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Garden Early Autumn 2015

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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. More

Flowering Succulent Plants

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It rained so heavily last night and now it is still cloudy and cool 19 deg. C. We had planned to see Comet Ison on Sunday before dawn, but it seemed that this comet did not make it through its journey close to the sun. It is just gone out of sight.  Images from NASA spacecraft showed Comet ISON approaching for its slingshot around the sun, but nothing coming out on the other side. Very sad and disappointed, but at least I have seen the best one so far (Ikeya-Seki).

Note on Ison Nov.30,2013: The latest news…. apparently a tiny part of Ison nucleus has survived and it has been seen coming out from behind the sun. It looked like a tiny nucleus with very short and stumpy tail and still….it may not survive very long.

Now talking about some of our flowering succulents so far:

Donkey’s Tail, Burro’s Tail or Sedum morganianum is an odd plant from Mexico. The very brittle stems and leaves form long and neat strands. The small red bell-shaped flowers are also strange as they grow on the end of the strand hanging down. Very suitable to grow in hanging baskets/pots. Both stems and leaves are very easy to break off at the slightest touch or movement. The good thing is that most of the broken part (even a single leaf) will grow roots and start a new plant if they have dropped on soil.

Donkey's Tail

Donkey's Tail Flowers

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Aeonium haworthii or also known as Pinwheel Aeonium is commonly grown and the rosette leaves form nice clumping mounds if grown in full sun. This Canary island succulent has small creamy yellow flowers.

Aeonium haworthii - Pinwheel aeonium

Pin Wheel Aeonium

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Crassula tetragona has clumps of tiny white flowers. This southern African native is also known as Miniature Pine Tree (don’t make any sense to me). Just like all succulents, it is very easy to grow, best in full sun and well drain soil.

Crassula tetragona

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Dec. 03/2013: More succulent flowers:

Kalanchoe hildebrantii ‘ Silver Spoon’ is one of my favourite succulent plants. The small leaves are spoon-shaped and green-grey silver in colour. The flowers are clusters of red orange bell-shaped blooms that grow on tall stems. When the flowers are matured, they will produce some fruits/pods with seeds inside. Not the prettiest flowers, but the plant offers interesting and pretty leaves.

Flowers and Fruits - Kalanchoe hildebrantii  'Silver Spoon'

Kalanchoe hildebrantii 'Silver Spoon' 1

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Kalanchoe beharensis is also known as Elephant Ear. Another favourite succulent of mine. The green silver-grey velvety leaves are kind of triangular. how to explain the peculiar leaves? This is what I get from Wikipedia, by using the proper way to explain leaves. Do not ask me the meanings as I am not an expert. Ha, ha….

Leaves are olivaceous in colour, triangular-lanceolate shaped, decussately arranged with leaf margins that are doubly crenate….” (Wikipedia)

The not so beautiful small flowers are bell shaped, hairy and the colours are cream with green center. This is how I explain them… do not ask me to explain them by using botanic terms:(

Kalanchoe beharensis aka. Elephant Ear

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Next flowering succulent is the Stapelia grandiflora or also known as Starfish Cactus or Carrion plant. The flowers are hairy, red meat colour and smell like rotten dead animals. Flies will lay eggs/maggots inside the flowers in believing that there is food there for the maggots to eat. But within a day or so the maggots are starving and dead and the pretty star-like blooms will also wilted. The flies have helped the process of pollination. Mission accomplished!

Flower buds - Stapelia grandiflora - Carrion Plant - Starfish Cactus

Stapelia sp. (Carrion or Starfish Plant).

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Although not as fleshy, Yucca plants are also considered as succulent. The one that we have is Yucca filamentosa ‘Hairy’. The name hairy comes from the fact that the leaves grow hairs. The plant consist of trunkless rosettes of soft-textured but wide, blue tinted leaves that are adorned with particularly large numbers of curly white threads, giving the entire plant a hairy effect. The flowers are creamy white that grow very tall, well above the plant itself. Very showy blooms indeed!!

Close-up Yucca filementosa 'Hairy' flowers

Flowers of Yucca filementosa 'Hairy'

Yucca filementosa 'Hairy'

Autumn Joy, Donkey’s Tail and Few Others…

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Sedum telephium ‘Autumn Joy’

One of the very popular plant from the Crassulaceae family is Sedum. As succulent which is also known as Stonecrop plant, sedum is juicy fleshy and it comes in many different colours and shapes…. around 400 different species. Many of them are trailing and pretty, so they are very suitable to be planted in hanging pots and baskets. Some are plump and rounder, some have flatter leaves or come in rosette. Most of the flowers are star shape.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Sedum telephium “Autumn Joy’ is quite popular lately. People grow it for the flower display in autumn. When the clusters of flower are still in buds and green, they look a little bit like broccoli. The plant will die down in winter and leaf buds will start to grow when the weather is warmer in spring. It is better to plant this sedum species in the garden in a sunny spot.

Sedum morganianum ‘Donkey Tail’ or Burro’s Tail is an odd looking succulent. The plump leaves grow in long strands and the small cluster of reddish flowers grow on the tip of each strand. The leaves are very brittle and can easily come off the stem. This succulent is best grown in a hanging pot as the leaf strands can grow very long.

Sedum rubrotinctum ‘Aurora’

Sedum rubrotiinctum is the most popular sedum species. It is commonly known as Jelly Bean plant. It comes in some different colours and it will be very pretty to be grown in a pot in a sunny spot around the house. Just like donkey’s tail, the rounder leaves are very brittle and easily fall off the stem with a slightest touch.

Sedum confusum

Sedum confusum can be grown as ground cover or in a pot. The small rosette leaves will have copper colour tinge when they mature. It will have star shape yellow flowers. The slightly trailing and compact growing habit make this plant suitable as gound cover and it will grow very nicely in a hanging basket.

Sedum nussbaumerianum

Sedum nussbaumerianum is less popular. It will be green if grown in shady area but will have yelowish copper colour in the sun. A nice species to be planted in pots. The flowers are small and white in colour.

Powdery Sedum allantoides var. Goldii

Sedum allantoides ‘Goldii’ is one of the largest sedum. The fleshy leaves are grey green and covered with white powdery substance that will stain your clothing (especially if it is dark colour). But don’t worry as it will be easily come off if you clean it. It will be good to plant in in the garden along the border. The whitish grey green colour is a sharp contrast to other colours. The flowers are soft yellow with long stems.

Note – November 20, 2013: I just saw a succulent plant by the name of Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Delight’. The appearance of this plant is very similar to the above Sedum allantoides ‘Goldii’. There is a chance that the plant above is actually Cotyledon and it is not Sedum at all. ???

Succulents are getting more popular every year as they are very hardy to grow in milder climate. They do not need a lot of water to waste and will tolerate neglect and poor sandy soil. Can be easily grown from cuttings.