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)

SKIES OVER SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

Psalm 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.                                                                                                                                                                                     For many years I have had a keen interest in observing the clouds, whatever the weather, especially when looking through the lens of a camera, and over that period have taken a series of photographs from the window  overlooking my back garden. When I moved to my current home 10 years ago there were 3 Alder trees in my small back yard and I enjoyed their fine foliage and the structure they brought to the garden even though they were not growing in a climate to which they were suited.  (Alder is the common name of a genus of flowering plants  belonging to the birch family).

Living in the driest State in Australia should determine the plant choice when establishing a garden.  The Alders had been here for many years but after a  year of serious drought (and possibly their age) they had to be removed.

I  planted three Manchurian Pears at my back fence and they now bring afternoon shade to the back windows, from which I take the photographs.

 Genesis 9:16 – Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.

 

CLARE VALLEY – SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The Clare Valley is an area in which to enjoy an amazing mix of rich heritage and breathtaking scenery, with great food and wine experiences – a series of memorable moments.  Driving time from Adelaide, capital city of South Australia, is around 100 minutes (not allowing for stops for photo opportunities).

One does not necessarily need to be a wine lover to thoroughly enjoy all that this area has to offer.  During the recent visit to Adelaide of my friend from Switzerland we had an overnight stay in Clare and were able to visit several of the 30 + Cellar Doors. Many of the properties are quite historic and the well-manicured gardens sit beautifully into the hillsides with the green leafy vines extending in all directions.

The photographs I share here were taken at Skillagolee where we enjoyed a scrumptious Brunch.

There were wines to be tasted in many places so we had to leave this area of beauty and relaxation and move to our next stop which was at Sevenhill Cellars, established by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1851. It is the oldest winery in South Australia’s Clare Valley and the only remaining Jesuit-owned winery in Australia. This is a place of rich heritage and there is a walking trail (with map) with information along the way. The religious buildings are surrounded by vineyards and a lovely shaded lawn area, perfect for picnics and a place to relax. A step back in history.

We were now heading South but called at two more wineries along the way –

The little town of Mintaro was our next stop when we came upon a “GARDEN”sign.  We soon found Mintaro Garden Rooms where we meandered along the pathways through the various rooms with creative features and fragrances.  The garden was established in 1995 and was developed from a bare paddock and 3 existing trees. The whole area is reliant on water from the River Murray with a permit to irrigate and there is also an on-site bore. The average rainfall is 550mls  and the earth is red/brown over hard limestone. Beds are heavily mulched with leaf litter and pea straw and the fertile soil is regularly fertilised.  The bird life is plentiful.  A delightful place to take time out.

Last stop for the day was at Reilly’s Cellar Door in Mintaro where we enjoyed the best scones ever.

I was the driver for this excursion so not able to comment on the wines but those with discerning taste buds were making favourable comments and packing bottles into cars before leaving.

CHRISTMAS BUSHES – AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

BURSARIA SPINOSA is a small shrub in the family Pittosporaceae. The species occurs mainly in the eastern and southern half of Australia and not in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It is widespread throughout South Australia, the State in which I live. It has brown bark and dark green leaves. The fragrant white-cream flowers adorning the tips of the branches drew my attention when walking recently in the Laratinga Wetlands in Mount Barker. They are prolific in that area in roadside vegetation where the flowers are quite showy as they blanket the bushes.

 

NEW ZEALAND CHRISTMAS TREE isa coastal evergreen tree in the myrtle family that produces a brilliant display of red (or occasionally orange, yellow or white) flowers made up of a mass of stamens. Renowned for its vibrant colour and its ability to survive even perched on rocky, precarious cliffs, it has found an important place in the New Zealand culture for its strength and beauty. The blossom of the tree is called kahika.     

Beautiful specimens are currently in flower along the south coast of South Australia and the one photographed is at Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot, South Australia.

PASSION FLOWERS AND PASSIONFRUIT

Passiflora edulis is a vine species of passion flower that is native to southern Brazil through Paraguay to northern Argentina.  Its common name in English is passion fruit.  The passion fruit is a vigorous, climbing vine that clings by tendrils to almost any support. It can grow 15 to 20 ft. per year once established and must have strong support.   It is generally short-lived (5 to 7 years).

 There are a number of varieties of passionfruit, some are sweeter than others, some are the size of an egg and some are three times as large.  It is cultivated commercially in tropical and subtropical areas for its sweet, seedy fruit. The fruit is both eaten and juiced; passion fruit juice is often added to other fruit juices to enhance aroma. The nearly round fruit has a tough, smooth, leathery, usually dark purple outer which houses pulpy juice and as many as 250 small, hard dark brown or black seeds. The unique flavour is sweet/tart to tart. 

Australia is an area of high passion fruit consumption due to history and familiarity. Passion fruit flourished here before 1900 in what had been banana fields. It attained great importance until 1943 when the vines were devastated by a widespread virus. Although some plantations have been rebuilt, they cannot produce enough passion fruit to satisfy the demand and imports make up the balance.  A passionfruit-flavoured soft drink called Passiona has been manufactured in Australia since the 1920s.  Cottee’s was started by a dairy farmer called Spencer Cottee. Mr. Cottee grew passionfruit on his farm but was so good at it he often had a lot left over. Not wanting to waste any, he began creating the passionfruit drink we still know today, Passiona.

 The pulp is added to fruit salads, and fresh fruit pulp or passion fruit sauce is commonly used in icings, as a topping for pavlova (a regional meringue cake) and ice cream, as well as flavouring for cheesecake. The juice is high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and carotenoids (vitamin A).

To my delight my neighbour at the back of my property in Adelaide, South Australia, has a very healthy passionfruit vine growing along the fence and of course much of it finds its way over the top and hangs down on my side.  During  Spring the flowers are born at each node on the new growth on the vine and become something of amazing intricacy in form. The bloom is clasped by three large green bracts and consists of five greenish-white sepals, five white petals and a fringe-like crown of straight, white-tipped fronds which are rich purple at the base. It also has five stamens. After about six months the purple fruit is ripe for picking.

Banana passionfruit is the fruit of several plants in the genus Passiflora, and is therefore related to the passion fruit. They look somewhat like a straight, small banana with rounded ends. It was given this name in New Zealand, where passionfruit are also prevalent.

 

KANGAROO ISLAND, AUSTRALIA

Kangaroo Island is Australia‘s third-largest island, after Tasmania and Melville Island. It lies in the State of South Australia 112 km (70 mi) southwest of Adelaide.  The island is 150 km (93 mi) long and between 90 km (56 mi) and 57 km (35 mi) wide, its area covering 4,405 km2 (1,701 sq. mi).

Kangaroo Island has a Mediterranean climate: typically warm to hot dry summers (Dec/Jan/Feb) with very low humidity; and cool, mild winters (Jun/Jul/Aug). Spring (Sep/Oct/Nov) and autumn (Mar/Apr/May) are true shoulder seasons where days can be more like winter or summer or something in between! During our week-long visit in October we experienced all four seasons, without the heat of mid- summer.

Kangaroo Island is one of South Australia’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting over 140,000 visitors each year, with international visitors, primarily from Europe, accounting for more than 25% of these visits.

Stokes Bay is a coastal community situated adjacent to Lathami Conservation Park in the middle of the north Coast of Kangaroo Island. The island’s most populous town, Kingscote, is about an hour’s drive southeast of Stokes Bay along the Playford Highway.  This is where we recently visited the amazing KANGAROO ISLAND BUSH GARDEN.

Plants native to Kangaroo Island grow alongside many rare, endangered and spectacular plant species at the Stokes Bay Bush Garden. It is a three hectare property owned by Carol and John (born on the island) Stanton who, after a visit to Western Australia in the eighties, commenced the never-ending work of building a unique garden where a huge range of plants can be seen in one spot. The garden includes over 1,100 named plants including 150 species indigenous to southern Australia, 16 species found only on Kangaroo Island, 75 varieties of banksias, 45 dryandras over 145 varieties of grevilleas and many seasonal native orchids.  According to John the rainfall average is about 500 millimetres so once the plants are established they really have to look after themselves.

This is a serene setting with beautiful plants and birds – a plant lover’s paradise. It is almost like strolling through the bush in search of something special and actually finding it at every turn. The plants are numbered and named in the brochure provided. The owners have invested years of hard work for the enjoyment of many visitors.   We certainly enjoyed every moment we were there, with cameras working overtime.

WHAT IS A BOTTLEBRUSH?

  1. A type of brush intended for cleaning bottles
  1. Callistemon, a genus of shrubs and trees from Australia known as bottlebrushes

Common name: Bottlebrush. The name derives from the plant’s flowers, which look like brushes for cleaning bottles.

Bottlebrushes are members of the genus Callistemon and belong to the family Myrtaceae. They are closely related to paperbark melaleucas, which also have ‘bottlebrush’ shaped flower spikes. It is difficult to tell to which genus some species belong. Botanists are currently closely studying these plants to determine how they are best classified. There are 40 species currently called Callistemon. Bottlebrushes make excellent garden plants. They are woody shrubs which range from 0.5 m to 4 m tall. They grow in all but the driest areas of Australia.  Plants grown in full sun produce the best flowers.

The flower spikes of bottlebrushes form in spring and summer and are made up of a number of individual flowers. The pollen of the flower forms on the tip of a long coloured stalk called a filament. It is these filaments which give the flower spike its colour and distinctive ‘bottlebrush’ shape.  The flowers can be spectacular and are irresistible to insects and nectar-feeding native birds, especially the honey eaters. Gardeners are rewarded with an extraordinary depth of colour as they flower prolifically. They are long-lived and require minimal maintenance. The original bottlebrushes available to gardeners were all bold red but now there is a range of colour from red to pink, mauve, yellow, cream and green.

When walking in my local area during this past week I was very aware of the masses of flowers on the red bottlebrushes and very excited to come across both a pink one and a cream one. Hence the following photographs have been taken on my iPhone.

Crimson Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus ) was introduced to Britain by Joseph Banks in 1789.