Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

04 December 2015

Crinum lily

There are 105 or so species of Crinum lilies of which 4 are native to Australia.  This one has been grown from one that has been in my family since about 1955 when my parents moved into the house where Lance Hill made the first Hills Hoist so it's possible that he or his wife planted it there.  I suspect it's Crinum moorei which is a South African species.  These are very easy to grow and this particular species ends up producing enormous bulbs which can sit on top of soil and send down roots.  I've had one clump sitting on gravel and ignored for months and it's beginning to flower!

03 December 2015


From the Americas (North, Central and South), Coreopsis has 75 to 80 species.  They're attractive to butterflies and quite drought hardy - and colourful at this time of year.

30 November 2015


Apparently there are about 90 species.  This one grows in a pot and gets neglected but still looks showy!

05 November 2015

Jacobean lily

Sprekelia formosissima, commonly called Jacobean lily or Aztec lily is not a true lily at all, apparently.  Still, it's quite spectacular in flower (with or without raindrops).

04 October 2015

It's thyme

No, this is not another reminder about daylight saving!  This is a photo of 2 or 3 thymes which seem to have grown remarkably this year and are flowering spectacularly.

02 October 2015

Sinningia leucotricha

This plant looks like it was designed by a committee that started with a potato, decided that it should grow leaves like lambs ears (on stalks) and then have tubular flowers like a cestrum!  Native to Brazil where it grows at high altitudes, Sinningia leucotricha, is commonly called Brazilian Edelweiss.  It thrives on neglect.  This one sits in our kitchen window where it gets filtered sun all day and it gets watered occasionally.  It might need repotting one of these years but we've had it 3 years and it's still in the original pot.

20 April 2015


I planted this lemon in 2009.  Having had previous experience with the large, sharp thorns on a Lisbon lemon I chose a Eureka this time.  We've had 2 or 3 lemons from it in the last couple of years but this year it seems to be coming into more bountiful fruit production with up to a dozen fruits, not yet ripe but getting there.  The yellowing leaves, though, indicate that the tree needs some feeding and the colder weather, which locks up soil nitrogen, is probably a factor too.

17 April 2015

A Peeling

We bought a dwarf  'Tropical Beauty' Apple tree  from Diggers about 3 years ago and this is its first real crop - it had a couple of fruits last year but rats or possums (or both) or maybe even the dog ate them before they could be picked by human hand!  This year under netting the tree produced just over 950g of fruit.  Tropical beauty is a 'low chill' apple suitable for growing in subtropical and temperate regions.  In addition, it's self pollinating and being a dwarf can be grown in a large pot or half-wine barrel.  It grows or can be pruned to about 2 metres.  It has a mainly green skin with slight red blush and a bloom which makes it look dull but which is easy to rub off.  The fruit also tends to have 'sides' rather than being round.  And as the photo shows, it has a golden flesh.  But what does it taste like?  The real test!  It's juicy and sweet!  Well worth trying if you want to grow apples but you don't get enough cold days to grow 'traditional' varieties and you have limited space.

07 April 2015

Almond crop!

We planted a self-fertile "All in one" Almond in 2009 and, although it has had a few almond drupes in the past two seasons, this is the first year it has yielded anything like a crop!  Even so it was less than half a kilo unshelled.  Based on a sample weighing I think we'll end up with about 180g of actual almonds!  Still they taste much better than the stale offerings you can buy bagged up in shops.


We planted a Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) about 5 years ago.  It looked like a twig when it was planted and I'd have to say its growth has been disappointing. It's still not much more than 30cm high!  Jujube bushes are supposed to grow to 5 to 12 metres but I can't see that ours will ever reach anything like that height despite it being in a sunny aspect with plenty of water (they're supposed to be drought hardy and not need much water) and fertilised regularly (they're supposed to not need much fertiliser!).  So it's a puzzle to me.  Perhaps it's just a one-off plant that refuses to grow very much.  In any case it has finally produced some fruit and the results are quite tasty, better straight off the bush, in my opinion, than dried ones.

28 February 2015

Flaked out!

Has anybody else noticed their Eucalypts shedding huge flakes of bark this year? They generally do shed bark at this time of year but there seems to be much more shedding this year than previous years.  Oh, and that's today's koala flaked out!

23 February 2015

Adelaide Rosella

The Adelaide Rosella is thought to be a result of interbreeding between the Crimson Rosella which is found in much of south eastern Australia and the Yellow Rosella which is found along the River Murray.  The latter is itself now considered to be a subspecies of Crimson Rosella.  This photo was taken from the bedroom window so it's a little grainy.

15 February 2015

Correa decumbens 'Mount Lofty' (Spreading Correa)

This South Australian Correa started flowering before Christmas so it's definitely one of the Summer flowering Correas (most of which flower in Autumn or Spring).  As its species name suggests, Correa decumbens is supposed to be "decumbent" or spreading although I have two other type plants which were sold as spreading but so far are anything but!  However, this selection, often sold just as Correa 'Mount Lofty', does spread and forms a dense small bush that can fill a small, part shaded area in any temperate garden.  It's frost and drought hardy but is happy in moist ground as well so it's quite adaptable.  The flower of Correa decumbens is different from other correas in that it has anthers which protrude quite a long way beyond the petals whereas most other correas have anthers that are completely within or barely protrude from the petals.

14 February 2015

Peach (O'Henry)

Happy Valentines Day!!  I took this photo a couple of weeks ago when the peaches were just beginning to ripen.  This is an O'Henry peach which produces yellow freestone delicious fruit which ripens in early to mid February.  We planted many fruit trees in 2009 and most are just starting to be productive bearers.  This was the first fruit we've picked off the O'Henry.  It's a variety which seems to suffer badly from peach leaf curl (a springtime fungus).  We had some fruit form last year but it was damaged by the peach leaf curl and dropped off.  This year a combination of spraying with Liquid Copper, physically removing leaves that still curled and a dry spring was most beneficial for fruit set.  We can't control the weather and, because copper sprays kill beneficial insects like ladybirds and bees, spraying is limited to before bud burst and after all flowering; however, physical removal of remaining leaves affected seems to be very important.  I did the same on curl leaf affected nectarines as well and all produced fruit with healthy non curled leaves replacing the affected ones.

All the peaches (and nectarines) have now been picked (and most have been eaten, sad to say!).  We had 3.4kg of O'Henry peaches as well as 6kg of nectarines (5kg from a Goldmine and a kilo from 2 younger dwarf nectarines).  We also picked over 4kg of plums and 2.5kg of Stella cherries.  And we have apples and pears still to ripen/pick (first time fruiting for the latter).  Then I hope we'll have winter citrus.  Home grown fruit is SO much more delicious than supermarket varieties and these days there are so many dwarf or even sub dwarf fruit trees which can be grown in pots and which fit into small gardens or balconies quite easily.  Most of them espalier against a wall or trellis if there's very limited space.

11 February 2015

Maybe I Was Wrong!

This morning's young "male" koala just might have been a slight misidentification on my part!

Classic koala pose!

I think this is a young male (there was typical male koala bellowing last night).

14 January 2015

Mother and child

This mother koala and her baby have been around the vicinity for a few weeks now.  Before Christmas I mentioned to a neighbour that the pair had been in a river red gum down our driveway and the neighbour said that their family had seen the mother with baby on her back walking down their driveway a few days earlier.  Last week when it was in the forties I saw the mother (with baby on her back) trying to scale a tree with far too much creeper on it to accommodate her.  Then in the past couple of days they've been in the huge river red gum by the carport.  We watched in horror last evening as the baby swayed in quite a strong wind at the top of the tree.  He/she must have realised the peril and carefully crawled backwards down to mamma, clinging on for dear life!  Whew!  This afternoon mother and child were on the very lowest branch so I grabbed my camera and started clicking.  The mother had to size me up as I clicked away and eventually must have thought I was no threat.  She made her way down to the ground (baby on her back) and walked towards me, then circled me and headed for a gate that she clearly wanted to go through (but it was shut).  She waited while I opened it, walked through, sniffed at a few things on the way and finally climbed up a plum tree onto one of our rainwater tanks.  From there she jumped onto the roof of the shed (not easy with a baby on your back and I thought I might have had to help her up at one point).  From there she got onto a Melaleuca and at the moment mother and child are sleeping in that.  This photo was taken just as she was contemplating the leap from tank to shed roof!

13 January 2015

Solanum melongena (Eggplant 'Listada Di Gandia')

I found this eggplant in the wicking bed hiding under its foliage.  Eggplants or Aubergines are a member of the Solanaceae family.  Solanaceae is a diverse and interesting family because it includes such a wide range of well known plants including potato, tomato, eggplant, tobacco, cape gooseberry, capsicum and chilli, goji berry, cestrum and even petunia.  But it also includes the poisonous deadly nightshade and mandrake!

07 January 2015

First sunflower of 2015

Not fully out yet but this is the first sunflower to actually flower this year.

06 January 2015

Gift from a friend

Many South Australians might recognise this plant as the State's floral emblemSwainsona formosa or Sturt's Desert Pea.  It thrives over much of outback Australia in arid, hot conditions. My task will be to keep it alive.  Apparently they like a coarse, sandy, well-drained soil, lots of sun and they tend to suffer Fusarium wilt if watered from above.  Conversely they also like a lot of fertiliser (slow release).  So this will be  a challenge!