Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

31 May 2014

Adelaide Botanic Gardens

When I was much younger I always enjoyed visiting Adelaide's Botanic Garden (ABG).  My favourite section was always the Simpson bush house with its collection of ferns and shade loving plants and the Australian forest section just beyond it.  In those days these were at the eastern edge of the garden and were almost a secret area away from the restaurant, kiosk and duck pond where most people congregated.  However, ABG has pleasingly expanded in more recent years, first with the BiCentennial Conservatory full of rare tropical plants and more recently the administration buildings and new wetland near Hackney Road.  So my favourite once secret place is now right in the centre of the garden with the Diggers Shop, a pleasant dining area and the refurbished Museum of Economic Botany nearby (all much better than the duck pond and kiosk).  This is a photo I took a couple of weeks ago of the Simpson House with its Staghorns (Platycerium superbum) adorning it (note they're facing south away from the sun) and the BiCentennial Conservatory looming beyond it through the Australian  trees.  Always worth a visit.

29 May 2014

Correa glabra var turnbullii (Rock Correa)

This variety of Correa glabra is found solely in South Australia from the Barossa and Adelaide Hills to Monarto and the Mallee.  This one is growing in a garden adjoining Blackwood Forest Recreation Park.  I was able to identify it by crushing one of the glossy leaves.  Most forms of Correa glabra var turnbullii have a leaf scent not unlike a male aftershave (although I don't know if there are any aftershaves with this scent!).  Flowering and flower forms tend to vary.  Some forms are less showy than others on which flowers are quite prominent and the flower colour varies.  This one has pink flowers grading to yellow/green tips but I have a couple of young plants growing in my garden that have a more definite boundary between the pink base and the lemon green tips.  Rock Correa grows to about a metre with a 2 metre spread but it can be pruned to shape.  It used to be called Correa schlechtendalii until the genus was revised in 1961 and 1998.

28 May 2014

Aechmea gamosepala (with variegated leaves)

I discovered this bromeliad in flower a few weeks ago growing in a hanging basket through some autumnal birch leaves. I noticed an eastern spinebill checking the flowers for nectar a few days later.

27 May 2014

Just hanging around looking adorable!

This little koala was hanging around just over the back fence this morning.  It looks like it might be one of the babies from last year as it's not very big.  Sorry about the resolution.  It was a bit gloomy under the trees when I took the photo.

25 May 2014

Correa 'Mannii' (Mann's correa)

This correa, which is thought to be a natural hybrid between Correa pulchella and Correa reflexa, was discovered in the Melbourne garden of Sir Frederick Mann who was the Chief Justice in Victoria (Mann was born in Mt Gambier, South Australia).  Its red flowers make a stunning display in autumn and winter.

20 May 2014

Late Autumn in Blackwood Forest Recreation Park

For over 60 years the 21 hectares of land now known as Blackwood Forest Recreation Park was the site of the Government Experimental Orchard, a function that was transferred to Lenswood some years ago.  Thousands of various varieties of fruit trees were grown and studied in the experimental orchard but when it was decommissioned most of the trees were ripped out.  Fortunately, the land which now lies in the suburb of Hawthorndene, was not sold for housing development but was retained as a Forest Reserve and a dedicated band of locals toil to preserve the park and return parts of it to its pre-experimental orchard flora.  Here's a couple of photos I took whilst wandering in the park today - autumn colours of a manchurian pear and a pistachio in the middle of the pine plantation on the eastern side of the Park.  Find out more at the Friends of Blackwood Forest Recreation Park website.

18 May 2014

Tree Dahlia (Dahlia imperialis)

The tree dahlias this year are particularly spectacular.  In previous years there's been intermittent flowering from late autumn to early spring but the weather has been unseasonably warm over the past two weeks and this seems to have encouraged the tree dahlias into mass flowering with bees going crazy for all the pollen which is covering the ground and plants beneath.  Dahlia imperialis originates from Central America where the leaves were, apparently, used to supplement the diet in Guatemala.  They're grown from the stalk which can be cut into sections (with 2 nodes) at the end of winter.  The stalks can grow to 5 metres but are vulnerable to high winds so a sheltered aspect, such as next to a solid fence, shed or wall, is best.

08 May 2014

Correa pulchella 'Pink Mist'

Correa pulchella (pulchella = beautiful) is a South Australian correa which has many forms and flower colour gradations.  Correa pulchella 'Pink Mist' was discovered in the wild on southern Yorke Peninsula and was registered in 1987 as a cultivar.  The shade of pink is described as "red group 48D" on the Royal Horticultural Society colour chart!  It's a compact shrub which eventually reaches 75cm high and a metre wide but it can be pruned to keep it smaller.  'Pink Mist' seems happy in moist well drained soils with partial shade but it's also drought hardy and will grow in full sun.  It will also grow in heavy shade although, in my experience, flower production suffers.

07 May 2014

Correa alba var pannosa

This subspecies of Correa alba has an unusual flower for the Correa family.  Instead of the usual tubular flower formed from fused petals the flowers of Correa alba var pannosa open up as just 4 short petals which have a slight pink tinge to them (flowers of the parent species, Correa alba, are white in colour).

Correa alba var pannosa is a low growing correa, useful as a weed suppressing ground cover.  It has reddish hairs along its stems and a felt-like appearance to its leaves which give it a "salted" look.  It is often sold under the names "Pink Blush", "Western Pink Star" or "Western Star".