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Golden Diosma

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Golden Diosma

Golden Diosma (Coleonema pulchellum/pulchrum ‘Aurea’) is a low growing shrub that love cool climate. This pretty plant with fragrant fine leaves will get scorched and susceptible to fungal disease in very hot and humid summer over 32 deg. C. In winter time to early spring, it will bear many tiny flowers that can cover the whole plant. Golden Diosma is the most popular among other Coleonema varieties like for examples: C. album (White Diosma), C. rubrum (Red Diosma).

  • Golden Diosma – Coleonema pulchellum (pulchrum) ‘Aurea’.
  • Small shrub, can reach 1 m high. There are dwarf varieties that will grow more prostrade.
  • Cool temperate climate, not suitable for tropical area. It does not like high humidity as it will cause fungal problems.
  • Suitable to grow in well drain soil in the garden.
  • The fine needle leaves are fragrant (mix of herby/lemony/piney smell) and will be more yellow colour in full sun.
  • By the end of winter to early spring it will bear tiny white-pink-mauve flowers that can cover the whole plant. If grown in shady area it may not grow flowers.
  • Suitable for hedges and respond well to shaping and trimming. It can grow lanky and rangy if not pruned and shaped. Pruning can be done after flowering and avoid trimming in autumn to make sure the plant will flower in the winter.
  • Liquid fish emulsion or seaweed extract can be applied once a year. We never fertilize and the plants are doing fine.

Winter Garden – Shades of Orange

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Orange hues of Camp Fire

The chill of battering southern wind has made this winter feel much colder.Things that are hot like a campfire or a fireplace will surely give a warm feeling. It is the same with the garden, all hot colours of flaming fire make the garden brighter and warmer… and we have plenty of them. They come from plants that have flowers in the shades of orange colour, the colour of fire.

Jacobinia pauciflora ‘Firefly‘: Under the new name it is called Justicia rizzinii. This low growing shrub is native to Brazil and loves cool temperate climate. I’ve noticed that it hates extreme summer heat. Ours had all the foliage scorch and burnt, but the tough plant has recovered slowly. Now it is flowering quite profusely again. The small tubular flowers are orange and gold similar to the colour of fireflies. It is better to grow this plant away from hot afternoon sun.

Aloe spinosissima: This winter flowering Aloe plant is thought to be a cross between Aloe arborescens and Aloe humilis. Some are sold under the name of spider aloe or dwarf Aloe arborescens. People say that it is smaller and more manageable compared to the arborescens. The towering flowers are bright orange colour and the nectar attracts honey eater birds.

Cymbidium Marvin Gaye ‘Royale’: The small flowers are orange yellow colour with dark red lips. I let the blooms cascade freely down, and they are nicely arranged and spaced from one another. Thanks Rika🙂

Goldfish: Though looking at goldfish in the winter makes me feel cold, I have to include them for a couple of reasons. First they are either orange or gold in colour and second, it is an update about what have happened to our goldfish. Quite a few of our mature goldfish have gone missing. Perhaps the cat took them. but there are 4 new babies.

The colour of orange radiates warmth and dynamic. It is very close to red, but kinder, gentler and milder. In association to cheerful yellow, orange is more vibrant and invigorating.   In fact, the colour of orange is optimistic,  uplifting and rejuvenating our spirit.

Cymbidium 2016 – More Flowers

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Melbourne winter this year is very cold with extremely high rainfalls  and very strong wind. We are lucky to have a covered area to keep the blooming orchids out of bad weather elements, otherwise the continuous rainfall and chilly wind will easily destroy the beautiful blooms.

Most of the small cymbidium orchid in hanging pots have been flowering earlier, and now some of the larger ones are blooming.

Cymbidium ‘Claude Pepper’ x ‘Sensation’: This Cymbidium did not flower last year after division and repotting. This year all the three divisions have flowers, two with three spikes and one with a single spike. C. ‘Claude Pepper x ‘Sensation’ flowers have nice deep maroon colour, but the stems are short and each blooms are close together.

Cymbidium ' Claude Pepper' x 'Sensation' July 2016

Cymbidium ‘Claude Pepper’ x ‘Sensation’

Cymbidium large pink (noid): I bought this one in a green grocer in Brandon Park Shopping Center. I like the large towering light pink flowers. Orchids flowers with very tall and straight stems that much higher than the foliage are very showy.

Cymbidium July 2016.jpg

Images below:

Earlier bloomers: Cymbidium white ‘My Sweet Amy’, Cymbidium Maluka ‘Baby Pink’, Cymbidum Artistic Impression ‘Snowdrop’x Ruby Eyes ‘Red Baron’ and creamy colour Cymbidium Insigne:

Brugmansia candida – Beautiful Bark

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Brugmansia - Rugged and knobbly bark

Our Brugmansia candida plant (White Angel’s Trumpet) is growing quite tall reaching for the sky. The south facing position between the house and fence makes it grow higher to reach for sunlight. This very poisonous plant ( the flowers, leaves, bark etc) has attractive trunks and branches. The older the plant, the more rough and knobbly  the bark looks. The cutting marks on the branches will grow thick calluses and create very interesting formations.

Unusual Bark Formations:

The spotted trunks and branches look rugged and rough, knobbly, warty and holey that are full of cracks and lines. The nooks and crannies are good hiding place for creepy crawlies. Pill bugs (Armadillidiidae) make the holes a good hiding place.

Brugmansia - a nesting place

Brugmansia - a holey trunk

Brugmansia - attractive bark

Brugmansia growing a button - attractive bark

Brugmansia - weird looking bark

Brugmansia - another bark formation

The White Angel’s Trumpet is growing taller than the gutter line:

Brugmansia aka Angel's Trumpet growing tall

Garden Early Winter 2016

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Pear tree early winter 2016

This sunny winter morning, the calm air is crisp and cool. The pear trees still have some of the remaining autumn colours. The ground underneath is littered with the fallen leaves. I like to spread them evenly on garden beds to act as mulch and later on will break down to fertilize the soil.

Winter flowering plants have started to show off their colours to brighten our garden. The early blooming Cymbidium orchids are in flower, but many are still in buds. The Zygopetalum orchid is having two spikes and the Oncidium ‘Dancing Lady’ has one spike.

Cymbidium Orchids - Early Flowers.jpg

Cymbidium insigne

Cymbidium insigne is native to high altitude forests of Thailand, Vietnam and Southern China. The narrow waxy petals are cream colour with slightly pinkish tint and the lips are heavily spotted. The long stems bring the flowers high well above the foliage.

Loropetalum chinense

The much cooler air during autumn and really cold winter temperature have made this plant grow much better. The new leaf growths are burgundy red which make this plant look colourful, while the pretty flowers look unusual.

Plectranthus caninus

This smelly scaredy-cat plant has beautiful purple flowers. The thick furry leaves release very pungent smell that cats hate. This compact ground cover plant spreads nicely without overtaking the whole garden.

Sweet Pea Bush (Polygala myrtifolia)

This rounded bush with pretty flowers is from next door along our fence. The colourful flowers are worth noticing🙂

Cotyledon orbiculata

This Cotyledon orbiculata plant has large leaves and orange bell flowers. It looks very similar to Kalanchoe, everytime I still mistaken the name.

16/6/2016

Crinum Lily (Crinum moorei):

Forgot to include the Crinum lily bulbs that were transplanted to more sunny spots. They have grown leaves, some suffer from frost damage (or eaten by snails/slugs?), but they are not too bad now.

Note: I just edited this part as this plat was wrongly identified as Belladonna lily. Only later on I found out the real identification. Crinum lilies are characterised by big round bulbs with long necks.

 

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We have lost a dear friend Ratih Del Citto (1944 – 2016). Rest in Peace Ratih…. no more pain. You will be sadly missed by us all.

Leaning Over Phalaenopsis

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Phalaenopsis orchids that are grown inside facing a window tend to grow side-way and will have leaning over look. In nature, it is very normal to grow this way as the plant attached itself on a tree trunk. Some people also prefer their Phals to have this position. If it is a small variety, it may not have obvious problem of being imbalance that can cause the plant to easily tip over, but if it is a big variety then it can be a problem.

Our Phalaenopsis with yellow and red spots flowers is growing pretty big and it is growing side way. At the moment it has 2 flower spikes and I just re-potted it this afternoon. As the plant is big with thick and wide leaves, it has become quite heavy for the thin plastic pot to support it. I decided to use a small laundry peg basket that has many holes on the sides and bottom part. The holes will give better air circulation and drainage to prevent the growing media to become too wet for too long that can cause root rot. To compensate with moisture lost, I mixed the orchid bark chips with a big handful of sphagnum moss. The squarish shape of the plastic basket is very good for balance, especially later when it has started to lean over again.

Images:

Large Phalaenopsis Orchid with 2 flower spikes and many aerial roots is leaning over the small and thin plastic pot. The old potting media disintegrated and very wet, but most of the roots are healthy and plump.

Growing media and small laundry peg basket…..

After finished re-potting…..

 

Cym. Artistic Impression ‘Snowdrop’ x Ruby Eyes ‘Red Baron’

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Cymbidium orchid hybrid Artistic Impression ‘Snowdrop’ x Ruby Eyes ‘Red Baron’ has small flowers and interesting colour combination.

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