Amorphophallus titanum more commonly known as the Titan arum.
For over 160 years The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne (RBGM) have provided civic joy for Victorians. For a few days over christmas holidays in 2012-2013, this once in approx 7 year event occurred – the flowering of the famous Titan arum – the worlds largest unbranched inflorescence (large cluster of flowers) on a plant.
Thanks to former guest blogger Robyn Holloway from 3aw, we have these amazing shots of this magnificent flower.
UPDATE: Bonnie-Marie, our 2012 Victorian Apprentice of the year also went – read her first hand experience here. She reported, “Standing easily at 2.5 meters, close to 8.5 feet, it is definitely a stand still moment. When you’re in the presence of such a plant you finally get to understand just how much of an honour it is to see something so beautiful and unique. It really is a once in a life time opportunity. It is hard to comprehend just how quickly this flower forms and then dies, growing at a speed of 10cm per day which is just astonishing! I was able to talk with one of the gardeners and I found out that the tuber weighed 36kg and when you compare that to the record holder of 117kg, it’s mind blowing!”
It is also known as the corpse flower for its rotting stink, but Robyn said, ” No odour yet as the lily is not quite out, however maybe tomorrow.” (reported on 27th December 2012). Of course this odour is to aid pollination by attracting bugs, insects and flies.
The plant comes from Sumatra in Indonesia and is unfortunately a vunerable species because of extensive logging. It can however still be found in mountainous rainforests in the west of the island.
According to the RBGM, since its discovery in 1878 by Italian Odoardo Beccari, prior to 1989 only 21 florweing events had been recorded worldwide in any botanic garden. Since 1989 it has been done another 80 times, reflecting improved horticultural knowledge and practices.
In 2006, This tuber was donated by The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney to The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
Many thanks again to Robyn and Kate for the pictures. There is also a terrific youtube video of the event below.
Arisaema candidissimum is a tuberous perennial which grows to a height of 0.5 -1 meter and also has a spread of 0.5 – 1 meter. The foliage is arranged in ovate leaflets, which sit alongside the impressive flowers. The flowers appear as hooded spathes which are white in colour with pale pink stripes. The flowers don’t carry a sent but hold for an impressive amount of time and they also make beautiful cut flowers. But for me the foliage is what I find the most exciting; the way the foliage is arranged on the long stalks and the green glossy texture of the leaves is very beautiful.
Arisaema candidissimum thrives in well-drained soils with good amounts of organic and humus matter. They prefer to be protected from heavy winds whilst enjoying either part shaded or full sun position. Early spring right through to summer is the main growing season, thus allowing the plant to produce new foliage, flowers and strong new roots. Arisaema candidissimum will go dormant during the winter months, thus resulting in the plant dying back to nothing then re-emerging in the spring.
The tubers don’t like to be water logged, due to the possible chance of rot. But if they become excessively dry they can remain dormant. It is best to start watering when they show signs of growth towards the end of the winter season.
If you ever wish to divide these tubers its best to do so in late winter to early spring, because this will reduce the chances of rot and it’s the prime time for the growth. Once you have divided the tubers use some Seasol or Plant Starter to help encourage new roots and some growth. But just remember Seasol in not a fertilizer it’s a plant tonic, so it’s fantastic when transplanting or establishing new plants.
If you have the Arisaema candidissimum planted in a pot it is best to use a slow realise fertilizer that will give a good feed for about 3-4 months. If they are planted in the ground the best form of feed to use would be a liquid fertilizer diluted in water. When mulching make sure to mulch lightly around the plant and don’t smother the plant, if the mulch is applied to heavily it may cause rotting.
The lucky thing about these plants is that they aren’t known to suffer from diseases or pest all that often. The only pest that can cause them to look a little sad is slugs and snails, but by placing down sawdust or by using snail pellets you can deter or kill off these pests, but if you have any pets make sure to get the animal friendly repellent (Multiguard Snail and Slug pellets).
Currently we have the Arisaema candidissimum in the nursery in 8”, 20cm, pots priced at $24.95. I recommend that you come down and have a look at these wonderful plants.
If you are looking for anideal plant to grow in dry shade then I have the perfect suggestion for you, it’s the Arthropodium cirratum or commonly known as the NZ Rock Lily.
A native of NZ this plant is a clump forming perennial with lush green strap-like foliage. It grows approximately 85cm high x 1 metre wide and it thrives in filtered sun to part shade and very tolerant of dry conditions. The beautiful feature of this plant are the masses of delicate clusters of nodding white flowers with soft pink buds above the lovely foliage during spring.
Having my own garden that is very shaded with many well established deciduous and evergreen trees I was having challenges growing anything beneath them until I gave the Arthropodium a chance. To me it was like discovering gold, it thrived so much that most of my garden now consists of mass plantings of the Arthropodium underneath all my large trees. The impact of them when they are in flower is so impressive that passer-bys approach me to ask what the plant is called.
Once established they rarely need water in such a competitive environment. I fertilise them each spring and they need their old bottom leaves removed a couple of times a year. The one and only disadvantage is that the snails love their fresh new foliage especially after rain but that is easily rectified by a sprinkling of Multicrop Snail Bait amongst the foliage. This plant will reward you unconditionally in what can at times be a difficult spot. Enjoy.
“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!
You’ve got to love a good dahlia. I have fond memories of visiting the Dahlia Show at the Mount Waverly town hall every February and wondering how they get these “dinner plate” sized flowers. Those very good growers are thinking about their dahlias right now. It’s all about planning ahead, preparing the soil and becoming a brother or sister to these stately plants.
How is it that something as ugly as a tuber can grow into a vivid lime green foliaged plant of over a metre in height that can have an abundance of 10 to 20cm sized magnifcant double flowered blooms I guess it is the wonders of nature at work.
one ugly looking tuber - this one could be divided
Rankins, who are a nursery famous for their roses, including the very fine performing French Delbard Roses have now released over 10 varieties of Delbard dahlia tubers. These French beauties are unique and dazzling with flamboyant explosions of colour and shapes. Repeat flowering, Delbard Dahlias are tough, dry-tolerant and love our hot Australian Summers.
Plant tubers between August and December in a sunny position. Incorporate a liberal amount of organic material including blood and bone and chicken manure. The best place is protected from the wind.
Plant the ugly tuber 10-15cm deep with the crown up. If planting in rows, space plants about 60cm apart. Mulch well after planting..
Like many flowering plants, pick the first few flowers for the vase and this will encourage a bushier plant and promote more flowering. Expect flowering all summerand well into Autumn. Staking may help support the plant, especially during windy days.
Feed throughout the summer. In late autumn the plant will begin to yellow. Cut down the stems to 10cm from the ground. Tubers can be dug up and divided every 2 to 3 years and stored in a cool dry place for storage until the next planting season.
Around and around so nature goes, and this time, she turns an ugly duckling into a ravishing beauty.
These plants are turning heads in our nursery right now. They include the new Winter Royalty Collection. It is certainly an apt name for this series because these stately flowers do have an air of grandness about them.
Hellebore Winter Sunshine
Winter Royalty Collection
6 in the series
Not only are they flowering, so you can see the colours, but they are in bigger pots than the normal 140 mm ones which means you get big chunky plants. The Winter Sunshine pictured above seems to start off pink and then turn more predominately cream. Searching for something truly special for your garden this winter? For those seeking a classic, elegant look ‘Penny’s Pink’ is the answer. The beautiful new hellebore has certainly earned its place in the Winter Royalty Collection. These unique flowers are a unique dome shape, and adorn the plant throughout winter and early spring. It is quite simply a stunning variety.
Hellebore Penny's Pink
Hellebore prefer a shadier position and grow quite well under trees. In mid winter I cut the old leaves off and it looks like there is nothing there. However under the ground there are a mass of buds and new leaves ready to almost immediately pop out. That is when you get these glorious antique flowers.
Apart from the Winter Royalty collection, have a look at some of the other beauties below.
I was out in the garden and something yellow caught my eye. I discovered one of my Acacia baileyana, (common name Cootamundra Wattle), in flower. Estimating; I believe my tree is to a height of 4 meters tall and has a width of 3 meters. (Acacia’s are amongst the FABACEAE family, which is also made up of three sub-families.)
The foliage has what I call an ash green or even a silver blue colouring and pinnate leaves. The bark is smooth and dark brown, with a trunk diameter of 20cm.
Now, the most eye-catching, beautiful and magical thing about this tree is its inflorescent yellow flower chains. Globular flowers make up these impressive clusters of yellow. The flowers almost resemble a pom-pom with the amount of showy stamens, and only reach a length of 8mm in size.
If you are on the lookout for these trees they are usually found in the natural bushland and sometimes in nature reserves, or in your own backyard.
Last Saturday saw Diana Fickling from the Rose Society. Diana says, “pruning is a very important part of rose care, for without correct pruning, over time the plant’s flowering capacity will diminish”.
A good turn out enjoyed the intricate pruning and sawing techniques and seemed to leave a lot more confidence on how they would tackle their own roses this year.
If you haven’t been able to see one of the demonstrations, don’t be too worried as you can’t really do much damage to your roses by pruning, so why not have a go. Not only will it be good for the rose, it will also portray a neat and tidy look in your garden.
Make sure you remove any leaves off the ground as they may be harbouring black spot spores which will jump onto your new growth. If you had black spot problems with all the wet weather this year, consider using lime sulphur on your roses whilst they have no leaves on them over the winter.
When you see some new growth after winter, give them a good feed and they will be off and growing for a whole new season. They will be invigorated !
there was a big turnout for the 1.30 session
The next rose pruning sessions will be held at Gardenworld Nursery on July 7th at 11 am and 1.30 pm. The sessions are free and there is no need to book – just turn up on the day and you are guaranteed to learn something new about the wonderful plant called the rose.
Speaking of new, many of our new season roses have now arrived and are available for sale. There are some awesome varieties, including One Love.
Growers Notes : this little gem flowers continuously over glossy green foliage. the ageing smokey purple in the flower will be more dominant in warmer temps, holding more pink tones in cooler weather. no doubt One Love will be different for everybody .
Gardenworld would have to be like a lolly shop for mums. All week we have had ooohs and aaahs from mums who have visited the store.
Sure we have beautiful tea towels and mugs, but it is always the living gifts that walk out the door first.
A flowering pot plant lasts so much longer than a bunch of flowers.
Water the base of the plant and keep the flowers dry and they will flower for twice as long. Cyclamen like going out into the cold so would love the back patio where they would flower for months.
It’s not just cyclamens and chrysanthemums either. There are also flowering begonias, tulips, hyacinths, and the new Euphorbia Lipstick. An early favourite seems to be the hyacinths. It must be their alluring fragrance.
We have gift wrapped stock ready to go, or come in and wrap your own at our free wrapping station.
It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday and here are a few pictures of some of our treats. Enjoy !
Tulips will love the cold temperatures forecast for Mothers Day.
These tuberous begonias will flower for months.
Gift wrapped hyacinths are walking out !
This pink flamingo is handmade using thousands of beads.
Cyclamen are still one of the favourites.
These beautiful terrariums make a very classy gift.
Last but not least - the traditional chrysantheMUMS !