What a pearler of a weekend;  crisp, clean sunshine, dazzling blue sky, breezes that carry the smell of murrayas and mint-scented geraniums, full moon rising at dusk and casting bright moonlight over all. It’s heaven pottering in the garden right now.  And I have learned two new things.

1. Making hay while the sun shines is the pits.After our paddocks were slashed, so much raking and gathering hay – and sneezing and scratching. But, discovered there is such a person as a baler, who will come and parcel up the grass and maybe even pay us by the bale? Yay.

Hay baler in action after the slash

2. The most interesting garden information comes from unlikely and unexpected sources.At a local art gallery exhibition I met a charming lady with the unlikely name of Jeannie Little ( a different but no less real “dahling”) . It turns out Jeannie and I are practically neighbours. She lives just a couple of kilometres from me, has been there 40 years, and is a passionate gardener. Her pride and joy are three stunning carphalea kirondron shrubs, presently in gorgeous flower. It’s known as the flaming beauty for its brilliant crimson bracts, within which is its small white flower – a bit like the way bougainvillea flower.

Carphalea flower close up

Jeannie’s carphaleas have been the subject of many admiring comments from passers-by. Having never heard of carphaleas, I googled on the spot and discovered why. They are indeed stunning and I am overcome with garden envy.  I want one. I want one.

And, learning they are an evergreen and flower for months, from early summer to late winter, my interest peaked. Carphaleas are a native of Madagascar,

Carphalea in bloom

grow to a max of three metres, love the heat and humidity and respond well to a brisk haircut. Best of all, they are easy to propogate from cuttings.So I am off to Jeannie’s place pronto, with my secateurs.



A trip to the market this morning and I fell again for the old ruse of buying coriander seedlings. I must have tried growing this herb a dozen times with no success over the years . But March madness and the assurance by the stallholder that’s it’s a good season to put it in, seduced me into buying more.  No big deal if they too fail. I am out of pocket 60c. Gotta love the market’s seed sellers. I’ll keep you posted about whether I am cutting this aromatic plant for salads and soups in a month or so – or if I’m back buying it off the fruiterer’s shelf.

I did resist however, buying any more vegetable seedlings. I have eggplants, heirloom tomatoes, mesclun, fancy lettuce, dill, bok choy and rocket under way in the patch right now. They were battered and flooded last weekend with a very heavy downfall, but seem to be none the worse for it.

And,  good news, the grasshoppers have finally left the sage and thyme alone and they are flourishing.

And to Liz, who is wondering if her garden rubbish pile could be breeding rats ( see comment) I suspect not if there are no food scraps therein. What say you?




4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    suzie walker said,

    Hi Julie
    Do you think the Carphalea would make a good hedge? I am looking for something to block out the house at the back of our garden.

  2. 2

    I would say so, Suzie. Does the area get full sun and is the ground well drained? A hedge of carphalea in full bloom would be stunning.

  3. 3

    Glenys percy said,

    Thoroughly agree with you Julie, Carphalea is flower is just beautiful, We have had one at burpengary, growing inthe front garden for years, Have had people come in to find out what it was. Loved your blog. thanks Glenys

  4. 4

    Thanks Glenys. Lovely to hear from you. You’d have considerable garden and plant knowledge. Any particular care for carphaleas? Do they have any pet hates?

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