Thought I would share some pictures from the past week, taken in the Western Bay of Plenty. Dendroseris litoralis is a little-seen plant in this country, native to the Juan Fernandez islands off the coast of Chile. Pat and Ron Howie in Te Puke have had a plant for a couple of years, but this is the first time it has flowered.
Nick-named the cabbage tree, the plant apparently helped keep Scottish castaway Alexander Selkirk alive during his five years on the island of Mas a Tierra. Selkirk was the inspiration for the novel, Robinson Crusoe. Pat has tried cooking it and reports that it tastes like sweet silverbeet. She cut the central spine out of the large leaf and otherwise prepared it and cooked it like silverbeet. Also in the Howie garden was this flower, which actually looked like it might be related to the plant pictured above, or maybe even be a member of the Sonchus family. However, it turned out to be Centaurea macrocephala or the Armenian basket flower (the common name coming from the “baskets” the buds are held in, which feel quite papery).
Now here’s one from my garden, the flower of Tillandsia lindenii which is, I am assured, particularly easy to grow. Unlike many tillandsias which have grey leaves, this has smooth, green leaves. The purple flowers have soft petals and look like a flower, unlike many of the bromeliad blooms, and open one each side of the pink spike from the bottom up. The flowers below have to be finished before the ones above come out.
And despite the link above, I just have mine wrapped into a piece of regular wooden trellis with nothing around where you might expect the roots to be.
And finally a buddleia from a garden at Omokoroa – the flower is almost insignificant, unlike many buddleias. It’s the foliage that makes Buddleia Morning Mist (or, as the Europeans seem to have it, Buddleja) an unusual garden plant, soft and silvery. Buddleias have a reputation for being weedy in this country, but not all of them are and Morning Mist is a well-behaved one.