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Majestic Spotted Gum Tree

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Mottled Trunks 2

From all the gum trees, I think Spotted Gum is the most beautiful. It is also known as  Corymbia maculata or Eucalyptus maculata. The large majestic trees are native of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The slow growing trees in average will grow up to 35 m but many will reach up to 45 m high or more.  The tallest in record was said to reach 91 m high (according to Wikipedia). The large mottled trunks are colourful with a mixture of greyish green, brown and orange pink. More

Blooming Sarcochilus Orchid

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Sarcochilus Orchids

It seems that this year only one Sarcochilus orchid has flowers (2 spikes). It would be more beautiful if all of them are having flowers now to fill the pretty basket pot. However, I just have to be happy with what I have 🙂

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Xanthorrhoea, si Bujang Hitam

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Xanthorrhoea Australis

Ingat waktu menyaksikan kejadian yang cukup langka dibulan October 2006, yaitu disaat tanaman Blackboy Grass Tree secara serentak berbunga di Brisbane Ranges National Park yang letaknya sekitar 80 km sebelah barat kota Melbourne. Sebetulnya tanaman  rumput Blackboy itu lambat sekali tumbuhnya dan jarang sekali terlihat berbunga, jadi kalau semuanya tiba-tiba dengan serentak berbunga, itu agak aneh juga.

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Anggrek Sarcochilus

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Bulan Desember tahun lalu, bersama suami, saya pergi ke Langwarrin (kira-kira 40 km dari rumah kami) untuk beli anggrek Sarcochilus. Kami lihat iklannya di Gumtree dan harganya juga tidak terlalu mahal. Sebelumnya saya tidak tahu seperti apa jenis anggrek ini, jadi penasaran juga untuk melihatnya. Ian yang kira-kira seumuran kami amat ramah dan rupanya dia memiliki ‘hobby farm’ tanaman anggrek dihalaman rumahnya. Dari pinggir jalan, rumah dan bangunan untuk menanam anggrek tidak kelihatan karena depannya lebat dengan pohon-pohon Eucalyptus yang tinggi.

Akhirnya kami beli dua jenis anggrek Sarcochilus yaitu S. fitzhart dan S. hartmanii. Keduanya berwarna putih tapi lain warna bibirnya. Walau bunga kecil ukurannya, tapi karena tumbuh menggerombol jadi kelihatan cantik juga dan semerbak mewangi. Ian yang murah hati malah memberikan bonus 2 pot Sarcochilus yang masih kecil, yang satu juga S. fitzhart dan satu lagi S. Bernice Klein ‘Pink Blush’ dan belum berbunga. Waktu saya tanya seperti apa bunganya, jawabannya adalah misteri jadi harus tunggu sampai berbunga. Moga-moga saja daun bunganya akan pink seperti namanya dan bukan putih lagi. Waktu saya mengagumi bunga anggrek Dendrobium nobile yang berbatang lunak, kami juga diberi anakannya yang masih kecil gratis.

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Sarcochilus Orchids

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Sarcochilus 'Fitzhart'

Sarcochilus ‘Fitzhart’

My husband and I went to Langwarrin to an Orchid Farm and bought Australian native orchids ‘Sarcochilus’. The small and pretty blooms are fragrant. These native orchids species are endemic to Northern, Eastern Australia and Tasmania. These epiphytic (grow on other plants) and lithopythic (grow on rockeries) orchids grow wildly on high altitude  mountain ranges. In Victoria, Sarco orchids can be found in certain areas around Mt. Dandenong. There are also quite a few of hybrid varieties.

As this is the very first time for me to have this species of orchid, I have to learn the growing requirements. These are notes that I have made:

  • Location: To grow Sarco orchids will need cool and airy shaded areas around 60 % – 70% with high humidity. It is common to place Sarcochilus under tables or benches. Never expose the plants to direct sunlight. Keep them in shadier place during summer months.
  • Temperature: The ideal is between 8 deg.C to 28 deg.C. In the summer when the Melbourne temperature can soar well above 30 deg.C, keep the plant in darker place and water down the surrounding area to make the air more humid. When the winter temperature is well under 8 deg.C, keep the plant under cover or if it is outside, the plant can be covered with plastic sheet. Never expose the plant to frost.
  • Potting media: consist of orchid barks or coco bark. A  little bit of river pebbles or styrofoam pieces can be added into the barks.
  • Watering: As Sarco orchids have no Pseudobulb, they will not be able to store water. Watering should be done regularly to keep roots moist. Reduce to about once a week during winter time. Rain water is more suitable to use. Do not let the leaf crown wet and keep flowers dry.
  • Fertilizer: During summer and autumn apply weak mix of liquid fertilizer such Aquasol, Fish Emulsion or Seaweed Extract once a week with exception, once a month use water only to flush the fertilizer residue (once a week for three weeks apply weak fertilizer and only water on the fourth week). Apply less often fertilizer in springDO NOT apply fertilizer at all during winter time.
  • Propagating: Sarcochilus will form a large clump that can be divided over time.
  • It can grow mounted on a shady tree trunk, on rockeries or just in ordinary pots. The proprietor of the orchid farm said that Sarco orchids will grow many long aerial roots. In older plant, the aerial roots can creep and cling on the wall, on rocks or on tree trunk. If grown in pots, when the clump is bigger, wide squat pot is better to use.

We bought two pots and both are flowering, the one with pink flowers (S. fitzhart) is larger than the white one (S. hartmannii sp.). We were given two extra in smallest pots. One is another flowering S. fitzhart and the other one is Sarco bernice klein ‘Pink Blush’ with no flower. So it will be a mystery how the flowers will look like, but I guess it will be pinkish. We were also given a small pot of soft cane Dendrobium (no flower) for free.

Sarcochilus hartmannii sp.

Sarcochilus hartmannii sp.

Sarcochilus orchids sp.

Australian Native Sarcochilus Orchids

Dendrobium delicatum

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Dendrobium delicatum

It is said that Australian native orchid Dendrobium delicatum was the result of natural hybrids between Dendrobium tarberi and Dendrobium kingianum. Though the small and mostly white little flowers are less showy, they are prolific bloomers and very sweet scented. It is very easy to grow in tropical and temperate climates.

D. delicatum is perfect to grow on rocks or up on tree branches. It can also be grown in pots. The plant will quickly grow new shoots. The best growing medium is orchid potting mix together with a bit of compost. Liquid fertilizer should be applied after finished flowering and I also use liquid seaweed to promote healthy growth. Dendrobium delicatum will need reasonably bright sunlight to flower.

We put ours near the front door and the gentle spring breeze is blowing the sweet delicate scent into the house. It is just beautiful and refreshing….

Australian Native Dendrobium delicatum

Dendobrium delicatum - white

Pretty Scaevola ‘Aussie Salute’

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I spotted a beautiful plant with the pretty purple flowers in the market. The plant name is Scaevola aemula ‘Aussie Salute’. The shape of the flowers is quite unusual. It looks like the flower has been ripped into half. As it is half circular, this plant is also known as ‘Fan Flower’.

I still have this plant in a pot, but I plan to transplant it in a sunny spot in the garden.

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