Tuesday 30 December 2014


Introduced by Delbard in 1997 and sharing the name of Prince Rainier of Monaco, the Grimaldi rose leaves a lasting impression of exceptionally elegant beauty – delicate but strong.

This robust and highly disease-resistant shrub rose which flowers from season start to season end and all the way in between, is a magnificent sight when planted in groups so that the flowering bracts can be supported and pushed upwards by each other.

Not caring about what the weather is, this magnificent shrub rose grows easily to 1.5 mts and 1.2 mts wide and just continues to produce branching canes of deep green foliage loaded with single, open and lightly fragrant blooms which, when cut, are very long-lasting in the vase. Grimaldi is ideal for planting as a rose hedge-row, certainly en masse and should be pruned accordingly – with a mechanical hedger or shears.

This post is part of the Nature Footsteps Floral Macros meme,
and also part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Thursday 25 December 2014


Moss rose, Portulaca grandiflora, is a drought and heat tolerant annual native to hot, dry plains in Argentina, southern Brazil, and Uruguay. This herbaceous plant in the purslane family (Portulacaceae) is cultivated throughout the world as a garden annual for its showy flowers that bloom all summer long with little care. It is related to the weed purslane (P. oleracea), and like that plant has escaped to naturalise in some parts of the country on roadsides and in waste places. In the ornamental industry moss rose may be listed as P. oleracea, P. umbraticola or P. grandiflora, but many cultivars are likely hybrids.

The saucer-shaped, rose-like flowers are produced on the stem tips, held facing up above the foliage, opening from buds that resemble little popcorn kernels. They are only open in bright sunlight, closing at night and on cloudy days, but most of the newer hybrids will remain open throughout the day.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 18 December 2014


Dahlia Mystic™ Enchantment is a striking dark-leaved flower. Dahlias are old-fashioned favourites for the flower garden. Plants are usually treated as tender perennials, the tubers lifted in the fall and stored indoors for the winter. This selection from the Mystic™ series, features stunning purple-black foliage with a great show of starry single orange-red flowers with a gold-brown eye. Midsized habit. Excellent in containers and in the border. Be on the lookout for aphids and spider mites, and control these as soon as noticed. Terrific for cutting.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 11 December 2014


Sambucus (elder or elderberry) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Adoxaceae. It was formerly placed in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, but was reclassified due to genetic evidence. It contains between 5 and 30 species of deciduous shrubs, small trees and herbaceous perennial plants.

The genus occurs in temperate to subtropical regions of the world. More widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, its Southern Hemisphere occurrence is restricted to parts of Australasia and South America. Many species are widely cultivated for their ornamental leaves, flowers and fruit.

The leaves are pinnate with 5–9 leaflets (rarely 3 or 11). Each leaf is 5–30 cm long, and the leaflets have serrated margins. They bear large clusters of small white or cream-coloured flowers in late spring; these are followed by clusters of small black, blue-black, or red berries (rarely yellow or white).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 4 December 2014


Agapanthus praecox (Common Agapanthus, Blue Lily, African Lily, or Lily of the Nile) is a native of Natal and Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Local names for this species include agapant, bloulelie, isicakathi and ubani. Most of the cultivated plants of the genus Agapanthus are hybrids or cultivars of this species. The plant is reportedly naturalised in Great Britain, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Eritrea, Ethiopia, St. Helena, Victoria, Norfolk Island, New Zealand, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and Tristan da Cunha.

Agapanthus praecox subspecies orientalis (shown here) occurs in Eastern Cape and southern KwaZulu-Natal. It has up to 20 poisonous, strap-like leaves per plant which are arching and are not leathery. These range in length from 20 to 70 cm long and 3 to 5 cm wide. Flower colour ranges from various shades of blue to white. Shiny black seeds are produced in three-sided capsules. These have perianth segments which are less than 50 mm in length.

Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis is highly regarded for being tough in sun and heat, long-flowering, and is a favourite for many councils in Australia for the landscaping of roads and other public areas which do not get watered. The plant is still widely planted but in some areas it is considered a weed, and planting has been discontinued, although it is not generally regarded as highly invasive.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 27 November 2014


Lilium (members of which are true lilies) is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs, all with large prominent flowers. Lilies are a group of flowering plants which are important in culture and literature in much of the world. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, though their range extends into the northern subtropics. Many other plants have "lily" in their common name but are not related to true lilies.

These colourful, early-blooming Asiatic Lilies are all hybrids of Asiatic species, and they are a vigorous and fast-growing group of plants. Colours range from the softest pastels to fiery reds and oranges. Their straight stems and heavy bud count make them superb cut flowers.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 13 November 2014


Californian tree poppy, Romneya coulteri, is an excellent specimen plant for a sunny mixed border. Just be aware that this handsome plant is one of the tallest members of the poppy family as well as having the largest flower in the genus!

While the plants can prove tricky to get going as they resent transplanting, once established they will spread readily. The Californian tree poppy requires fertile, well-drained soil, and shelter from strong winds. It can be propagated from root cuttings taken in the winter-early spring months. You'll be rewarded with lots of "fried egg" blooms for many many weeks!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday 11 November 2014


In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

This post is part of the Nature Footsteps Floral Macros meme,
and also part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Thursday 30 October 2014


Nigella is a genus of about 14 species of annual plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native to southern Europe, north Africa, south and southwest Asia. Common names applied to members of this genus are nigella, devil-in-a-bush or love-in-a-mist.

The species grow to 20–90 cm tall, with finely divided leaves; the leaf segments are narrowly linear to threadlike. The flowers are white, yellow, pink, pale blue or pale purple, with five to 10 petals. The fruit is a capsule composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds; in some species (e.g. Nigella damascena), the capsule is large and inflated.

Several species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Nigella damascena has been grown in English cottage gardens since Elizabethan times, commonly called love-in-a-mist. Nigella hispanica is a taller species with larger blue flowers, red stamens, and grey leaves. Nigella seeds are self-sowing if the seed pods are left to mature. The dried seed capsules can also be used in flower arrangements.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 23 October 2014


Iris germanica, the German Iris, is a species in the genus Iris in the Iridaceae  family. Iris germanica grows up to 120 cm high and 30 cm wide. The roots can go up to 10 cm deep. It is a rhizomatous perennial that blooms in mid-Spring to early Summer. Lifting, dividing and replanting the rhizomes is best done once flowering has finished as this is when the plant grows the new shoots that will flower the following year. The rhizomes are placed on the surface of the soil facing towards the sun and with at least 45 cm of open ground in front of them - this allows two years growth and flowering.

The plant is held in place by removing half the leaf mass to reduce wind rock and by using the old roots as anchors in the soil. The rhizome is placed on well dug ground and the roots placed either side into 10cm deep grooves. The soil os then gently firmed around the roots, so holding the plant steady. New roots and leaves are created rapidly as the rhizome moves forwards. Hundreds of hybrids exist representing every colour from jet black to sparkling whites. The only colour really missing is bright scarlet. It is a European hybrid, rather than a true wild species.

This specimen shown here is the hybrid 'Golden Eclipse', with lovely large, fragrant blooms.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 16 October 2014


Gerbera L. is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It was named in honour of the German botanist and naturalist Traugott Gerber († 1743) who travelled extensively in Russia and was a friend of Carolus Linnaeus. It has approximately 30 species in the wild, extending to South America, Africa and tropical Asia. Gerbera is also commonly known as the African Daisy.

Gerbera species bear a large capitulum with striking, two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink or red colours. The capitulum, which has the appearance of a single flower, is actually composed of hundreds of individual flowers. The morphology of the flowers varies depending on their position in the capitulum. The flower heads can be as small as 7 cm (Gerbera mini 'Harley') in diameter or up to 12 cm (Gerbera ‘Golden Serena’). 

Gerbera is very popular and widely used as a decorative garden plant or as cut flowers. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between Gerbera jamesonii and another South African species Gerbera viridifolia. The cross is known as Gerbera hybrida. Thousands of cultivars exist. They vary greatly in shape and size. Colours include white, yellow, orange, red, and pink. The centre of the flower is sometimes black. Often the same flower can have petals of several different colours.

Gerbera is also important commercially. It is the fifth most used cut flower in the world (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip). It is also used as a model organism in studying flower formation. Gerbera contains naturally occurring coumarin derivatives. Gerbera is a tender perennial plant. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds, but resistant to deer. The soil should be kept moist but not soaked.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 9 October 2014


Pelargonium crispum is an erect, much-branched shrub that grows up to 700 mm tall. The young stems are soft and green and become woody when older. The leaves are lemon-scented, fan-shaped and the leaf margins are crisped. The leaves are distichous, meaning that they are arranged one above the other in two opposite rows. The flowers are single or in clusters of 2 or 3 and are borne on short peduncles. They are white to dark pink and about 25 mm in diameter. The flower tube is about 5–8 mm long. The species flowers from August-April with a peak in September and October (in Southern Hemisphere).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 2 October 2014


Clivia miniata (Natal lily, bush lily) is a species of flowering plant in the genus Clivia of the family Amaryllidaceae, native to damp woodland habitats in South Africa (Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces) as well as in Swaziland. It is also reportedly naturalised in Mexico.

It grows to a height of about 45 cm, and flowers are red, orange or yellow, with a faint, but very sweet perfume. It is sometimes known in cultivation as "Kaffir lily". However, this name is also confusingly applied to the genus Schizostylis, and in any case is best avoided as it is considered an offensive ethnic slur in South Africa.

With a minimum temperature of 10 °C (50 °F), in temperate regions C. miniata is normally cultivated as a houseplant. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit, along with the variety C. miniata var. citrina. It contains small amounts of lycorine, making it poisonous.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 25 September 2014


Scabiosa is a genus in the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) family of flowering plants. Many of the species in this genus have common names that include the word scabious; however some plants commonly known as scabious are currently classified in related genera such as Knautia and Succisa; at least some of these were formerly placed in Scabiosa. Another common name for members of this genus is pincushion flowers.

Members of this genus are native to Europe and Asia. Some species of Scabiosa, notably small scabious (S. columbaria) and Mediterranean sweet scabious (S. atropurpurea) have been developed into cultivars for gardeners. Illustrated here is Scabiosa columbaria 'Pink Mist'.

Scabiosa plants have many small flowers of soft lavender blue, lilac or creamy white colour borne in a single head on a tall stalk. Scabious flowers are nectar rich and attract a variety of insects including moths and butterflies such as the Six-spot Burnet. Scabiosa species are also used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Grey Pug.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 18 September 2014


Leucojum is a small genus of bulbous plants belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family. As currently circumscribed the genus includes only two species, Leucojum vernum, the spring snowflake, and Leucojum aestivum, the summer snowflake or Loddon lily. Leucojum is a compound of Greek leukos "white" and ion "violet". The spelling Leucoium is also be found. Other common names include snowbell, dewdrop, and St. Agnes' flower.

The snowflakes are native to central and southern Europe, from the Pyrenees to Romania and western Russia, but they have been introduced and have naturalized in many other areas, including the east coast of North America. They have narrow, strap-like, dark green leaves. The flowers are small and bell-shaped, white with a green (or occasionally yellow) spot at the end of each tepal. They have a slight fragrance.

Leucojum aestivum (Summer snowflake, shown here) has a wider natural range, taking in Europe (including the British Isles), southwest Asia and northern Iran, and growing in wetter habitats including damp woodland, riversides and swamps. Despite its common name it flowers from April to May, though later than the Spring Snowflake. It is a taller plant than Leucojum vernum, growing to around 60 cm, but its flowers are smaller and are carried in an umbel of between three and seven. Its fleshy seed pods are inflated, allowing them to be dispersed by flood water.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 4 September 2014


These fine tulip flower arrangements were on display in the Queen Victoria shopping complex here in Melbourne in the "Hideaway" promotion.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 28 August 2014


Prunus cerasifera, or cherry plum is a popular ornamental tree for garden and landscaping use, grown for its very early flowering and its ornamental purple or reddish-brown leaves. It is now in bloom in Melbourne streets. Happy Spring!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 14 August 2014


Magnolia stellata, sometimes called the star magnolia, is a slow-growing shrub or small tree native to Japan. It bears large, showy white or pink flowers in early spring, before its leaves open. This species is closely related to the Kobushi magnolia (Magnolia kobus), and is treated by many botanists as a variety or even a cultivar of that. However, Magnolia stellata was accepted as a distinct species in the 1998 monograph by D. Hunt.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 7 August 2014


Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrimaare blooming in Melbourne gardens now, meaning that the worse of winter is over!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 31 July 2014


This unusual camellia flower looks as though it has had bleach drops spotting its flowers. It's blooming now in a neighbour's garden.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 24 July 2014


The irises are out in bloom early this year, as we have had a relatively mild Winter.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 17 July 2014


It seems Spring is coming early to Melbourne this year, after a very mild Winter, so far. The rosemary in our garden is in bloom and its cheery blue flowers brighten up the cool grey days.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Friday 11 July 2014


2 rounds of flat Middle Eastern bread
Olive oil
100 mL of cream
100 g of cream cheese
A good dollop of tartare sauce
A tub of ready prepared taramosalata from the supermarketCapers
200 g of smoked salmon slices, cut into 2 cm wide strips
Juice of half a lemon
1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced and chopped
Chopped dill
20 mL of extra cream and some tartare sauce
rocket leaves

Preheat oven to 150˚C. Oil two pizza baking trays and place one of the bread on each them. Use more oil to spread over the top of the flat bread. 
Mix the cream, softened cream chees and tartare sauce until it is of a smooth consistency.
Spread over the bread in a thin layer. Spread the taramosalata over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle a few capers over the taramosalata. Bake in the oven for a 5-10 minutes.
Toss the salmon slice strips in the juice of half a lemon and some salt. Add the chopped dill and toss thoroughly. Remove the pizzas from the oven and place the salmon strips over the pizza, covering the whole surface. Add a few more capers here and there.
Place in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until the salmon is thoroughly heated, but not overcooked or dried out.
Remove from oven, place the rocket leaves on top of the pizza. Mix the cream and tartare sauce and drizzle over the rocket.
Put back in oven and heat for a few minutes to just wilt the rocket. Serve.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

Friday 20 June 2014


A recipe for the Food Friday meme:

1 punnet of strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1 pear, peeled and cubed
1 kiwi fruit, peeled and cubed
1 peach, peeled and cubed
1 passionfruit, pulped
1 bunch of sultana grapes, washed, peeled and sliced
1 orange, juiced
1 tbsp Cointreau liqueur
Sugar or honey to sweeten if desired.

Mix all the prepared fruit together and add the orange juice, pulp of the passionfruit and the Cointreau. Add sugar or honey if desired, mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve. May serve with whipped cream or ice cream.