Saturday, December 29, 2012


This morning I find this small jewel blooming in between other rupicolous Laelias.

Laelia kettiana

Friday, December 28, 2012


Due to the mild weather some of my grevilleas are still blooming or have already started to bloom. I have a couple of species/cultivars that are not hardy enough for my USDA zone 8, so I'm forced to overwinter them in a veranda.

Grevillea Robyn Gordon. Ok, the plant is in a container and in the veranda, but still the flowers are gorgeous!

Grevillea johnsonii. This species is very thankfull blooming from spring to fall, and sometimes also during the winter.

In the garden the grevilleas are fine and I hope this winter will be mild. Grevillea lanigera Mt tamboritha recovered very well from last winter frost. Grevillea rosmarinifolia is covered with flower buds and in March-April I'll experience a reddish color explosion! The less difficult one that I cultivate in my garden is Grevillea Canberra gem, flowering in March-April and undamaged with -10°C or less.
Grevillea lanigera Mt Tamboritha form.
Grevillea Canberra Gem, the flower buds are still developing due to high temperature up to 15°C during the day.
Grevillea rosmarinifolia in the December sun.
At the beginning of December I was for a couple of days in Seattle and I visited The Desert Northwest Nursery in Sequim. The owner Ian Barclay is extremely helpful and the plant list contains some australian species virtually impossible to find in Europe or even to buy as seeds from Australia. In the next years I'll have some additional Grevillea species blooming in my garden....
Ian has also a very helpful blog with many good informations about the cultivation of plants from mediterranean climate regions of the world.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Autumn blues

Well, this morning waking up was not so nice. The weather is unfavorable and it's no time to go into the garden. The sky is grey and the clouds cannot decide if they give us rain or not. For this reason I have time to post a couple of pictures captured the least days in my garden and greenhouse.
Beginning with the same topic as the last post, my species vanda Vanda coerulea and Vanda coerulescens are blooming. No scent and the flowers last only few days, but I like them much more than hybrids. Later I will post some brightly colored pictures again the blues.
Vanda caerulea

Vanda coerulescens pink form

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Laelia dayana var coerulea

Last Friday I visited a local orchids exhibition with countless hybrids in all the possible color variations and shapes. but at the end what I like the best are natural forms. Back home with 17 new specimens for my collection, my nostrils were stimulated by an intense spicy scent. My Cattleya dayana opened her first flower!

I had some troubles posting the pictures, but finally this is my C dayana coerulea!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


If I could be just half so effective as plantsman, as he is as swimmer..........

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I do not remember exactly, but must be four to five years ago that I purchased a plant with few violets as weeds in the container. They were so dark blue that I didn't clean off the surface of the container. After years they have migrated as weeds in some locations in the garden, freely cross breeding with the usual forms of Viola tricolor present in my region. The following pictures show some of the nice results.
Top: "originally purchased" violet.

Love or Hate

A friend of mine loves Kniphofias........ So I captured these pictures a couple of hours ago especially for you!
Kniphofia galpinii

Kniphofia galpinii

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Addendum to not invited visitors

These pictures show the progression of the damages in less than one week!

White in the Garden

For some unknown instances some plants are precocious this year as the cold weather of the past Winter has stimulated their metabolism! My Eucryphia xnymansensis opened the first flowers just yesterday evening. And despite it was frozen to the soil, also Mandevilla laxa has begun to flower. I also perhaps discovered another factor leading to high mortality under bees... (no this is just a joke, if is true that crab spiders hunt bees they usually do not focus on this insects but hunt all possible species ).
Eucryphia xnymansensis

Mandevilla laxa

White hunter (quite probably a crab spider from the Thomisidae family)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Not invited visitors

Last year I experienced just focal damage on my box parterre due to the new introduced pest in middle Europe, the box tree pyralid (Glyphodes perspectalis). This small moth from Asia may cause relevant damages, with the caterpillars that can complete defoliate a parterre. This year the problem is more relevant with hundreds of caterpillars feeding on my plants. Well yesterday evening I treated the plants bit spores of Bacillus thuringiensis. I hope I can keep the problem under control without chemicals.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June Yellow

I did a quick foto shoot from yellow blooming pearls from my garden.The first one is Cattleya xanthina, a medium large Cattleya from South America, nice pastel yellows but no scent. The second one is a small rupicolous Laelia also from South America, Laelia briegeri. The single flowers are small (4-5 cm in diameter), the culture is quite different as for normal epiphytic Cattleya. Rupicolous C. like when their roots attach to rocks, so I use small rocks and charcoal as potting medium. These species need also less water than epiphytic ones. For the third species we need to change continent. It's a small Arisaema flavum from Asia. The leaves are dark green and glossy. The small flowers appear quite late in the season (from middle June toward). This species is not difficult at all in cultivation, but it 's still one of my favorites.
Cattleya xanthina

Laelia briegeri

Arisaema flavum
Arisaema flavum

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lilium pumilum

This is a nice small species (reaching just 40-50 cm), from North Korea, Manchuria, and Mongolia, that thrive in semi shade to shade conditions in my garden. It's useful to fill short gaps in the blooming season. The pity is, that like all the other Lilium, Fritillaria, Cardiocrinum, they are the favorite dish for the lily beetles (Lilioceris lilii). There are only two solutions: you control twice or three times a day your plants and remove all the adult beetles AND also the eggs, or you go with pesticides.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Creeping Banksias

The flower heads of banksias remain still attractive months and months after flowering. In this days my Banksia petiolaris shows all her beauty displaying huge inflorescence. From the top it is possible to admire the pink color of the anthers. Despite the low temperatures of the past winter the flower buds were not damaged.
Bansia petiolaris

Banksia petiolaris, details of the anthers

Banksia blechnifolia prefers this spring to concentrate in new branches, with warm pastel discoloration and plenty of fine hairs. But the past inflorescence are still impressive.
Bansia blechniifolia, new growth 2012.

Bansia blechniifolia flower head 2011

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Just for the eyes - Itoh Paeonia Garden Treasure

Philesia magellanica - Tree nursery Rein en Mark Bulk

Last weekend I was in The Netherland for a workshop about exam assessment. On Saturday, after the workshop the temptation to visit some nurseries in Boskoop was to big. So I did it. This town is famous for its nurseries, particularly woody plant and perennial nurseries, of which more than 700 are located on long stretches of land, nicely divided by narrow canals. One of the highlights is Tree nursery Rein en Mark Bulk. The catalog deserves some very nice surprises. Several rare species, especially from South America, including Euchryphias, Berberidopsis, Drimys,Lapageria, and more. To be honest, I organized myself from the beginning taking with me a quite bigger suitcase as needed for a 3daystrip. So I had plenty of space for new species. I have now a couple of new species, e.g. some Chilean Lomatia, a Drimys andina (or Drimys winteri andina), or a Grevillea Big Red (that, I hope, will resist my winters). The nursery owner Mark Bulk is extremely nice and helpful.

2004 Philesia "Cutting" with a double clay pot to maintain constant humidity. The plant is in a small pot because Philesia like Lapageria dislike been in too big containers.

Exactly eight years ago I visited the nursery and ask for Philesia magellanica. Mark had only one "mother" plant and just two small cutting that were at this time technically spoken "just cuttings" with few brittle roots. It was not easy but at the end I was the proud owner of two small Philesia. Well, Philesia magellanica is extremely "take it easy" plant. After years and years, you may recognize the first true growth. In my case this was for three years (2009). So I was proud to tell Mark about my success with "his" Philesia cuttings.
2012 One of my "Bulk Philesia".

And last but not least, yesterday a noticed the first flower bud. And one of my great whishes is to be able to cultivate a cross between Philesia and Lapageria, the Philageria. This hybrid seems to be like The Holy Grail, everyone speak about it, but no one had saw a single plant....
2012 Flower bud.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Laeliocattleya BLUE BOY x Laelia purpurata WERKHAUSERII

I have just few Cattleya hybrids. I prefer species, buth this one had irresistible colours!

Sowing a new generation

I'm working a lot these months, but I try to have some time for my passion. So I ordered in December/January some seeds from South Africa and other regions with Mediterranean like climate. The most important point is to known for the single species if the seeds require special treatment before sowing (or even after sowing) or not. Several species require smoke treatment, and even more species require after sowing changing night/day temperatures with at least 8°C difference.
It is important to note exactly what you do (e.g. sowing time, seeds treatments, sowing medium) and also the results in order to progress from year to year.