Category Archive: Flowers

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.


Nasturtium the urban rambler.

By James Wall

Yes the nasturtium is a bit of a rambler, or a roamer. I like to think of it as a plant  that likes a bit of a wander. It is a fast growing annual plant that comes from Peru and Ecuador in South America. It has large round leaves and red to orange or shades of yellow trumpet like flowers. It doesn’t need much fertiliser and in fact too much manure and it will go all leafy and not flower much at all. It can be grown all year, but will flower mainly in Spring to Autumn.

It would make a good plant for a kinder garden, as the large seeds are easy to direct sow into the garden and will germinate in just a couple of weeks. The growth of the seedling is then quite rapid, something somewhat impatient children will appreciate.

Seedlings can also be planted, with the two main varieties available being ‘Jewel Mix’ which is more sprawly, and ‘Alaska Mix’ which is more compact and has variegated leaves. In seed packs there are more unusual varieties which include single colours and double flowers.

A big claim to fame for this plant is that it has edible flowers which are used to colour up salads. The seeds and leaves are also edible and even though I can’t say I have cooked with them yet, many chefs around the world have incorporated them into foods such as pesto, where they apparently add a peppery taste. Funny, watercress have round leaves and they’re a little peppery too.

One of the traits of this plant is that it easily self seeds, which means it can take control of parts of your garden, competing staunchly against other plants, so much so it is considered to be an environmental weed in some regions. That makes it a great city plant, but maybe it shouldn’t be grown in a country garden. It can be controlled by pulling out young seedlings, or digging deeper to remove larger ones. It still may come up a couple more times,  but persistently removing it will eventually stop it.

Fond memories for me, are balls of water that form on the leaves. Yes, it is probably the leaf of this plant that I like more than the flower. They are an interesting shape and a rather appealing mat green.

Some may find the nasturtium creepy, but for me, it is the true urban rambler.

Image by Kim Woods RabbidgeBotanical name: Tropaeolum majus

Fairy Magnolia Cream – fragrant early spring flowers.

This stunner of a plant is looking at its absolute best right now ! Fairy Magnolia Cream (Also available is Fairy Magnolia Blush). What we love about it is that the half open flowers look like a tight tulip, but then open into a gorgeous lush flower.

This Tesselaar plant release has masses of creamy fragrant flowers. It is an evergreen variety, but being more a shrub than a tree, it won’t get as big as a Little Gem magnolia. It will still get 3 to 4 metre after around 7 years, but it is not a big thick trunked plant, and it could be pruned to be much shorter than that. It can be trained to one leader, or trimmed so to branch more as a bush. It is quite an elegant grower, and at this time of year has fragrant cream flowers up to 6cm wide. It will flkower through to November and may even spot flower throughout the year.

Fabulous for hedges but can also be espaliered, or used in topiary. It would make a great specimen plant either ina pot or in the ground. The plant will tolerate a wide range of conditions once established, and benefits from moderate moisture when establishing. Can tolerate temperatures of up to 45 deg C down to -10 deg C. Plant 1 metre apart to create a hedge and up to 1.5 metres apart for a looser screen. Flowers from September to November, with spot flowering throughout the year. It will take sun and partial shade which makes it a most adaptable plant.(doltsopa x Yunnanensis x figo cross)

Beautiful Bouvardia longiflora humboldtii

First published on The Gardener’s Notebook by Bonnie-Marie Hibbs

Today I thought I would share with you one of my all-time favourite plants, Bouvardia longiflora humboldtii. 

There are many reasons why not only I but many gardeners love this plant in particular. Bouvardia.L. humboldtii is a very attractive plant; it has beautiful lush green leaves that are a great contrast against most other plants. The pure white flowers form in clusters all over the shrub, forming summer – autumn. The main attraction for most people and the main reason why these plants are so popular is the fragrance that is produced when these shrubs are in flower.  Most of the Bouvardia genus originates from North America and South America and are a part of the Rubiaceae family. However, this species of Bouvardia in particular is native to Mexico. Bouvardia .L. humboldtii is a small growing shrub that grows to a maximum height of 1.5 meters and 1 meter wide.

Bouvardia humboldtii can be planted in full sun to semi-shade but requires a sheltered position from strong winds. It can also tolerate small frosts but may get tip burn on the foliage if it’s still young. Once these plants are established they are fairly hardy and resistant against frosts. Make sure to prune your Bouvardia humboldtii at the start of spring to encourage compact healthy growth otherwise prune once they have finished flowering. Feed with a complete ‘all-purpose fertilizer’ such as ‘Uplift’ from Yates in spring when new growth will start to emerge, and feed them once more when the flower buds appear in late spring. Well drained soil is best suited for Bouvardia humboldtii. If you have clay soil, mix some organic compost into the soil as this will help with water retention and loosen up the soil, making it easier for the plant’s roots to grow.

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"

Protea in vogue

Fresh into the Nursery this week and something to brighten your winter garden are these stunning plants from one of Australia’s leading production nurseries and protea specialists for more than 30years, Proteaflora. 

Proteas and other members of the proteaceae family are making a big come back after many years of neglect, mostly due to poor landscape placement and design style.  

There are so many new and fabulous species to choose from now that they lend themselves to many different landscape design applications.  

This Leucadendron salignum ‘Red Devil’ is a compact shrub only growing to 1.5m high and 1m wide.  The seasonal colour variation from Red Devil is at its best in winter as you can see.

Red Devil

Another member of the same group of plants is the lesser known, but just as stunning, Serruria florida ‘Blushing Bride’ and ‘Pretty n Pink’.  These dainty long lasting flowers make for beautiful potted specimens and would compliment the cutest of cottage gardens,  something you would previously not have thought a place for any Proteaceae species.  


Some other new comers to the Nursery are the Mimetes ‘Crackerjack Red’.  These are in full bloom at the moment, showcasing an unusual white fluffy bell shaped flower.


We have great supply of the Aulax ‘Bronze Haze’ that was a show stopper in the feature gardens at Melbourne Flower Show earlier this year.  Protea ‘Little Prince’ in a range of different sizes and the larger stock is in full bud, just waiting to burst open and show off its large stately blooms. 

Later to come once the warmer weather is upon us will be the Leucospermums and the iconic Waratahs. 

Gardenworld recommend you follow these 6 easy steps for growing Proteas:

1- Full Sun: Most types will benefit from a warm North facing position with the expection being some Waratahs.

2- Low Water: After an initial 18 months or so of establishment, your proteas will require little watering, mostly light summer watering but little to no winter waterings.

3- Frost Tolerant: While needing slight protection while young, all varieties will tolerate light frosts down to -1, which is great for melbourne conditions.

4- Well Drained Soils: proteas need well drained Acidic soils to thrive. When planting in heavier soils, add a little gypsum to the soil and mound your planting area to create height and aid in drainage.

5- Low to No Fertilizer: When planting in the garden, Proteas would benefit from a once a year application of a slow release feed, however most wont mind going without. When grown in containers, use a Native potting mix and add a Native slow release once a year also.

6- Pruning: From a young age to keep a good shape, cut all flowers and prune to desired shape immediately after flowering.

Autumn Rose Spectacular in full bloom.

After two beautiful days of weekend weather, we are recovering from one of our biggest events of the year – our rose show.

The quality of blooms were top quality and thanks goes out to The Rose Society, Nieuwesteeg Roses,  Black Marvel Rose Food, Grow Better and  Neutrog for their support.

Special thanks to The Rose Society. Without their expert advice and home grown roses, we would not have a show.

Here are some pictures of the show. Enjoy the blooms!



Dame Elisabeth Murdoch


City Of Newcastle


Giant flowering Titan arum in Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

Amorphophallus titanumAmorphophallus 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.

Amorphophallus titanum

Have you seen Arisaema ?

By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs

ARACEAE Arisaema candidissimum

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.




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