pink flowers. The strong hot sun does not seem to bother these beautiful trees. No signs of wilted flowers nor stressed foliage and the flowering time is quite long.

From what I have read online, the new hybrid of Crepe Myrtles (Indian Summer range) are tougher as they can resist the powdery mildew/fungal problem which is often attack the old breed. According to the garden guru Don Burke, the new hybrids  have Indian tribe names such as.

Acoma – white flowers
Tonto – deep pink flowers
Zuni – mauve flowers
Sioux – carmine pink flowers
Yuma – pale pink flowers  etc…

Crepe Myrtle  Flowers

Crepe Myrtle - Lagerstroemia indica  along side the street

Crepe Myrtle – Lagerstroemia indica along side the street

Note: In USA, the common spelling is ‘Crape’ Myrtle.

Garden – February 2015


A big brown dragon fly that I spotted few days in our garden

A big brown dragon fly that I spotted few days ago in our garden

We had the coldest December and January in Melbourne as long as I could remember. These two months of summer, the temperatures were mostly under 25 deg. C.  It was only last night that we could fold the doona away and the warm summer eventually has arrived. The weather forecast today is 35 deg. C, but until now at 11.20 AM it is only 29 deg. C. Hopefully the clouds will linger the rest of the day to make the temperature feel cooler.

Golden Diosma in the shape of pot with lid

Golden Diosma in the shape of pot with lid

The Golden Diosma (Coleonema palchellum/pulchrum Aurea) plants benefit cooler summer as high temperature and humid condition make them suffer from scorching leaves and fungal problems. The last few years some of our Diosmas had these problems, though they fully recovered when the weather was cooler.

  • Not suitable for tropical condition as the heat and the humid condition will make the plant loose foliage due to fungal problems and scorching.
  • Fragrant leaves.
  • Small pinkish blooms from July to October.
  • Suitable for hedges and regular trimming is necessary to prevent it from growing scraggly.
Diosma Flowers

Diosma Flowers

Golden Diosma

Golden Diosma

Hydrangea – The other plant in our garden that benefits cooler summer weather is Hydrangea. This plant with pretty flowers hates heat and strong sun light. This shade loving plant  will grow better in cooler climate. To have blue flowers the soil has to be acid with pH 5 or less and bluing tonic that consists of aluminium and iron can be used. If you fancy pink better, alkaline soil is needed, pH 7 or more and this can be achieved by adding lime. This is how our Hydrangea flowers look like without adding anything to the soil, they are kind of light purple and we are quite happy with it.


Hyderange 3



Jasminum sambac/Arabian Jasmine: One year since I have bought it and it is still in the original pot. I put it under the veranda and it did not drop leaves during the winter. Now it is growing taller, so I guess it is semi climbing type of Jasmine. It has quite a few flowers, but they are smaller and I think it is caused by cool temperature, not enough heat to grow larger. I had applied some fertiliser but it did not help with the flower size.

Jasminum sambac - Arabian Jasmine

Jasminum sambac - Arabian Jasmine plant

Jasminum sambac – Arabian Jasmine plant

Blooming Water Lilies:

Pink Water Lilies

Water Lily - Creamy colour

Odd shape Mirror Bush/Coprosma repens. At first I made it look like a bird but the beak sticked stuck out too much towards the driveway. Hubby complained it scratched his car, so now the poor bird is without a beak.

Beakless Bird - Mirror Bush/Coprosma repens

Beakless Bird – Mirror Bush/Coprosma repens

Mirror Bush - Coprosma repens

Mirror Bush – Coprosma repens

The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds, and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte.”
― Vera Nazarian


Tillandsia brachycaulos – Blooming


Tillandsia brachycaulos in Flowers

Tillandsia brachycaulos in Flowers

And….. suddenly and so very quickly they are there. Did they just grow like that overnight? The small purple flowers are nothing spectacular, the beauty has to be admired closely. The other two Tills only grew pups, but I have not seen any flowers yet. Will their flowers also grow magically overnight? Fingers and toes cross :)

Tillandsia Airplants

Tillandsia brachycaulos x

Blooming Tillandsia brachycaulos

Blooming Tillandsia brachycaulos

Tillandsia brachycaulos


Update on the air plant Tillandsia brachycaulos.

Tillandsia brachycaulos

Tillandsia brachycaulos – January 29, 2015

The reason I bought it was for its pink colour. After a while it changed green. I asked someone online about this colour change and she explained that only during flowering period the leaves were bright pink. <Thanks minigemm>  Today it has changed pink again, but I still cannot see any sign of flowering.

Colour change

Colour change

Tillandsia brachycaoulos - ready to flower?

Tillandsia brachycaoulos – ready to flower?

Epiphyllum Cuttings – New Growths


Quick update on Ephiphyllum cuttings, 2 months later:

How exiting to see five Epiphyllum/Disocactus ackermanii cuttings have started to grow new shoots. Though many still have no signs of progress, it is very encouraging. I never have thought that they can grow this quick. I have noticed that there are two kinds of new shoots – from the stem node and  from the soil. As many of the stems are damaged by snails and slugs, it explains why some new growths are coming out from the soil instead of the stem nodes.

E. Ackermanii - New Growth

Epiphyllum ackermanii - New Growth

Epiphyllum/Disocactus ackermanii – New Growth

The cuttings back on November 12, 2014:

Planted Disocactus ackermannii cuttings

Planted Disocactus ackermannii cuttings

Reshaping Port Wine Magnolia


Michelia figo - Port Wine Magnolia shorter new look.

Michelia figo – Port Wine Magnolia shorter new look.

Note January 18, 2015.

The Port Wine Magnolia aka. Michelia figo was getting taller, it almost reached the eaves. It was harder for me to reach the top when I had to trim it. Yesterday I cut the two-tier topiary shorter.

Before reshaping:

Michelia figo - Portwine Magnolia - before reshaping

New Shorter Look after Cutting:

Michelia figo - Portwine Magnolia - After the top par was cut

Michelia figo – Port Wine Magnolia – After the top part was cut

Michelia figo - Portwine Magnolia shorter look

Michelia figo – Port Wine Magnolia shorter look

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