It has been a few weeks since I have been able to write a ‘Boots off’ post. I have been having a lot of trouble with my computer. I am hoping to invest in a new computer in the next few months and hopefully until then my current computer continues to operate for me. During my absence I have found autumn to be a lot warmer and the weather very inconsistent compared to previous years. Due to the weather going from hot to cold, a few of my plants have been thrown out of sorts, such as my spring flowering bulbs. Some have started to shoot new growth when they are supposed to be sitting dormant under the soil for winter.
1. This hibiscus is another plant that has become confused due the warmer weather. However, these beautiful blooms are a pleasure to see in the garden at this time of year. Usually the flowers appear during the warmer months and stop flowering by mid to late autumn. There are still lots of buds waiting to burst open in the next few days. This species of hibiscus is a new variety called Apollo, from the range called Flamenco. This range of hibiscus Sinensis have been bred for their compact lush growth and large colourful flowers. They grow to a dense height of 1 meter and have a spread of 0.8 -1 meters, making them ideal for pots or a small garden.
2. I happened to be out visiting a few nurseries over the weekend and I came across a plant that I have never seen before. This petite plant is called Platycodon grandiflorus, also referred to as the Japanese bellflower. P.grandiflorus is a herbaceous perennial, which means at the end of their growing season the flower and stems will die back completely to soil level, but parts of the plant will survive under the soil and will re-grow in spring. It will be interesting to see how this plant grows and develops throughout spring and summer.
3. A new addition to the succulent and cacti house is this beautiful Euphorbia tirucalli called Firesticks. The new growth is bright red that fades from orange to yellow then ages to green. I was surprised to find out the staggering height that this form can grow. They have the potential to grow to a height of 7 meters and 2-3 meters wide! I am going to need a taller glasshouse for this little guy….
4. Autumn is a fantastic time of year for foliage colour and is also a great time for some cooler flowering plants. Salvia plants are at their best at this time of year. Their bright colourful blooms are in flower in almost every garden at the moment. One in particular that is looking great in my garden is Salvia Limelight. I love the lime coloured calyxes against the electric blue flowers. This form is a larger grower compared to other varieties, but I find like most varieties it benefits from being pruned in late autumn, once the flowers have finished.
5. Carnivorous plants are the one area of the plant kingdom that I have not truly delved into. I felt it was time to start adding some to my ever growing collection of plants. Over the last few months I have been buying one here or there and have been learning about their desired growing conditions.
This is a form of Nepenthes, which has become the latest residence in my glasshouse. This is the first pitcher plant I have ever owned and it seems to be growing well, protected from the cold weather that has been brewing outside the glasshouse. I am excited to see how this plant grows and to expand my knowledge on this section of the plant kingdom.
By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs