Category Archives: Gardening

Leaves : Autumn & Winter

Here in Western Australia it never gets cold enough to snow. Well, we Might get frost and hail, but very, very rarely do we get any real snow. I think it might have snowed somewhere in Western Australia a couple of years ago…but maybe it was just heavy frost, or a smattering of real snow. Certainly not enough to be making snowmen or having snowfights. 

Anyway, I sometimes wish the winters here would be cold enough for it to really snow. That would be so magical. But instead, all we get are maybe some cold temperatures under Zero degrees at night, followed by days in the mid-teens. Never so cold that you need to wrap up in 3 or 4 layers. You don’t even need to wear gloves. Thermal underwear, what’s that? Just throw on a scarf and off we go!

I found these lovely photos of autumnal and winter leaves on Pinterest. Just sharing them with you here. Readers in the Northern Hemisphere are probably rejoicing to see the back end of Winter now, but here in the Land Down Under we’re meant to be at the start of Autumn. 

Hah! Tell that to the weather, which still insists on giving us daily temperatures in the 30s. Hot, muggy days without a breeze…NOT my favourite thing really. 

But, back to these leaves. So cool.

Leaves : Spring & Summer

I’m in love with the green of leaves. Right now, it’s the end of Summer in Australia (yup, this is one weird country compared with the rest of the world). It’s hard to tell which leaves on which trees will turn golden then brown and fall to the ground, and which will stay green all year round. I’m no garden expert, and some trees that I swear are olive trees are perhaps some indigenous Australian gum instead. 

But I’ve fallen in love with big, green, leafy plants, especially the ones with leaves that are almost sculptural in their beauty. Green is a very refreshing and calming colour, and if you prefer not to have it on your walls, perhaps consider a houseplant to give your home a dash of this amazing colour.

So, once again courtesy of Pinterest, here are my favourite greens for Spring and Summer. (Seriously, folks, if you’re not already a fan of Pinterest and spend hours trawling through it, pinning this and that to your dozens of Boards, it’s time to get with the programme).

“Kate Bush”

You may have read in a previous post about my 2 Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) trees that I named Carol and Daryl, after characters in the series The Walking Dead. Carol and Daryl were repotted in plastic barrels and then left on the floor by the TV in the living room, while I figured out where to site them on a more permanent basis.

Well, I was in Big W in Kwinana, after petsitting a dog, and came across a whole bunch of Fiddle Leaf Fig trees for sale. They were somewhat larger than Carol and Daryl, and by the look of their leaves and trunk, I surmised that they were the “bush” type, as opposed to the “trunk” type, which grow taller and have their leaves bunched towards the top.

So I came home with a new addition to our family. I wanted to get the same barrel pots that Carol and Daryl were in, but sadly Bunnings had sold out of them.

Seeing as the “bush” type of Fiddle Leaf Fig only grows to about 3-4 feet high, compared to the “trunked” type which can reach 7-8 feet high, I decided to get my new plant a nice big pot that could be her permanent home, no more repotting after this.

As for a name, I figured because she’s a “bush”, why not Kate, as in Kate Bush? 😉

All 3 have now pride of place by the big picture window in my living room. You can see in the photo how Kate Bush (in the middle) is bigger and bushier than Carol and Daryl.

Kate Bush

Carol

Daryl

Carol and Daryl in Barrels 😄

After blogging about Fiddle Leaf Figs in my previous post, I decided that I just Had to get one for my living room. They’re trending right now, appearing in many homes & interiors magazines and on television, so how hard can it be to get one, right?

Whoa…look at the way-out prices some of these babies are commanding online! $300 for a potted houseplant? Are you kidding me? 

I also found out that there are actually 2 variations of the same plant. One’s bushy and smaller, resembling a kale plant gone mad. The other type has a trunk with its leaves gathered towards the top. The former only grows up to 3 feet high. The latter can reach 7-8 feet high and is sometimes referred to as the Fiddle Leaf Fig “Tree”, as opposed to the smaller “Bush”. It’s the Tree that I’m after.

I rang 2 Bunnings Warehouse DIY & Garden Stores near me, and just as I was about to give up hanging on the line, a very nice lady named Patsy came on and said she had 2 Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees, happy days!! So I asked Patsy to place them on hold for me, and said I’d pick them up within the next 2 hours.

And they were only $14.10 each, as they’re still babies with a lot of growing up to do. Yay for affordable houseplants!

I bought 2 plastic barrel flower pots and trays for my 2 newest babies. And back home, as I repotted them, the crazy thought came to me that as they were in barrels and there were 2 of them, why not name them after 2 of my favourite characters from The Walking Dead i.e Carol and Daryl ?

So here they are, Carol and Daryl, in barrels. Daryl’s the bigger of the two.

Out on the verandah, right after repotting and getting a good drink of water:

Inside the house:

Now Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Yesterday I got sidetracked from my original intention of sharing with you Pinterest curated images of a houseplant I’d love to get – the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. But instead I got to talking about an App Game called “Design Home“. 

So here I am today, with those promised images of said tree. I just love the large leaves and how the tree has such a pleasing shape and can be grown indoors in a pot. Its green is also very beautiful. I simply Must find space in my house for one!

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, But Before That – Design Home

I’m the last person you’ll want to ask for advice on keeping plants. I don’t have green thumbs or green fingers, in fact I have a knack for accidentally killing my house plants with my “loving ministrations”. 

I don’t mean to be a plant killer. I just never learnt much about keeping plants while growing up. Plus, I grew up in a tropical country (Malaysia) where there are no hot or cold seasons, and where it’s always either sunny and humid, or raining and humid. So, my idea of gardening is to just stick the seed/sapling/plant/tree in a pot or straight into the ground, whenever, water it now and then and leave the rest to Mother Nature.

So, I’m still learning slowly how to take care of my plants. Succulents I can do, as they more or less fall in with my gardening philosophy above 😄. 

But lately I feel drawn to certain houseplants. Quite possibly because for a couple of months now I’ve been diligently playing an App Game on my mobile phone called “Design Home“. To say I love the game would be an understatement. Basically, in this game you’re the interior designer and you’re given a brief, and then you have to “buy” furniture, accessories and plants to furnish your look. In return you get “paid” for each completed assignment, and then your work is voted on by other players. If you get above 4 out of 5 stars, you win prizes by way of furniture, which goes into your inventory. If you get 5 out of 5 stars, you win the furniture prize as well as Diamonds.

Diamonds can be converted into Cash, and Cash is then used to purchase more furniture. Here’s where real money comes into play – you can buy Diamonds if you haven’t got enough Cash, but Diamonds cost real $$$. 

Anyway, check out Design Home here for yourself. Here are some screenshots, taken from the App’s listing on Google Play:

Did you notice the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree in the last 2 images above? Yup, that’s where my hankering after one of my own comes from! 😉

Madam Bukeshla – Part 3

The quirky Madam Bukeshla boutique in Fremantle, Western Australia, is not only home to Trish Bygott’s sewing skills, it also houses the wonderfully quirky naïve sewn dolls of Danielle (d_for_daniowl on Instagram) and the floristry skills of Sandy (clippings.freo on Instagram). These 2 lovely ladies were very charming, welcoming and curious about me when I visited. 😊

Here are some photos of the glorious garden behind the shopfront of Madam Bukeshla, where florist Sandy works. I can’t imagine a more tranquil, peaceful and conducive environment to work in.

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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Brigittes_Beauty

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Princess_Anne

Echinopsis_Aiko

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echspach

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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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