Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rocks In The Garden

Rocks and boulders have been used in garden landscaping for such a long time, they have many varied uses in and around the garden. Rocks and boulders can add quite a lot of interest, dimension, impact and character to the landscape around your garden.

Rocks are often used as garden borders to define the garden edges and to keep soil and mulches on the garden beds. Also great for building retaining walls out of natural stone, which is not only serviceable but adds character and texture to the garden.

Stone walkways and paths is a wonderful way to enhance areas around your home and garden.

Rocks can with good effect be used as mulch on and around suburban gardens and to make beautiful rockery gardens.

And what would a water feature be without rocks and river stones for water to spill over making the wonderful running water sound that is so relaxing when you take the time to just sit and listen.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Callistemmon In Flower Again

This year has been a very strange year, many plants in the garden are starting to bloom early and I have had some trees and plants that are having a second bloom in the one season. Is nature confused I'm not sure. But here are some pictures of my Callistemmon in flower for the second time this year. There were not as many flowers as there were first time around, but the honey eaters didn't seem mind, they have been very busy in my garden feeding.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Brachychiton acerifolums - Illawara Flame Tree

Today we went for a walk around George Pentland Botanic Gardens in Frankston, which were established in 1975 on the site of the original municipal golf course. The garden was developed as a native garden with various collections of Australia Native Plants.

The garden with it's undulating grassed open space is a very pleasant place for all types of community and family group activities. The Frankston City Council along with the Frankston Rotary Club have being working together establish a wonderful playground for the children at the eastern end as well as picnic and barbecue facilities throughout the gardens. The garden have become popular with local residents and visitors alike for family gatherings and the garden are also available for weddings at no charge, although bookings are required through the Frankston council.

While on our walk we came across an Brachychiton acerifolums - Illawara Flame Tree still with a few of it's vivid red flowers on display. What a disappointment to me that it is at the end of it's flowering cycle and not at the start. After research on this tree once home I learn that the Illawara Flame Tree is know for it's evergreen, maple-like foliage and has masses of bright scarlet coloured flowers that come out just before Christmas. So it is on my must do list later this year, to return to the gardens to see this tree in full bloom.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Garden views

Fern House - Garden views

Rose Arch - Summer House
While in Adelaide we made two trips to the Botanic Gardens, on the first day while in the Rose Gardens it started to rain. The rain became heavy enough that we abandoned our visit, it was no good trying to take photos in the rain. On the second visit we spent a lot more time walking around and still only covered about half what the gardens had to offer. A good excuse to revisit the gardens on our next trip to Adelaide. The following photos are view of some of the site we covered on this our second visit.

Conservatory from rose garden - Conservatory side view

Arbor - Goodman Building


Maudi - Pink/White

Cerise Sunset - Beesnees
The motel in which we stayed had taken a great interest in the presentation of their gardens featuring well were Bougainvillea's. Some were young plants and looked as though they had recently been planted. They have chosen a variety of different colours, they will know doubt in time make a wonderful display. The newer plants still had label tags on them, but the older more established plants did not.

Golden Ice - Pink


Monday, March 23, 2009


Photo Hibiscus Iasiocarpus (Woolly Rose-mallow
On a recent trip to Adelaide we spent some time in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens several hours are needed to walk around the gardens to do justice to all there is on display. In flower and looking wonderful this time were some of their Hibiscus, I took photos of any named varieties.
The growing conditions in Adelaide must really suit Hibiscus as many home gardener also grow hibiscus with great success.

Photos Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Rose Scott, Madeline Champion)

Photos Hibiscus arnottianus (Wilder's White) Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Sabina)

Even at the motel where we stayed in Adelaide had the most beautiful specimen of a Hibiscus, no name for this one unfortunately. But it was a very striking red and made a very nice feature plant in the garden. I felt that this plant out did those in the Botanic gardens and it most likely receives very little care or attention.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Adelaide City Of Churches

My recent visit to Adelaide which is the capital city of South Australia and is also know as the City Of Churches. Adelaide is the only city in Australia that can lay claim that it was founded entirely by free settlers. Adelaide was named in honour of Queen Adelaide who was born in Germany, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for the only freely-settled British province in Australia.

Adelaide city's oldest buildings are churches, in particular Holy Trinity Anglican Church on North Terrace built in 1838, and the Quaker Meeting House in Pennington Terrace, built in 1840. The spires and towers of such churches as St Peter's Cathedral, Brougham Place Uniting Church and Scots' Church are still prominent on the city skyline today.

Some of the best examples of Gothic architecture today are Adelaide's two cathedrals - St Peter's Anglican Cathedral at North Adelaide and St Francis Xavier's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Victoria Square.

But Adelaide to me is the birth place of my mother and her family. The Ryles family ancestors emigrated from England and for many generations the Ryles family members have lived in and around Adelaide. In 1998 I started to trace my mothers family, hoping against hope that there may be a family member still alive in South Australia. From what little mum had told us as children I was under the assumption that mum was one of two children. But after some very good research skills of DH and many hours spent in libraries and genealogy centres, it came as some what of a surprise to find that mum was infact one of ten children. Six of her siblings were still alive and living in South Australia, most in the Adelaide area. The first meeting of mum's siblings taking place in Adelaide in February1999 was a very emotional time for me. Since that time we have made regular visits to Adelaide spend time with my Uncles and Aunties all of whom are now in their seventies and eighties. It came as quite a shock to me this trip to find that an auntie and an uncle were now in quite bad health and I feared when saying my goodbyes that it may be the last time that I will see either of them. Why my mum kept her family a secret and took that secret with her to the grave, I don't think I will never know.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Natural Look Pots

Old Pots Or New

On a recent visit to a Nursery I noticed the large range on natural look pots they had available for sale. Some had that old been around for ever weathered look , something quite different from the glazed look pots that are on sale everywhere these days. Pots these days are quite effective in adding character and depth to the garden, gone are the old terracotta potts of old these days the choice is endless.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Frogs In The Garden

There has been much concern about many kinds of frogs disappearing, many frogs are becoming extinct due to environmental problems. The biggest thing causing problems for our frogs is the loss of their habitat. When a frog pond disappears so do the frogs, as farms and cities grow, the wetland and forests that the frogs live in also disappear. Added problems are the acid rain, pollution, polluted waters, diseases, too much sun (where trees have been cut down) big changes in water temperature and day time temperatures.

What can be done to help save our frogs in local areas, help to clean-up rubbish in and around local wetland areas and help keep them clean. This will give frogs somewhere to live, feed and breed.

Frog habitat in my back yard

I have made my own back yard frog friendly by creating a habitat where they can find shelter, where they can find water and they can find food. It took many months of planting large and small ferns and baby tears and other plants to create habitat. We erected a water feature, Then covered the entire thing with shade cloth to keep the heat down on hot summer days. With the plants and the water it created a nice little micro climate where small insects the last ingredient to make a frog friendly garden. And it has indeed had the desired effect because over the past few years we have on many occasions see and heard frogs in our garden. We knew we had on our garden the Southern Brown Tree Frogs, photo on the left. But looking at the photo on the right taken this morning we now think the we may have two frog species in the garden this one Litoria verreauxii.


The Southern Brown Tree Frog is a brown frog with a broad darker band from the eyes down most of the back. It has a dark band from the nostril, through the eye, to the shoulder. A pale white stripe runs from the mouth to the arm. The back of the thighs are red. Some specimens from western Victoria and south eastern South Australia can be mainly green. The underside is cream.

Verreauxii Tree Frog is variable in pattern they can have various colour combinations of green, dark brown and light brown. Some are brown with a green stripe down the back and green spreading down each side from the head. Some have a similar pattern where the green is replaced with pale brown. There is a dark stripe from the snout through the eye to the base of the arm. There is dark or black patches on the sides and in the groin, on a pale brown or yellowish background. The male calls from the ground, often several metres from the pond, or floating among vegetation. The call is a whistling burst of 10-20 short notes.

All my effort has paid off, to have possibly two different species of frogs living in my back yard is very satisfying and quite rewarding. I will continue to make sure my back garden remains a frog friendly environment.