"Some random flowers in bloom"

Some unusual flowers are out now in my garden.
Sunday, 02 May 2021     

Impatiens bicaudata

Walking around my garden with a friend last week looking at some of the more unusual flowers out at this time, I realised I had not previously mentioned a few of these in my blog properly or even at all, so today I decided to talk about a couple of them. Most are long-blooming and still look good now, as we enter the last month of autumn.The first one we admired was an unusual shrubby Impatiens from Madagascar, called Impatiens bicaudata. I received this a little over a year ago as a cutting from a friend and in that time it has grown to a height of around 1.8 m, developed a stout trunk, and hasn't stopped flowering. The orange and yellow curled flowers are like a flock of tiny, exotic birds, or perhaps a school of open-mouthed goldfish! The lush-leaved plant grows in part to full shade, liking well-drained soil but appreciating some moisture, especially during the warmer months. It is cold sensitive, so I cut it back in mid-August. It grows readily from cuttings. My shrub grows with red-flowered cane Begonia and shade-tolerant Salvia splendens in scarlet tones.

Nearby is an interesting shrubby Salvia from Mexico, with small, intensely violet-blue flowers with white markings on the lower lip. This is Salvia caudata, sometimes called 'El Cielo Blue' or the blue sky Mexican sage. It grows to about 1.5 m tall. The blooms appear over a long period from summer and into autumn. It is not a showy plant but the colour of the flowers attracts attention. It will grow in sun or part-shade and doesn't need any special conditions. It is frost sensitive. I prune it in mid-August. It grows from cuttings and also self-seeds a bit.

In a hot, rather dry bed in my garden I have been growing Hemizygia obermeyerae for more than a year and have been pleased with it. It's a rarely seen shrubby perennial, sometimes called the pink mist bush, cuttings of which has been handed around between keen gardeners in Sydney for many years. I had tried it previously but hadn't had much luck with it, but in its current position, it is thriving and it seems that it likes a hot, sunny spot and doesn't want to be overwatered or crowded by other plants. It gets to about 60 cm tall. I grow it with various hybrids and cultivars of compact Salvia microphylla. It is quite drought tolerant. It has been flowering for many months and is still in full bloom. I recently saw it in a friend's garden (as pictured above), looking magnificent! It hails from South Africa. I will prune this in mid-August. It grows from cuttings. A cultivar with white-variegated leaves is striking; it is possibly 'Candy Kisses'.

Another shrub that has been grown from cuttings amongst my gardening friends is a gorgeous robust Fuchsia known as 'Gerhada's Panache'. It has the typical Fuchsia triphylla flower form of a long thin tube, flared at the end, in a lovely rose hue. My shrub grows to about 1.5 m. Investigating its parentage, I have discovered that it was bred in the Netherlands by Herman de Graaff (registered in 2003), and it has a complex background that does include the species Fuchsia triphylla but also Fuchsia paniculata (which appears to be very similar to Fuchsia arborescens) and some other species. It grows best in filtered light and basically blooms all year. I prune it every so often to neaten it up.

The final plant I will include is the lemon-coloured version of Ruellia brevifolia, a small, shrubby plant (ht 30-50 cm) from South America with funnel-shaped flowers with from the Acanthaceae family that has sprinkled itself throughout my garden via self-seeding. The usual flower hue is bright orange-red, which I enjoy, especially in dry, shaded areas with other hot-coloured blooms, but the lemon one is a true delight. It self-seeds true to type. Flowering occurs on and off during the year but seems to be most prolific in autumn. I have it growing with the pale blue flowers of Plectranthus zuluensis and a pale yellow Lantana cultivar; I am looking forward to adding a pale yellow Abutilon to this area, recently acquired as a cutting. It also looks good near a lime-leaved coleus and a bright blue, self-sown Browallia americana (a very long-flowering annual), as pictured above.

These interesting plants add a piquancy to my garden, and because they all were given to me as cuttings from gardening friends, they conjure up happy memories as I wander round each day!

 Reader Comments

1/7  Shaun - 2075 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 03 May 2021

Delightful update of your now garden, I love the add of the word 'piquancy' and shall try to add some to mine!! Thanks Deirdre Shaun Hurley Ha ha! Not sure why that word popped into my head but it seemed apt. Deirdre

2/7  Pam - 2159 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 03 May 2021

It is wonderful that our gardens still have a lot of flowers in bloom. Mine has a pale pink, scented Luculia, which brings back happy memories of an aunt who grew it in a quiet corner of her garden. How lovely to have that Luculia growing. I have never had any luck with it! Deirdre

3/7  Jean - 4035 (Zone:11A - Sub-tropical) Monday, 03 May 2021

The Impatients make a good splash of colour right now. And the Vincas which are even more common can be relied on throughout the year. I have the Mussaenda Calcutta Sunset that is the other variety to Bangkok Rose - both are in striking bloom of tinted yellow and pink flowers. And my Salvias in shades of purple make a grand sight! I envy you being able to grow those warm-climate plants! Deirdre

4/7  Mandy - 2515 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 03 May 2021

I wonder how I could get seeds or a cutting of the Impatiens bicaudata. Do you know of anyone who would sell to me. Thank you, Mandy The gardener I got it from bought it online so maybe Google the name. You could also try our plant swap facility. Deirdre

5/7  Christine - 2429 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 03 May 2021

Hi Deidre, I always thought my blue browalia was Americana but not sure now. It is definitely perennial and doesn't self sow. I cut it back fairly hard mid winter and it then re- shoots in Spring with great vigour..grows to a metre tall and is stunning with that white centred azure blue flower. Grows extremely easy from cuttings so has been shared heaps. Just love it. Do you think it is a different variety of browalia? Have shared cuttings with local nursery too. It sounds fab. I will look into it a bit. Deirdre

6/7  Christine - 2429 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 03 May 2021

Sorry for my incorrect spelling of Browallia!!! Have just been googling and guess it can be either a shorter annual or taller perennial, Speciosa??????

7/7  Shaun - 2075 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Tuesday, 04 May 2021

words ('piquancy')gardening, French and moosic, all 'some of my favourite things, Deirdre

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