Category Archive: Flowers

Kitagawa Village “Monet’s Garden” Japan.

By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs.

I have been very fortunate over the years to explore many gardens throughout Japan. This was my seventh time to Japan and you would think after this many visits that I would have seen it all. But the wonderful thing about the gardens, parks and landscapes in Japan is that they are always breathtakingly beautiful. You can never get tired looking at the scenery in this part of the world. However, on this trip I wanted to stay further away from the big bustling cities. I hid in small mountainous town surrounded by stunning views and sapphire rivers; this town is called Otoyo-Cho which is located in Nagaoka District, Kochi Prefecture.

During my time in Otoyo I spent a lot of my time adventuring out on long day drives to explore temples, shrines and a few gardens. One of the most memorable gardens I visited was in Kitagawa Village called ‘Monet’s Garden’. This garden was a 3 hour drive from where I was staying, and after a long car drive I was excited to get out and explore.

These gardens have been inspired and designed to recreate Monet’s “Water Lilies” garden. The water lilies are the star in many of his famous paintings. The large pond is the main attraction which draws gardeners from all across Japan to come visit. The colourful blooms of the water lilies sit proudly atop of the water surface, which are best viewed during the day before the flowers close in the evening. The gardens sit nestled amongst the mountains and the rolling hills add another layer to the romantic and tranquil atmosphere of this garden.

Every garden-bed border was smothered in colourful blooms such as Viola, Sweat Pea, Oenothera, Achillea, Poppies and many more amazing plants! The Hippeastrums flowers were the size of dinner plates and the vibrancy of the flowers were unbelievable! If you find yourself in this part of the world I would highly recommend taking the time to take a look at this garden and take in the beautiful scenery.

By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs – the Gardeners Notebook

Top 10 “Must Have” Camellia varieties.

By Kevin Mankey with James Wall.

Ok, after much debate, here are our top 10 favourite camellias. Actually we couldn’t decide out of 12 !

This wonderful range of plants only get better with age. They are easy to grow, low allergenic and simply rewarding plants.

Camellia’s also provide that splash of colour during the winter when so many other plants are dormant.

Sasanqua and Japonica are two of the main types. Sasanquas flower earlier and are better suited to hedging and espaliering whereas Japonicas are larger leaved, flower later and won’t tolerate as sunny a conditions. Both types have there place in the garden.

Sasanqua Camellias

Yuletide – Compact grower, small dark green foliage, single scarlet red flowers with permanent yellow stamens.

Paradise Blush – Deep rosy pink buds which open to white semi double flowers. Flowers over a long period.

Setsugekka – Large white single flowers, with wavy petals. Prominent yellow stamens in centre. Good screening or espalier variety.

Avalanche – “Slimline” variety growing 2-3m high x 1.2m wide. Ideal for narrow garden beds. Large double white flower with a hint of perfume. Long flowering season.

Bonanza – Striking deep red variety with large semi-paeony flowers with wavy fluted petals. Dense, upright grower.

Sweet Jane – A hybrid bred in Australia and said to be the one of longest flowering camellias. Flower is  a small, soft pink semi double, opening to pale pink, and ageing to almost white.

Japonica & Other Hybrids

Desire – Formal double long lasting blooms of soft pink with deeper pink outer petals. Strong, upright shrub with lush foliage.

Debbie – Bold rosy-pink fully double blooms on an upright growing shrub. Great as a hedge in semi-shaded areas.

Grand Marshall – Vivid red large informal double. Strong upright growth habit ideal for hedging and screening up to 3m.

Brushfields Yellow – Late flowering variety with medium sized “antique white” flowers which have a ruffled primrose yellow boss of petaloids in the centre. Great for pots.

Volunteer – Deep rich pink anemone flowers are variegated on each petal with a white edge. A truly unique variety named to commemorate the International Year of Volunteers in 2001. Bred in New Zealand.

Dona Herzilia De Frietas Magalhaes – Mid season blooming variety with unique anemone style flowers which are reddish maroon in colour with an unusual violet shade.

A Garden Club in May

By James Wall.

Last night I was privileged to visit the Springvale Garden Club’s monthly meeting.  If you don’t think much is going on in the garden in May, then have a look at the plethora of entries that the judge had to sift through last night.

Not only was the number of categories impressive, but the little signs were also very cool.

These photos were taken during judging, so not all the first prizes had been awarded. You be the judge yourself, and decide what you like:

flower of the monthThe flower of the month was of course yellow. The vireya rhododendron on the left therefore could not qualify as it contained some orange.

fruitThose japanese mandarins were massive and the raspberries tasted sweet as (I was fortunate to get a couple later on).

Chives, parsley and garlic chives made up the herb section.

floristryThere was some amazing floristry done, including the all natural boat below that was made in the end of a palm frond.

boatThese specimens were looking pretty good !

The pot plants of cacti and succulents were interesting as were the pot plants of foliage below.

The flowering shrubs and berries were colourful, and the superb grevillea ‘Apricot Glow’ on the right took out first prize.

A close up of an interesting zygopetalum orchid.

The competion in the cut flowers category was tight, but the freshly flowered bromeliad took out he award. See the close up below.

We finish with the table that created a lot of interest and it was of course called ‘Something Of Interest’. What you do is bring along something that you know what it is, and you educate other people. What a great idea. Thanks for all these photos goes out to the members of the Springvale Garden Club, May meeting 2016.

Gloriosa Lily Seed Pod

Hippeastrum seed pod - red

 

Scarlet runner bean seeds

 

Gumnut in stages.

Garden Clubs alive and well.

By James Wall.

Garden Clubs seem to be having a resurgence. Last week I spoke at the Frankston Garden Club and there was a good turnout of at least 40 odd members. A couple of days later I was at the Mill Park Garden Club and there were even more people. It was a long time since I had spoken there  – a quick check of the visitors book showed I was the fifth ever speaker at the club back in 1995 ! A bit scary hey. It was a hive of activity with books, display table, raffles and of course excellent treats to go with a cuppa at the end.

Today I also visited the Melbourne Begonia Society Show at Moorabbin. By 10 am there were 150 people jostling to buy the beautiful specimens on sale. I was amazed at some of the leaf patterns and the sheer variety of plants on display.

After the begonia show it was off to Mount Waverly to visit the State Dahlia Show. This was a little less raucous than the begonia show which befitted the stately elegance of these pompous florals. It was also well attended and just goes to show that plant societies and garden clubs are alive and well. Why don’t you consider joining one near you?

Begonia gehrtii from Brazil

packed at the Begonia Show

Tuberous begonias on sale.

My favourite begonia.

Dahlias in red shades.

Zinnia becomes the first to flower in outer space.

Ahhh, this time of year the zinnia’s love the warm Melbourne weather. If its cold and wet, they very quickly succumb to some bacterial spots on the leaves. Warm days and enough water however and zinnias thrive.

But now, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has tweeted images of the first flower to be grown in space – and its an orange zinnia !

“First ever flower grown in space makes its debut,” he tweeted.

However, growing the plants were not without their problems. On December 28, Mr Kelly tweeted a picture of the flowers in distress.

After tending to the plants over the holiday period, two zinnia plants died, and the remaining two continued to thrive.

On January 8, Mr Kelly posted an image of the impressive turnaround and tiny buds beginning to sprout. He tweeted, Some of my space flowers are on the rebound! No longer looking sad! #YearInSpace

NASA said the zinnia flower was chosen because it can help scientists understand how plants flower and grow in microgravity, not for its beauty.

 The space agency said growing flowering crop is more challenging than vegetative crop, and the issues faced by Mr Kelly presented a good learning opportunity for scientists.

Garden Event worth waiting for – Geranium maderense

A Garden Event worth waiting for. By Kevin Mankey.

Over the last month I have been watching with anticipation the formation of a giant head of flowers on an old favourite plant in my garden, Geranium maderense. This is a very old species of geranium classified as a “true geranium” differentiating it from the many modern hybrid varieties in cultivation today.

As the name suggests, Geranium maderense hails from the island of Madiera on the north- west coast of Africa. It is a sub-tropical climate with relatively low rainfall and a rocky, craggy landscape. I first encountered this plant whilst touring in the UK back in the late 1980’s. It was growing on St. Michaels Mount, a tiny island land mass off the Cornish coast where an old monastery is now a tourist attraction only accessible at low tide. When I returned to Melbourne I was determined to find this rare beauty to try and grow it for myself but at that time it was barely known here in Australia. By good fortune I was able to get hold of a seedling from a friend who worked in a large private collectors garden in Toorak and my fascination for the plant has continued to grow ever since.

Geranium maderense is a giant among geraniums, growing to a height of 120-150cm tall by 120cm wide. It is a mound forming evergreen perennial (meaning it does not go into dormancy) with deeply divided hand sized lush green leaves. The foliage alone is textural and interesting but it is the huge flower head that is the real head turner. From early spring a giant beach ball sized head of purplish pink florets, each approximately 3cm across explodes like a firework and is a stunning sight. Each little floret has a dark purplish throat and is covered in tiny inflorescent hairs all along the stem which glisten in the sunlight. The anticipation of these huge flower heads is the sort of thing that tests a gardeners’ patience as it takes two years for a young seed grown plant to reach flowering maturity.

Another unique feature of this plant is the formation of props by the lower, older leaf stalks (petioles) which turn downwards toward the ground and serve to prop up the heavy stem whilst also returning water to the root zone around the plant. This is probably an evolutionary adaptation resulting from the poor quality soils where the plant comes from and the fact that it has a surprisingly small root system comparative to the plants’ size.

Geranium maderense makes a stunning addition to a garden and looks especially pleasing when planted in drifts under the canopy of overhanging trees. It does best when protected from afternoon sun and prefers a well drained loamy soil with moderate water requirements.

Unfortunately it is not an easy plant to find in nurseries as there are hardly any growers who produce it. This puts it in the “collectors plant” category so don’t be frustrated if you can’t find it easily. You may stumble upon it one day and I guarantee the wait will be worth it.

Australian designer awarded medal at Chelsea.

For those without pay television, you may never have heard of Charlie Albone. He is a Sydney based Landscape Designer who is also one of the hosts of a TV show called Selling Houses Australia. Basically they do up a house, and his job is to fix up the garden – on a budget.

This time in real life however, this garden was on a different kind of budget! Charlie went to the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show and created a stunning little garden called, ‘The Time In Between’. His design as a space to tell his late father about his life since his passing. It is a space to reflect, contemplate, celebrate and enjoy life. His father died when he was 17.

The garden was awarded a Silver Gilt medal which is just one down from a gold. As you can see by these photos from the Royal Horticultural Society, the standard of workmanship and quality of plants in this garden were absolutely top quality and reinforces the exceptional standards that Australians set when they enter The Chelsea Flower Show.

The first section of the garden celebrates life with beautiful and romantic planting; the water feature in the next section reflects the emotions felt at the loss of someone close, as it can empty in a matter of seconds; and the rear of the garden is an intimate space to sit, connect and communicate with loved ones. The flowers include white aquilegia, purple iris and purple balls of allium or a flowering type of onion which look magnificent.

Although Charlie is an aussie now (we’ll claim him after this for sure) he actually was born in Hong Kong, Charlie and then moved to the UK when he was 12 years old. It was here that he developed a keen interest in landscapes and gardens. On leaving school, he landed a job maintaining the grounds of an English country manor. With no formal qualifications, he learnt on the job and worked for many UK landscaping companies before coming to Australia on a working holiday 12 years ago. He fell in love with the country and decided to further his education by gaining a Diploma In Horticulture And Landscape Design.

Congratulations Charlie. See his garden at the Chelsea website, or his own website Charlie at Chelsea.

photo copyright by kuva

A new florist to welcome in Mother’s Day.

It is with absolute pleasure that we introduce our new florist Blair Edwards to Gardenworld.

Blair has a passion for flowers and has been putting together beautiful bouquets here since January. Prior to that he had a florist in Chelsea, so is well know by some of our regulars.

He studied under Dot Humphris and has also featured works in The Melbourne Flower Show and has done wedding, funeral and corporate work. You can also buy simple bunches and arrangements at good value prices. There is also a range of vases, soft toys, cards and works by featured artists on display.

So if it is a big bunch of flowers you are after, Gardenworld Designer Florist is now open at Gardenworld. Open every day between now and Mother’s Day.

Hours after Mothers Day: 9am – 5pm Thursday to Monday. Although closed Tuesday and Wednesday, bunches will still be available for purchase from the nursery.

Hanging baskets at the 2015 Melbourne Flower Show

Once again the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) held their hanging basket competition at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show. This event is not really about winning, it’s more about participation and creativity. Gardeners start with a basket which they pick up at their local nursery. Gardenworld alone had some 30 entrants. They each have about 3 months to turn theirs into their own backyard masterpiece. Getting it right for the event is all part of the challenge.

The RHS members are all volunteers and without them, this event would simply not exist. Thankyou wonderful people, for all that you do, especially all that work in netting the plants each night to keep the possums at bay !

Here are some of our favourites, in no particular order:

Pansy flowers perfect as a garnish.

If the food in The Gardenworld Cafe was not already delicious by itself, today it was beautifully garnished by our chefs. They have used freshly picked pansies – plants from the viola family. Pansy flowers are actually edible and are sometimes seen in salads,along with other edible flowers such as nasturtiums and calendula. This time they have combined them with sprigs of rosemary, to make the perfect garnish. It is a simple idea for your next dinner party.

The cafe is open 9 to 5, seven days a week and has a huge range of both sweet and savoury dishes, The sausage rolls and gourmet pies are baked in house, along with most of the main meals. The selection of cakes includes an amazingly tasty vanilla slice !

Pansies also make great pressed flowers which can be used on gift cards. Of course the big old phone books used to be perfect for this, but you ca also buy a flower press.

Pansies are in full flower right now, but you won’t find that many for sale in the nursery because the little seedlings are best planted the autumn and winter to be flowering at their best right now. You can buy them in advanced pots for some instant colour.

Update: In 2015 edible flowers are a growing industry and much of the demand is being driven by high end restaurants such as The Fat Duck while it is here in Australia. Read about a successful edible flower grower on the ABC website.

 

Local Tip: Get to the cafe before 12.15 for lunch and you are almost guaranteed a seat. For large groups, bookings are advised. Call Dani on 9769 1019.

 

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