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Thursday, 24 June 2021
Narcissus jonquilla (Jonquil, Rush daffodil) is a bulbous flowering plant, a species of Narcissus (daffodil) that is native to southwestern Europe and northern Africa, but has naturalised throughout Europe and the United States. It bears long, narrow, rush-like leaves (hence the name "jonquil", Spanish junquillo, from the Latin juncus = "rush"). It is in the Amaryllidaceae family of plants.
In Spring it bears heads of up to 5 scented yellow or white flowers. It is a parent of numerous varieties within Division 7 of the horticultural classification. Division 7 in the Royal Horticultural Society classification of Narcissus includes N. jonquilla and N. apodanthus hybrids and cultivars that show clear characteristics of those two species. N. jonquilla has been cultivated since the 18th century in France as the strongest of the Narcissus species used in Narcissus Oil, a component of many modern perfumes.
Thursday, 17 June 2021
Crassula ovata, commonly known as jade plant, friendship tree, lucky plant, money plant or money tree, is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers. It is native to South Africa and Mozambique, and is common as a houseplant worldwide. Much of its popularity stems from the low levels of care needed; the jade plant requires little water and can survive in most indoor conditions. It is sometimes referred to as the money tree; however, Pachira aquatica also has this nickname.
The jade plant is an evergreen with thick branches. It has thick, shiny, smooth leaves that grow in opposing pairs along the branches. Leaves are a rich jade green, although some may appear to be more of a yellow-green. Some varieties may develop a red tinge on the edges of leaves when exposed to high levels of sunlight. New stem growth is the same colour and texture as the leaves. Although becoming brown and appearing woody with age, stems never become true lignified tissue, remaining succulent and fleshy throughout the plant's life.
Under the right conditions, they may produce small white or pink, star-like shaped flowers in the Autumn/early Winter. Numerous varieties and cultivars have been selected, of which C. ovata 'Hummel's Sunset' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. In Melbourne this is a common garden plant, which becomes a substantial bush and it will invariably bloom spectacularly in early Winter. The plant below is in our garden.
Thursday, 10 June 2021
Ornamental cabbage and kale (also known as “flowering” cabbage and kale) are in the same species (Brassica oleracea) as edible cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. While ornamental cabbage and kale are edible, they tend to have a bitter flavour and are often used in a culinary setting as garnishes. Ornamental cabbage and kale are prized primarily as colourful additions to home gardens where they are grown for their large rosettes of white, pink, purple or red leaves.
Technically, ornamental cabbage and kale are all kales (kales produce leaves in a tight rosettes; cabbages produce heads). But in the horticultural trade, ornamental kale is the term used for types with deeply-cut, curly, frilly or ruffled leaves. Ornamental cabbage is the term used for types with broad, flat leaves that are edged in a contrasting colour. Ornamental cabbage and kale grow approximately 30 cm and 45 cm tall. There are many cultivars that are commercially available.
Thursday, 3 June 2021
Thursday, 27 May 2021
The pomegranate, Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall. Native to the area of modern day Iran and Iraq, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as well as the Himalayas in Northern India. Today, it is widely cultivated throughout Turkey, Iran, Syria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, China, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, the drier parts of southeast Asia, the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe, and tropical Africa.
Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production. In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February. In the Southern Hemisphere, the pomegranate is in season from March to May. Melbourne's mild climate is particularly well-suited to this tree and many fine specimens can be seen gracing the front and back yards of houses, especially those belonging to immigrants from the countries where the pomegranate is widespread
The pomegranate has been mentioned in many ancient texts, notably the Book of Exodus, the Homeric Hymns and the Quran. In recent years, it has reached mainstream prominence in the commercial markets of North America and the Western Hemisphere. Its health benefits are numerous and it finds widespread culinary uses.
Thursday, 20 May 2021
Thursday, 13 May 2021
Dahlia imperialis or Bell tree dahlia is an 8-10 metre tall member of the Dahlia genus native to Mexico, Central America and Colombia. It is a plant of the uplands and mountains, occurring at elevations of 1,500–1,700 metres, and its leaves are used as a dietary supplement by the Q'eqchi' people of San Pedro Carchá in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
It is a tuberous, herbaceous perennial, rapidly growing from the base after a dormant winter period, developing brittle, cane-like, 4-angled stems with swollen nodes and large tripinnate leaves, those near the ground soon being shed. The pendant or nodding flowerheads are 75-150mm across with ray florets lavender or mauvish-pink in colour.
This species is fast-growing, the growth spurt being linked to shorter daylight hours, and usually comes into flower in autumn before the first frost. Propagation is by seed or by stem cuttings of some 30 cm long having at least two nodes, laid horizontally below the soil. Some Dahlia species were brought from Mexico to Europe in the 16th century. D. imperialis was first described in 1863 by Benedikt Roezl (1823–1885), the great Czech orchid collector and traveller, who, ten years later in 1872–73, went on his odyssey through the Americas.