Category Archive: Collectors Corner

How To Make A Succulent Christmas Gift.

Succulent Gift Box

Each year I love getting creative and coming up with new ways to decorate around the house for Christmas by using plants. Here is a fun and easy tutorial that I created to show you how you can make this succulent present, which would be a fun addition to the Christmas table or a fun Christmas gift. The best part about this floral arrangement is once Christmas is over you can take the succulents and plant them out into pots or the garden!

Bonnie-Marie Hibbs

The giant agave that took 20 years to flower.

Thanks to Collector’s Corner, we have some pretty amazing agave here at Gardenworld.

One of them is this massive Agave parryi hybrid. The original variety was native to New Mexico, Arizona and northern Mexico.

Generally the flower colour will be a pale yellow, but being a hybrid, we are not quite sure what colour this one will be yet.

This huge flower stem has taken 2 months to get to this size and will take a full 12 months to flower from start to end. At one stage it looked like a giant asparagus spear. Now it looks like something invasive out of Dr Who.

The plant has taken 20 years to flower.  This one is currently higher than our flag pole and is located near the cafe. Please don’t get too close – it has massive spikes – and for that reason we don’t recommend it for a conventional home garden.

Sadly, it is a terminal flower, which means the plant will probably produce a few pups at its base, and then die.



Orchids in full bloom.

By James Wall, Nurseryman.

Yesterday I attended the ‘Melbourne Orchid Spectacular’ at Springers Leisure Centre in Keysborough. The quality and variety of blooms this year were of a very high standard. Experts, enthusiasts and novices all seemed to mingle together well. Many people had come from many miles, allured by the beauty of these mystical flowers. I have taken some photos for all those who missed out.

Collector’s Corner here at Gardenworld also have a magnificent array of flowering orchids on display right now and for the next couple of months. Conveniently located right next to the cafe !

Oncidium maculatum

Peter Nelson "Starbright" x Adelaide "Mint"

A stunning mottled pink

One of my favourites

New Century "Spica"

Masdevallia orchids

Beaconfire "Cecile Park"

Visiting a Chinese classical garden

By Kerry Lander

June 2013:  After getting hopelessly lost on the streets of Shanghai for several days, we moved to the smaller city of Suzhou (approx. 30 minutes away if you are travelling by bullet train at 261 km/h).  Across the centuries, Suzhou has held the reputation for being the “Earthly Paradise” and “the City of Gardens”.  One of the four most famous classical gardens in China is located there, and when we discovered this, we made a beeline for it.

The Humble Administrator’s Garden was built as early as 1509 AD during the Ming Dynasty, and covers 5.2 hectares. All centred around a broad expanse of lake, it was quite wonderful to walk through. If you could somehow overlook the other tourists and China’s ever-present white/grey sky,  the classical style was indeed picturesque, and must be really pretty during the blossom season when pepped up by a bit more colour.

Garden landscapes mingled with poetic waterscapes, oddly shaped rocks, exotic and immaculately-kept vegetation, ornate woodwork, exquisite pavilions with those distinct roofs and zigzag bridges to deter demons, who can only travel in a straight line.

My inner child wanted to run along the many little paths, climb to the summit of small tranquil hillocks, clamber through the small twisty tunnels in the strange rock formations, and chase the garden’s resident cat. But, being all grown up and it being 37 degrees C with high humidity, we opted for sedate meandering (with much fanning) and posing at bridges and moon gates.

The garden culminated in a large bonsai garden courtyard. I don’t know much about bonsai but these looked to be fairly impressive and well-aged specimens.  We admired them thoroughly before starting the long but delightful walk back.

I hope the Humble Administrator was given to entertaining  and impressing visiting dignitaries, and didn’t humbly keep the place all to himself.

The Bat Plant – in flower.

An exciting flower is blooming at Collector’s Corner right now.

By Marco of Collector’s Corner.

Tacca chantrieri is also known as “the bat plant”. It is a native of the steamy jungles of South East Asia and in particular, Borneo and Sumatra.

It grows from 1-1.5 metres high and equally as wide.

A true jungle plant, bat plants enjoy high humidity and fairly still air movement though still buoyant. High temperatures are appreciated and will thrive between 23-32c . They can tolerate temperatures down to 10 c but excessive exposure to these temperatures will cause irreparable damage in the long run.

Bat plants thrive in rich humus soils where a lot of aeration is available to maintain plant vigour. A bromeliad type mix is preferred in cultivation and for the home gardener. Watering is regular in their home habitats and the plants never experience drought, we must thus emulate this in cultivation.

Light levels are low in the forest floor and we recommend 70% shaded situations at all times and it has been noted that increasing light levels will not benefit flowering, these plants enjoy humid, warm and shady conditions at all times.

A challenge to grow in the southern states this plant will make an excellent garden plant in the tropics and is highly regarded as one of the “must have” plants in those climates.

Long lived and truly spectacular, this one of those rare gems that we often do not believe exist in nature and think that they are made up fantasies, but as you will see, these beautifully different plants are no myth but a wonderful addition to our collection here at Collectors Corner.

Happy Halloween with scary plants !!!!!

This is quite a funny you tube video we found that has some scary plants on it for Halloween.

Enjoy. (and get the kids some lollies – even if you don’t believe in it !)


We do not endorse any of the links connected to this video.

Go to Collector’s Corner for something a bit scarrrrry !

venus fly trap

Scary for this spider

The hidden little succulent garden

hidden succulent garden

Driving down a coastal road the other day, I saw a little garden peeping out from behind a front fence. It looked like it was in its own little world. When I stopped the car and wandered back; what was there was a little succulent wonderland. There was actually two little gardens on each side of a driveway, almost hidden from the world.


What I like about this planting was the plant grouping. They had planted ‘clusters’ of the same varieties. Often this is done in odd numbers like 3, as it tends to look better than even numbers.



The other thing was that they had not overdone the total number of plants or the total number of different varieties, Sometimes less can be more.



Finally, I think the rocks used and the type of topping used on the ground both contrasts well with each other and together show off the plants exceptionally well. Again the rocks are not overdone and have been positioned thoughtfully – a well balanced garden. Finish it off with the walls painted in straight cream and chocolate and the plants have the perfect background to highlight their own form and colour.


Of course succulents have been used which during the drought, really came of age. The fact this is a coastal setting, also lends well to these hardy plants that require minimal watering. Succulents are not everyone’s cup of tea, but even those people would have to admit they have been used well here.


Collector’s Corner here at Gardenworld, has one of Australia’s biggest selections of succulents and cacti. If you would like to know more, why not pop in and say hello. They have some wonderful books on the subject as well. But for now, its goodbye from the hidden little succulent garden.

Rare orchid now smelling at Collector’s Corner.

Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis

Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis

Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis in flower

“Enjoy this plant and its flowers but… bring a peg for your nose!”

This is perhaps one of those rarities that one seldom sees in cultivation and least of which, in flower!

Hailing from the tropical lowlands of Papua New Guinea this magnificent orchid is a true collectors’ dream and one with it’s own exacting cultivation requirements. These plants require year round water and warm to hot and extremely humid conditions in deep shade.  A rather slow grower, it will eventually have leaves that reach near the 2 metre length and pseudo bulbs the size of a baseball, though larger specimens have been observed in the past.

Our specimen is only a juvenile plant and it is well on it’s way to attaining full size in a couple of years. As it stands, it is still an impressive specimen and one can view this amazing orchid in the Species Orchid Room.

One warning though, steer clear of getting to close as the “fragrance” that it emits will undoubtedly shock you! unless you enjoy the lovely aroma of dead fish rolled in cat litter! The flowers on this plant are pollinated by flies so one can only surmise the type of odour that it pumps out especially in the warmth of the hot room. A stunning addition to our collection of rare and unusual plants from around the world and one which we love to share with all people with a passion for nature’s weird and wonderful treasures.

Enjoy the plant and flowers but… bring a peg for your nose!

Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis

The mystery “air” plant was a Tillandsia.

Tillandsia andreana

Our mystery plant was a Tillandsia

A week or so ago we posted this plant on our Facebook page and it created a lot of interest.  Nobody knew what it was. As it turns out it is called Tillandsia Andreana and it  is on sale at Collector’s Corner. They are a very rare plant and at $15 you had better be quick !

Here is some information on Tillandsia – the incredible air plant which is actually an epiphyte – a plant that grows non-parasitically on another plant or sometimes even upon some other object. It gets it’s food and moisture from the air.

Thanks to Collector’s Corner for the following information:

The genus Tillandsia is one of the most unusual group of plants to grow as all of them can be cultivated without soil. They utilise the same leaf cells that allow other bromeliads to feed from the central “vase” to absorb water and other nutrients through their leaves.

Many of these plants come form colder regions making them suitable for growing outdoors in Melbourne in bright filtered light i.e, patios, greenhouses, ferneries and even under trees. Some others will require more protection from the cold and can thus be grown in bright room or glasshouse. Many people stick these amazing plants on a piece of wood, gemstone, etc…to great effect using a suitable glue such as Selleys Gelgrip or a waterproof PVA glue.

The current highlight of the amazing collection at Collectors corner is Tillandsia Andreana. Until now, this has been rare in collections in Australia. This plant is like a pincushion, approximately 8 to 10 cm wide, forming a fluffy little ball. It is little cold tender in Melbourne and surrounding suburbs so we suggest that it be grown indoors over winter. When flowering, the leaf tips blush red and is then followed by a striking red flower which appears in the centre of the plant. Stunning!

This plant makes a perfect specimen for growing on a window ledge in your home or office. Stocks are definitely limited and is best to get in fast for this one.

Some other Tillandsia varieties:

TillandsiaTillandsia recurvifoliaTillandsia display at Collectors Corner

Tillandsia ionantha

Tillandsia ionantha

Agave attenuata – Swan’s Neck Agave

By Justine Warren

Agave atenuata - Swan's Neck Agave

This eye catching specimen was captured almost in full flower at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

It is the Swan’s Neck Agave and named aptly so as you can see from the long arching flower spike.

Agave atenuata - Swan's Neck Agave

Another interesting name for this plant is the Century plant because of the years it can take to produce this stunning flower and as the flower spikes dies off so does the parent plant it came from. Not to worry however as there will be many young shoots waiting patiently at the base of the parent plant to take over the sunny position and fill out the space in no time.

A great feature in any sunny, well-drained garden situation and with some patience, can make for a remarkable statement that will be sure to turn some heads.

Agave atenuata - Swan's Neck Agave


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