Flowering now

The garden is a strange mixture of things at the moment – some stubbornly holding on from summer (eggplants), some flowering out of season (clivia) and some saying, yes, winter’s almost here.


The gardenia is flowering as well now as it did through the summer. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The gardenia came with the house, has been shifted a couple of times (in and out of the same spot) and at the beginning of summer was covered in yellow leaves. Years ago I was told that people used to bury iron chains when planting gardenias to stop the leaves yellowing and since than have also been advised that Epsom salts does the trick.

So, being a belt and braces kind of girl, I dosed it with both – iron chelates in case it was iron deficiency and Epsom salts in case it was magnesium deficiency. Whichever it was, or maybe both, it has worked and a bush that was starting to look past its best has regenerated beautifully.

It coped without much water through the summer, although flowering was limited, but has burst into bloom again after the recent rains.

Here’s another “at risk” plant, a sweet pink-flowered camellia. Why? Because the Vege Grower wants it gone.


Finally able to show off its charms, Camellia Apple Blossom. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The poor thing was only ever “temporarily” planted by a big, white-flowered, late-flowering camellia. Well, you know how that goes. It’s now a small tree that for too long has been hidden behind a big tree (taken out late last year). This year it’s flowering its little heart out. The pale pink blooms have an intriguing spicy fragrance.

I’m always slightly disappointed by Haemanthus albliflos. I’ve seen photos of much bigger flowerheads so may need to pay attention to cultivation. Bulbs for New Zealand Gardeners by Jack Hobbs and Terry Hatch (Godwit, 1994) recommends a light dressing of sulphate of potash to enhance the quality of the flowers. However, the bulbs are multiplying nicely and I do have a number of flowers this year.


Haemanthus albiflos, an autumn-flowering bulb. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Haemanthus coccineus is far more striking – red flowers that come up before the leaves. The white version has its wide strappy leaves and flowers at the same time.

And finally, this flower – not sure what it is, except that it looks like an iris. The flowers are on very short stems and sit beneath the foliage, which is quite grass-like. This is another clump of something that’s been put in a spot “temporarily”. The poor thing does quite well, regardless.

It would be nice beside a path so passersby can look down on the flowers.

iris thing

Any ideas?

Update: The plant has been identified as  Iris unguicularis, possibly Mary Barnard


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