Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

30 August 2014

Grevillea rhyolitica subspecies semivestita

Grevillea rhyolitica subspecies semivestita, which is often sold as Grevillea 'Deua Flame', is a compact small shrub which has the desirable characteristic of flowering almost continuously, especially through winter.  As such, it's extremely attractive to honey eaters, particularly Eastern spinebills which can often be seen fluttering at one or other of the many flowers for nectar.  It grows in full sun to part shade and is frost and coastal hardy. It has adapted to soil with low fertility so it doesn't need to be fertilised (and it should never be fertilised with a general purpose fertiliser).  It can be grown from cuttings derived from regular trimming to keep it compact and to stimulate flowering.

28 August 2014

Ceratonia siliqua "Clifford"

Carob (Ceratonia siliqua) grows really well in South Australia's Mediterranean to arid climate. Commercial plantations as far apart as the Mid-North and the South Coast give some indication of how hardy and adaptable a tree it is in low rainfall but sometimes frosty environments. Large trees can still be found throughout South Australia in parks, older large private and school gardens, botanic gardens and the Waite Arboretum (where a particularly old tree with branches down to ground level provides a hideaway for children and romantic encounters alike!).

A member of the Legume family, Carob pods (which can be eaten raw from the tree) are harvested for "chocolate substitute" products whilst the seeds are harvested commercially to make a thickening agent.  Ceratonia siliqua is generally dioecious (meaning you need a male and a female tree) but "Clifford" is an hermaphrodite variety so it's suitable for gardens which cannot accommodate two carob trees.  This tree is quite young (planted about a year ago) but it has already flowered and is forming pods although they might not come to anything given the immaturity of the tree at present.

27 August 2014

Correa reflexa var. scabridula

This South Australian correa is a low shrub with attractive largish flowers which appear later in the season (winter/spring) than many other correas (autumn/winter).  So it keeps a supply of nectar going for small honeyeaters until the spring flush of other flowering plants.  This is only a new plant but it has flowered in its first year which seems to be a characteristic of many correas.  Correa reflexa var. scabridula occurs naturally on the eastern side of the Mount Lofty ranges and into the mallee so it can survive in a low rainfall environment and, accordingly to the label, it's frost resistant and not too fussy about soil type.

26 August 2014

Correa baeuerlenii (Chef's Cap Correa)

It's easy to see why Correa baeuerlenii is called Chef's Cap Correa with its flattened calyx atop its yellow/green flower having the appearance of a chef's cap!  With its shiny leaves and reddish stems it grows into a small shrub up to 2 metres but can be trimmed to keep it smaller.  It seems to grow best in a well mulched and shaded position. Correa baeuerlenii originates from the Bateman's Bay/Bega areas of NSW.

25 August 2014

Correa reflexa "Mallee Pixie"

Just when almost all the other correas in the garden have stopped flowering for this year, this ground cover appears as a late winter bloomer.  The photo makes it look larger than it actually is.  Interestingly, a Correa baeuerlenii (Chef's Cap Correa) and a Correa "Ivory Bells" had both finished flowering but each has come back into flower again with one flower each!  A last blush before spring.

19 August 2014

10 August 2014

08 August 2014

Almond blossom

In the midst of bare winter branches the first almond blossom appears!

03 August 2014

Frozen birdbath

It was cold enough overnight to freeze the water in one of our birdbaths.  That's probably not surprising in winter in some parts of the world but it's not a frequent occurrence here (and according to some locals it used to happen more frequently in winter than it does now).

01 August 2014

Ring Ring

This poor little thing isn't a large rat but a very bedraggled ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) which was suffering from the cold and wet overnight and trying to find a warm spot to have a nap.  It's highly unusual to see a ringtail awake during the day and certainly not at waist height in a small bush so he/she must really have been suffering.  Possums are protected animals even though they do a great deal of damage to gardens (this little one was munching on the new leaves on a lilly pilly that I'm hoping will one day grow large - when it stops getting pruned by possums!!).  Anyway, a little later it had curled up in the same bush trying to sleep but later still it was gone.  It's even colder this evening than this morning so I hope it survives.