BLOG POST NUMBER 100 with 100 flowers

To mark the publication of Post Number 100,  I am sharing 100 flower photographs taken by me in my Past Garden.

ISAIAH chapter 61 verse 11 – For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (NIV)


‘H’ IS FOR ……….

HELLEBORE  or Christmas rose

Botanical name: Helleborus niger

Native to the mountainous regions of Europe, Greece and Asia Minor, Helleborus niger is a member of the Ranunculaceae, or buttercup family. It has pure white blossoms which bloom at Christmas time in the northern hemisphere, hence the common name Christmas Rose. Niger, the species name, means black, and refers to its dark coloured roots.

Hellebores are ideal for planting in drifts under trees, in terraced gardens or in pots. They are interesting cut flowers if picked when mature (immature flowers will wilt in a vase) and excellent to float in bowls. They last for weeks, slowly fading and changing colour.  The flowers are attractive in winter when gardens often look bare.  They are long flowering, but are not always valued as the flowers hang down and cannot be appreciated when viewed from above. The simple, 5-petalled, bowl-shaped flowers occur in unusual shades of green, dusky pink, and maroon, as well as white. At the centre of the flower are prominent, green, nectar-containing sacs and a number of yellow stamens. The flowers are backed by long-lasting petal-like sepals which often continue to intensify in colour and persist well after the flower has died.

I have a special memory of an artistic spray consisting of a camellia and hellebores backed with fine fern, oft given to my mother by a good friend when she came to visit – a special gift from a dear friend – all chosen from her stunning garden.

This week my friend from Switzerland sent photographs taken at Easter as she walked along the shoreline of Lake Constance.  How did she know that this Post is about Hellebores? With her permission I include one of her photos.


Popularly known as wax flowers, the 200 species in this genus, a member of the milkweed (Asclepiadaceae) family, are mainly climbing evergreen plants which flower in the summer. They have dark green shiny foliage which forms an attractive backdrop for the exquisite waxy flowers. The blooms are usually white or pale shades of pink or red arranged in a star-upon-star formation of thick petals with a contrasting centre.  They have a sweet perfume and drip sticky nectar.  They resemble fine porcelain.

Hoyas can be propagated from cuttings.  Knowing this I planted tip cuttings into small pots and settled the pots into the ground under a large ficus where they are enjoying filtered light.  I have been rewarded with an expanse of twining lustrous leaves growing on my trellis.  During this summer I have been intrigued to watch flowers develop from a small stalk on the runners.    It is one flower best left to enjoy on the vine as next year’s flowering will come from the same place. By the way, the cuttings came from friends.


Hippeastrums are bold and brassy and their strong colours work particularly well in our bright Australian light.  Blooms are large, flared trumpets in a dazzling range of colours. Clumped in the ground or in pots, a flamboyant display will bring cheer and happiness to the garden.  Flowers are available in singles, doubles and miniatures. They range in colour from deep red to salmon pink, rose-pink, lemon, lime and clear white and some have contrasting stripes, petal edges or throats. Dark green sword shaped leaves usually appear just after the flowers. Hippeastrums will grow anywhere in Australia.     My pot of Hippeastrums has special memories as it was a gift from a friend more than 10 years ago and it has moved with me to my present small cottage garden.




The Exotic Garden of Monaco

Monaco is a sovereign city-state and microstate located on the French Riviera. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco’s mild climate and splendid scenery (plus its gambling facilities) have contributed to the principality’s status as a premier tourist destination and a recreation centre for the rich and famous. My granddaughter and I were staying for a few nights in Nice and, on one day, took the train to Monaco.  We had our eyes opened to a world that was quite apart from the one to which we are accustomed. Having read about the exotic cacti garden and of the amazing panoramic views afforded from its position high on the rocky cliff face overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean, we walked up, up, up! The highest point in the country is in the Jardin Exotique District.

Opened in 1933 by Prince Louis II, this garden is the result of a rich collection of succulents that began in 1895. It displays a collection of over a thousand species of semi-desert plants, especially cacti. Some of the plants reach a gigantic size in this exceptional microclimate. There are blossoms all of the year depending on the origin of each species. They come from arid areas worldwide – south west USA, Mexico, Central and South America and the Orient. From the higher part of the garden there is an exceptional view over Monaco and the French Riviera.

The gardens in and around Monte Carlo Casino Square


Many cacti only flower for a period of 24 hours once a year. This was my experience when growing one in my Past Garden but what beauty  was to be enjoyed in that short time.

Wikipedia has a reference from a surprising source, noting a cactus flower:                         John Wesley’s Journal on Monday 24th July 1780 describes the blooming and fading of the Nightly Cereus which had a 125 mm diameter white centre and 225 mm diameter Yellow ray petals.

Quote –

“I have long thought there is a spiritual dimension to this, one of God’s creations, and a lesson for us.  Not many things thrive on neglect. People, relationships, and most growing things need care. But this hardy plant lives to bloom no matter what I do to it. I have not fed or repotted it in many years, though I realize I am confessing my poor gardening skills about a family heirloom publicly. It is hard-wired into this cactus to produce glorious blooms out of nothing but the reservoir below the surface. We, too, can appear to be passed our prime… the end of the road……suffering from various maladies that afflict us throughout this life, having neglected the care of ourselves or having been discarded by others whose approval and love we longed to receive. People can be figuratively sitting at the place where my plant is right now – at the back corner of the house – feeling unable or unworthy to venture forth to a proper place in the mix of others. We pass them all the time. They can even be each of us from time to time. Do we even notice?

Each of us has intrinsic value and the potential for a bloom to burst forth from the most unexpected place. Don’t miss it!     ‘Behold I am doing a new thing. Now it shall spring forth. Do you perceive it?’ Isaiah 43:19           (I am trying to watch for the ‘new thing’ when we least expect it and I am seeing it all around).

The Lord God provides a reservoir of sorts for us as well – ways of sustaining us when we have exhausted our own resources.”


Three of the established plants which I chose to retain when developing my PAST GARDEN were the Guelder Rose, two Pomegranate Trees and a Jade Plant, all established and well located on a side fence. We can be too quick to dispose of the old in order to plant something new, different and “trendy”, but the garden needs structure and as these three were flourishing, it was easy to introduce new shrubs and climbers to fill the gaps and completely hide the fence.

GUELDER ROSE Viburnum opulus is a species of flowering plant native to Europe, northern Africa and central Asia. The common name ‘guelder rose’ relates to the Dutch province of Gelderland, where a popular cultivar, the snowball tree, supposedly originated. This hardy, vigorous shrub is ideal for a woodland garden or shrub border. It offers interest for most of the year with large, lacy cap-like white flowers.

Quote from Malcolm Campbell:  “Guelder roses rise to beauty – Viburnum ‘Opulus’ is best cut back to knee-height after the flowering has finished. It makes a large, untidy, shrub unless cut back quite hard every 3-4 years after the flowering has finished. Remove any dead wood. I just put the chainsaw through them and now they are the talk of the street in each garden where I had the courage to do that.”

In my garden the Guelder Rose helped to cover a less than beautiful side fence, hence I was not quite as brutal as Malcolm Campbell (professional Horticulturalist and Presenter) when it came to pruning as I preferred to enjoy the transition from green to white as the flower heads changed through the seasons.

POMEGRANATE Punica granatum is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between 5 and 8m tall. It is extremely long-lived, with some specimens in France surviving for 200 years. The pomegranate originated in the region of modern day Iran, and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. In recent years it has become more common in the commercial markets of Europe and Australia.

The fruit is round and about the size of a large apple.  It has hard, thick reddish skin enclosing hundreds of seeds. The seeds are the only edible part of the pomegranate and are used in both sweet and savoury dishes including salads, drinks, sauces and desserts. They have a distinctive tangy-sweet flavour. Early this year, when dining with an amazing view of Sydney Harbour I enjoyed a very different salad of Kale, Quinoa and Pomegranate and it was one to remember.

To prepare – cut pomegranates in half and then use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds, taking care to avoid the bitter white pith. If the juice is required, transfer the seeds to a muslin-lined sieve and leave standing to let the juice trickle out, pressing seeds occasionally.  Alternatively use a juicer.

JADE PLANT Crassula 0vata, commonly known as jade plant, friendship tree or money tree, is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers. It is native to South Africa, and is common as a houseplant worldwide.  It is evergreen with thick branches and shiny, smooth rich jade green leaves that grow in opposing pairs along the branch.  New growth is the same colour and texture as the leaves but becomes brown and woody with age. Under the right conditions the plant may produce small white or pink star-like flowers in early spring. After 15 years, and in a very dry season, I enjoyed flowers.

As a suburban homeowner we sometimes crave privacy and this can often be achieved by adding height to fencing. One option is to add lattice-work which gives a greater sense of enclosure and I chose to use it near my driveway. A Bougainvillea, planted previously, was extremely happy to climb higher and higher, creating another pruning job, of course, but I gained a cheerful outlook from my kitchen window.

“Block out the sight of the true surroundings and a garden can transport you anywhere. Trees, shrubs, fences and walls can become the curtains to your garden”.



FRENCH PROVERB – Autumn is the hush before Winter.

Adelaide, South Australia, has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and moderate rainfall.  It has hot, dry summers.  Adelaide is the driest of the Australian capital cities.  The average daily autumn temperatures are max. 22.4°C, min. 12.5ºC.  Autumn 2014 (March to May) was the fourth warmest on record in South Australia, and included a record run of 16 consecutive days in May with maximum temperatures over 20ºC within the city and metropolitan area, making it Adelaide’s hottest autumn ever.  During the autumn months the Adelaide weather is particularly pleasant and the experience of a walk in the Adelaide hills is most enjoyable for locals and tourists alike.  Stirling is one of the prettiest towns in the hills area.  Founded in 1888, Stirling grew rapidly as a result of the expansion of apple growing and market gardening to satisfy the demand of the expanding city of Adelaide, whose centre is only 16 kilometres away.  Owing to the mild climate, many deciduous trees, particularly the maple, have been imported from Europe and these, with leaves in vibrant tones, are a major tourist attraction in the autumn.



Forming a centrepiece in my Past Garden was a flowering CRABAPPLE .  I have memories of the day I purchased it from a specialist tree nursery in the Adelaide hills.  It took a degree of manoeuvering to load it into my small car.  Apples and crabapples are in the rose family (Rosaceae) in the genus Malus.  A crabapple is an apple with fruit smaller than two inches (10 cm) in diameter.  The fruit of some species is too sour to eat but is still useful for making jelly and preserves.  The crabapple tree creates visual impact during all four seasons.  In spring the delicate pastel colours from both the new leaf growth and the emerging buds are a joy to the eye.  Unopened buds can be of a much deeper hue than the dainty open flowers.  During autumn months, the brilliant rich rustic foliage colours provide a complete change to the landscape.  Falling leaves reveal the glorious red or yellow colour of the fruit remaining like jewels after the leaves have fallen. These trees are worthy of the oft-given description ‘jewels of the landscape’.

ORNAMENTAL PEAR (Pyrus calleryana ‘Capital’)  – Three of these trees create a very worthwhile shade screen (in summer months) for the back of my cottage.  Their upright structure makes for an excellent group feature.  The trees have a narrow growth habit with shiny green leaves that hang vertically from the branches.  The leaves have an attractive curl.  The glossy dark green summer foliage changes in autumn to vibrant tones of orange, red and burgundy.  As with many other ornamental pears, the Capital flowers heavily in spring.  The flowers are white.  They are usually the last of the ornamental pears to blossom, but are also usually the last to lose their leaves in autumn.

GLORY VINE  – This is featured on a latticed barrier between my cottage and that of my next door neighbour.  It is a hardy, essentially non-fruiting vine that has become popular in South Australian gardens as an ornamental over the last 50 years.  It is sold under a number of names but is often simply called ‘Glory Vine’.  As the leaves change in autumn from green to many shades of red it certainly lives up to its name and is glorious to behold.

There is a harmony in Autumn and a lustre in its sky which through the Summer is not heard or seen

As if it could not be, as if it had not been!       Percy Bysshe Shelley          


Many plants are associated with Easter and the Passion of Jesus Christ.
CRUCIFIX ORCHID (Epidendrum ibaguense)
Crucifix orchids are native to the Caribbean and South America. The species occur naturally from Mexico to Colombia.The flowers bloom in clusters with up to 20 flowers open on a stem at once. They come in orange, red, mauve, purple, salmon and yellow. The flowers are certainly the most striking part of the plant. The common name ‘crucifix orchid’ refers to the lip of the flower (called the labellum) which resembles a small, gold cross. Crucifix orchids are tough, easy to grow and easily propagated and they have vivid, long-lasting flowers. They can be grown in containers in a free-draining mix and that is how I grew them in my PAST garden. They like a frost-free position and flower best in full sun. Photos from my garden.

“They took Jesus, and led him away”. JOHN 19:16
C.H.SPURGEON(1834-1892)writes –
“He had been all night in agony, he had spent the early morning at the hall of Caiaphas, he had been hurried from Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod back again to Pilate, he had, therefore, but little strength left, and yet neither refreshment nor rest were permitted him. They were eager for his blood, and therefore led him out to die loaded with the cross, O dolorous procession! Well may Salem’s daughters weep. My soul, do thou weep also.
What learn we here as we see our blessed Lord led forth? Do we not perceive that truth which was set forth in shadow by the scapegoat? Did not the high-priest bring the scapegoat, and put both his hands upon its head, confessing the sins of the people, that thus those sins might be laid upon the goat, and cease from the people? Then the goat was led away by a fit man into the wilderness, and it carried away the sins of the people, so that if they were sought for they could not be found.
Now we see Jesus brought before the priests and rulers, who pronounce him guilty; God himself imputes our sins to him, ‘the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ ‘He was made sin for us’ and, as the substitute for our guilt, bearing our sin upon his shoulders, represented by the cross, we see the great Scapegoat led away by the appointed officers of justice. Beloved, can you feel assured that he carried your sin? As you look at the cross upon his shoulders, does it represent your sin? There is one way by which you can tell whether he carried your sin or not. Have you laid your hand upon his head, confessed your sin, and trusted in him? Then your sin lies not on you; it has all been transferred by blessed imputation to Christ, and he bears it on his shoulder as a load heavier than the cross.

Let not the picture vanish till you have rejoiced in your own deliverance, and adored the loving Redeemer upon whom your iniquities were laid.”


The name ‘lilac’ comes from the Persian word meaning bluish. The common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, has opposite leaves, often described as heart-shaped. Its flowers have four petals and they grow in clusters called panicles. The intense scent of lilacs is one that lingers in the memory and, as a result, has been used in perfume and many other scented products. This much-loved plant, a native of the European Balkan countries, has been admired for its beauty, fragrance and dependability. Plants were carried along the silk route to Istanbul, centre of the Ottoman Empire. In 1563, lilacs were taken to the court of Austria in Vienna and a few years later to Paris and from there were soon passing from garden to garden throughout Europe.
Think Lilac and think England– The Edwardians adored lilacs, thinking no garden complete without one and, in houses built at least a hundred years ago, the chances are that there will be one and it doesn’t have to be purple.

Lilacs flower on old wood but even very old trees can be rejuvenated by pruning. Although almost indestructible, they will not produce their best show of flowers unless they are looked after and pruned correctly which entails a partial pruning after flowering over a three year period. After five years there will once again be an amazing display of blooms. Lilacs are not a particularly attractive plant except in the Spring so it is a good idea to place them in the background of the garden or, where the climate allows, Clematis climbing through the Lilac branches almost takes the breath away. The common lilac planted in my PAST Garden was grown from a cutting. How exciting when a cutting flourishes after being nurtured and, even more exciting, when the blossoms appear. Another memory when thinking of Lilacs, stems from my performance (when a youngster) at a church concert where, dressed in a lilac-coloured gown, I sang THE LILAC TREE while taking apples from my basket and tying them to a lilac tree branch. As I recall, I was being closely watched by a young lad – all part of the performance, of course. From THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS – Lilac(purple) – first emotions of love. Lilac(white) – youthful innocence.