Flowering now

Chatting to Laurie Jeyes at Palmer’s in Bethlehem today and he confirmed what I’ve been observing – many plants are confused by the continuing warm weather.

The deciduous daylilies I cleaned up the other day have now sent several flower stems up from each clump. The foliage has died back as it should, but the flowers have decided to keep going. My cherry pie heliotrope is still flowering after starting in early November and alstroemerias are still going. All a bit confusing, for them and for me!

And although this looks like an attack of scarlet fever, it really is a coincidence.


Cyclamen add a bright spot of colour in a bed that’s not doing much till spring. Photo: Sandra Simpson

You know that cyclamen you got for Mother’s Day? Plant it out in the garden in a frost-free spot once it’s finished flowering and enjoy it for years to come. Years ago I saw a carpet of  wild cyclamen flowering in the mountains of Cyprus. Beautiful. Here’s some advice from the UK-based Cyclamen Society and try this website which talks about the care of “hardy cyclamens”, the type available from garden centres.


Epidendrum or crucifix orchids are very easy to grow in Tauranga. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Epidendrum orchids come in a range of colours – orange, red, scarlet, pink, mauve – and flower off and on all year. Mine are very pot-bound inasmuch as I’d probably have to break the pot to get them out.

They produce regular keikeis (kiekie is an Hawaiian word for baby) which just get snipped off the parent stem and started as a new plant … and they don’t need to actually grow in a medium but will happily do their thing with their roots in the air.


Grevillea Fireworks. Photo: Sandra Simpson

I bought Grevillea Fireworks last year, planted it and enjoyed it. Then in the spring the plants that were around it took off and started to smother it so I moved it across the lawn-path and into my little “red garden”.

And there it sat. Not growing, but not dying either. It baked through the summer and got pretty dry, which I figured it could stand being an Australian native. However, it “standing still” bothered me and I figured there may not be any flowers this year – so was delighted to find it blooming well yesterday. Supposedly it will attract birds.

Huh, just read on this grevillea webpage that Fireworks isn’t a good choice for humid climates as it’s prone to root rot. Funny it being sold in Tauranga then, eh? (And even funnier that we didn’t have a humid summer this year, unlike most years.) But it is a good choice for colder areas. Read more about these hardier grevilleas here.

As well as Fireworks, there is Firecracker and Firesprite. Read more about this large family of plants at the Grevillea Study Group website, part of the Australian Native Plant Society.


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