Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fruit trees budding in Macedon and Happy Wanderer flowers

Winter is finally coming to end and my fruit trees in Macedon are showing buds. Once again I haven't purchased any fungicide so it looks like my peach and nectarine trees are going to get leaf curl. It's too late to do anything about it now so i'll have to aim for next year in terms of getting any good fruit from them. My apple tree on the other hand will be fine. I got lots of good fruit from it last year. I'll give it a feed soon to try and boost its vigour.

An apple tree bud.

My nectarine tree. It was only planted one year ago so it is still small. It was bare rooted when i got it.

Nectarine buds.

Peach tree flower in bloom.

Below are pictures of my 'Happy Wanderer' climber. The botanical name is Hardenbergia violacea. When flowering it is a beautiful plant and luckily it isn't too invasive. It is an Australian plant and is also known as 'purple coral pea' and 'native lilac'.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Narcissus and other florals in Macedon

All of my Narcissus bulbs in Macedon have finally fired up and I now have a flower or more from each of them. Below is the Narcissus x tazetta 'greats ballade'. It's the type of flower most people would associate with the word 'daffodil' however daffodil is just a common name for the genus Narcissus, so it actually describes all the species under the Narcissus genus. In some of these pictures the sun was shining behind the flowers making them appear they are glowing. Narcissus x tazetta is native to southern Europe.

The next two pictures are of unknown bulbs. I got them in a mixed bulb pack so I'm not sure what they are. The first looks to be Narcissus x jonquila 'paperwhite' and the next plant is called Narcissus x jonquila 'erlicheer'.

Lastly for this post is a picture of my grape hyacinths which have just strated to flower. I bought these at the flower and garden show this year thinking they had large flowers only to find out later that they are small. Anyway I love the shape of them so its not the end of the world. The botanical name for grape hyacinths is Muscari latifolium. A common name for this plant is 'Baby's Breath'. This one is only half open.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Magnificent Melbourne Magnolias

Magnolias are in full flower here in Melbourne. We are planning on planting one in the Parkville garden and I've been scouting them out in peoples front yards. In the species Magnolia x soulangeana the flowers precede leaf growth and although the flowers are relatively short lived, they are definitely worth it for the incredible masses of blooms they can display. Magnolia x soulangeanas are very popular in Melbourne and tend to be planted right in the middle of people's found yards as a focal point of the garden. They are named after French botanist Pierre Magnol and their are several species that occur naturally in East and South East Asia, Eastern North America, Central America, West Indies and some in South America. They evolved before bees and the flowers are designed to encourage pollination by beetles. There is great variance between the species with some of the American Magnolias (eg Magnolia grandiflora) being evergreen and not so heavily or spectacularly flowered as the classic Asian species.

Magnolia x soulangeana planted in a typical fashion for a Melbourne front yard

Below is a cultivar called 'Apollo'. We plan to purchase one for planting in the Parkville garden I work in. It's difficult to appreciate it from the pictures but this cultivar has brighter pinks and more star shaped flowers than the soulangeana

This next one is called Magnolia Liliiflora and is native to Southwest China. It has darker flowers that don't open up as much as the soulangeana hybrid. It's significant in the sense that it is one of the parents of the soulangeana hybrid, the other being Magnolia Denudata. The one I have photographed here is just a young plant, they can grow to 4 metres. It is also known as the 'Tulip Magnolia, Red Magnolia, Lily Magnolia, Purple Magnolia, Mulan Magnolia, Jane Magnolia and the Woody-Orchid'.

Last of all is this massive Magnolia I spotted when driving in Carlton. I'm guessing it's a soulangeana. It has to be the biggest and most heavily flowered one I have ever seen. The buildings behind the tree look to be newer than the tree itself. They must have thought that it was too grand to cut down.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cherry Blossoms in Macedon

A quick post today of this beautiful cherry blossom I found whilst walking in Macedon on the weekend. Cherry blossoms are of the genus Prunus, which includes fruit trees like plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines and apricots. There are several varieties of cherry blossom. It is a tree that is definitely on my 'list of trees to plant in my garden'. The variety I want to grow is Prunus Sargentii.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My garden in Macedon

The climate in the Macedon highlands is cooler than in Melbourne. It is 505m above sea level as opposed to 31m above sea level in the plains that are Melbourne. Today here was no exception, when I was outside at 1pm today it was 3 degrees Celsius! Below is a picture of the same hyacinths that I photographed for my very first blog entry 9 days ago. I moved this pot from Parkville to Macedon around 4 weeks ago. They are from the same bulb stock and are planted identically (ie same potting mix / same type of pot / same density of bulbs per pot). You can see how they have only just opened whereas the ones in Parkville are fully bloomed. I've learnt the hard way (several times) how the climate up here does means certain plants will not grow. On the other hand we have colder climate plants that will grow up here but not in Melbourne.

Narcissus jonquilla (common name jonquil) is a species of daffodil. They are very popular  flowers throughout the Macedon ranges. Like most ornamental bulbs they do not flower for a long time but it is well worth the wait through the year when you see them as spectacular as the ones below. After they stop flowering I may dig some up and replant them elsewhere in my garden. The daffodil festival is coming up soon in Kyneton not far from my home

 Last of all is the floral emblem of Australia the wattle which is of the genus Acacia. To be precise the floral emblem of Australia is the golden wattle Acacia pycnantha. It is known for its golden globular inflorescences and strong perfume. The wattle I have is not pycnantha as it has feathery bipinnate leaves and the golden wattle has more lance shaped leaves. Although it is quite common in Australia I thought I'd mention it as I'm now noticing its yellow flowers from the corner of my eye when I drive home on the freeway.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

National Trust Trees in Fairfield

This Indian fig is listed on the register of significant trees of Victoria. It is located at NMIT tafe college in Fairfield Melbourne Victoria (which is where I study horticulture). Its botanical name is Ficus Palmata. I have always loved the gnarled trunks / branches of fig trees. It faces a northern aspect. On the national trust website it states this tree is 60+ years old.

This Sugar gum tree is also in fairfield and is on the National Trust register. The pictures don't do this tree justice it looks amazing in real life and it's one of my favorite eucalpyts. The tree is huge and is held together with cabling. The botanical name for this tree is Eucalyptus Cladocalyx.  On the national trust website it states this tree is 60+ years old.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Echiums and Bananas in Parkville

Before I started work in Parkville I'd never seen a banana tree with ripe fruit in Melbourne. I've already picked some which were used in a banana cake and now there are some more ripe on the tree. I've noticed another bunch which is behind the main bunch. This tree is on a north facing aspect and close to a wall so it gets lots of sun and warmth from the wall. It's a little hard to discern from my photo but the fruit is quite small.

Today I spotted the first flowers of our huge Echiums blooming. They will look incredible when in full bloom (I will try to remember to post another picture). This particular Echium is called Echium Fastuosum and goes by the common names of 'Pride of Madeira' or 'Echium Candicans'. It only naturally occurs in Madeira which is a Portuguese archipelago. I wish i could grow this at home in Macedon but it is a frost sensitive plant so it wouldn't work there. The masses of flowers that are on display when it is fully blooming means this is not the plant for those with allergies to bees!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Garlic farming in Parkville

Below is a picture of the some of the garlic 'farm' in Parkville. In its entirety is an area of roughly 5 metres x 1.5 metres which we have planted out with different varieties of garlic including;

Early white
Italian white
Early purple
American early white
Italian red
Monaro Purple

The 'Monaro Purple' variety is visually the most dazzling as it has bright purple skin. I am a little worried that the garlic is not going to grow to full size. The stalks are a little thinner than the garlic i have growing at home in Macedon. The Parkville patch of garlic has a little less sun than the patch at home.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What's in the Parkville garden?

After watching and waiting for some time finally our Hyacinths have started flowering. Here are some nice blue and pink ones. They are an amazing plant to watch growing. Previous to flowering i thought they looked like little pine cones poking out of the potting mix.

I was speaking to the head gardener (Michael Dale) from International House in Parkville about plants with brown flowers. Brown is a somewhat rare colour for flowers and Michael mentioned that we have the plant pictured below in the garden. It is a Tulbaghia Capensis plant. I love it's strong and vivid brown flowers. The flowers are really small (roughly 1cm in diameter) and have a spicy night scent! The plant is only about 30cm high.