Category Archives: Gardening

The Colour Purple

Yes, I know that’s the title of a book and film tie-in. But it’s also what this post is all about. The celebration of the colour purple, and its various hues. Think Wisteria, Bougainvillea, Jacaranda, Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, pergolas, romantic walks under great arches of lavender blossoms, bluebell woods…

I was up really early this morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I went on Pinterest, as usual ;), and came across a photo of a garden decked out in purple. That caught my imagination, so I started looking for more purple gardens and flowers.

Here are some of my favourites, courtesy of Pinterest.

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My Favourite Terrariums

I’ve written about, and mentioned, Terrariums quite in bit in previous posts. (You can find those posts by typing in “terrarium” in the Search field towards the top of my page).

My experiments in creating my own terrariums have been rather hit and miss. A couple of them flourished for a while, then the plants wilted or died. One only lasted a week. Moss is incredibly hard to find in Nature here in Western Australia. You need to beg a florist and then be prepared to pay through the nose to get some.

My best efforts so far in creating terrariums have been the simplest ones – glass orbs with some white aquarium gravel, 2 airplants, and posed with a token plastic toy animal inside.

So, all in all not much to shout about from this end. But, in the course of my research into Terrariums, I did end up with quite a collection of curated images for my Pinterest board. Here then I present to you the terrariums that in my fantasy world were created by me, and lovingly housed in my vast conservatory dedicated solely to terrariums 😄. (For further information about where to buy these, who created them, how to make them, simply go to my Pinterest board “Terrariums” and click on the pictures. You will be whisked away to a terrarium wonderland, where you will emerge a committed terrarium addict).

As for me, I think I’m off to buy a few more airplants or succulents…

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Echinopsis

Echinopsis is the scientific name for a large genus of cacti. I have one small plant in a pot by my swimming pool, which I hardly ever paid attention to until a few months ago, when suddenly I noticed that it had sprouted some rather pretty little flowers. Sadly, the flowers didn’t last very long. But my curiosity was piqued enough for me to search on Google for more information about my little cactus and its relations.

Cactus flowers are really beautiful, is my conclusion. Here are some of my favourites, from Google Images.

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I also found someone online who is obsessed by Echinopsis, to the extent that he calls himself “Echinopsisfreak”.  His name is Greg Krehel and you can read all about his obsession with Echinopsis on his blog here. Be sure to click on his time-lapse videos there showing his Echinopsis plants blooming.  They are truly spectacular!

I feel a new addiction beginning…

Greg Krehel is also the man behind the site dedicated to Echinopsis, http://www.echinopsis.com. Below is an excerpt from that site:

What’s an Echinopsis? A type of cactus originally from South America that features amazing flowers … amazing in at least four ways:

– The flowers of most Echinopsis varieties are incredibly colorful … often featuring two or more hues working in harmony.

– The flowers are often giant … 5″-6″ in diameter … and frequently dwarf the cactus that grows them.

– They frequently appear in flushes of multiple flowers opening at the same time.

– Most types of cacti produce just one flush of flowers each year. But Echinopsis can produce flush after flush of flower for as long as the daytime temperatures remain above 70F/21C.

Echinopsis is pronounced Ech … in … op … sis. But where does the name come from? Once you understand the its Latin roots, you’ll discover the name makes great sense.

“Echin” comes from the Latin word “Ekihnos,” which meant both sea urchin and hedgehog.  (Yes, it does seem like Latin speakers way back when might have come up with distinct words for these two pretty different creatures, but apparently they did not).

The “opsis” at the end of Echinopsis is another Latin word, one which means “resembling” or “appearance.”

So Echinopsis means hedgehog resembling or sea urchin appearance. A very accurate description for this genus of cacti that are often ball shaped growing to about 6” in diameter and, yep, covered with hedgehog-like and sea urchin-esq thorns.

 

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Montreal Botanical Garden

The Montreal Botanical Gardens is one of Canada’s shining gems. You can read all about these magnificent gardens in Wikipedia here:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Botanical_Garden

Right now I just want to share with you the wonders of the botanical sculptures, that I’ve found on Google Images. The folks that tend to these gardens certainly have a vivid imagination. I’ve never seen so many intricate botanical sculptures in one place before; the Montreal Botanical Gardens is certainly on my bucket list of places to visit.

Feast your eyes!

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Take One Old Garden Bench

Take one old garden bench.
Add one found bookcase, minus the shelves.
Add 30 litres of potting compost. Scrounge around the house and gather together various succulent plants and what not.
Plant in bookcase planter.
Add smooth pebbles from old pond. Tamp down.
Water with watering can.
Add various plastic toy animals.
Stand back and admire.
Enjoy!

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Recycled Gardening

Just a few ideas I found on Pinterest for gardening with recycled materials. I always believed I was cack-handed when it came to gardening…my idea of gardening has always been to “Just stick it in the ground and water it”. I’m clueless about perennials vs annuals, and about when to plant what and where. I live in Australia, most books on gardening relate to the Northern Hemisphere, our seasons are just as topsy turvy as our geography and this only adds to the confusion.

But, that said, many of my “Just stick it in the ground and water it” experiments have actually worked. I have had particular success with succulents, and they are my favourites.

I’m also a fan of recycling or repurposing objects. To combine the two, here are some ideas from Pinterest that you might want to try your hand at:

image Greenhouse or wind shelter made out of old drink bottles, plastic sheeting and a metal frame.

image Mini greenhouse made out of old picture frames.

image Bicycle tyre rims as a trellis for plants.

image Cut a drinks bottle in half and upturn the bottom half over a potted seedling, to use as a cloche.

image Stopped eating cakes? Turn an old glass cake stand into a terrarium.

image An old glass teapot adds interest to a terrarium.

image Find a use for CD spindles as a terrarium or mini greenhouse.

image Got an old chair that has lost its seat? Turn it into a pretty planter.

image The red of this old toy truck contrasts beautifully with the greens of the succulents.

image Even an old cake tin can become a lush mini garden.

image Row, row, row your boat. Or not, as the case may be.

image Old boots can still be useful.

image Retired! ;)

image Cut a drinks bottle in half. Fill the bottom half with water. Turn the top half upside down, with the cap off, and put it into the bottom half. Place compost into the top half, add plant. Self-watering planter.

image Got an old chest of drawers that you don’t use anymore? Turn it into this pretty tiered planter.

image Turn a broken vase or pot into a cascading garden.

image An old water cistern or toilet tank can be decorated with mosaic, or painted, and used as a pretty flower trough.

image If you have a transparent, deep umbrella or parasol and some stakes, you could make this greenhouse.

image An open-wire basket can be turned into a pretty mini garden.

image Old tea tins, biscuit tins, etc make pretty planters.

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