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!
Painting with coleus
10 Oct 21
Coleus can make wonderful pictures in the garden.
03 Oct 21
Tough and undemanding plants from my parents' garden are favourites in my own.
The value of green spaces
26 Sep 21
Earlier this year, I visited Callan Park in Sydney's inner west.
19 Sep 21
Meet some of the ferns that grow well in Sydney,
A garland of daisies
12 Sep 21
Daisies seem to epitomise spring and there are lots to choose from for Sydney gardens.