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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Collectors Plant Fair - Look what I bought!


Yes - this was the weekend for the 10th Collectors Plant Fair. It`s Autumn here and the best time of the year for planting, so what a great time to host a fair who`s sole purpose is to bring together 54 Specialist Growers to purchase from. Hooray! It`s one whole weekend that you can peruse all the amazing plants you generally only see in specialist mail order catalogues.


My girlfriend and I go every year. She buys the tickets, I drive and get the coffees mid morning.
You`ve got to whip around quickly to snap up some of the more rare, unusual and interesting plants, then go around again at a more leisurely pace, to peruse at length the individual stalls that really caught you eye.  You can also attend a guest speaker session which is always fascinating.


My friend led us directly upon entry to the Specialist Begonia stall where I ought these beauties.I love the colours, patterns and texture of these foliage plants - the flowers are a small bonus.We both have a small collection of the beautiful leaved Rex Begonias and were looking to find something special, which of course we did. I`m glad we got in early because they had sold out of the most interesting by lunch. There were so many choices, but of course the rarer a plant the dearer! It`s quite easy to spend a lot of money as you get carried away at the endless photo labels of hundreds of perennials promising flushes of the most amazing flowers. The lush displays of Bromlaids and Carnivorous plants and Orchids, Roses,Bulbs, Exotic Fruit trees - all there to buy!


Yes my friends, I had a a great spend up. I find a quirky pleasure at spreading out all of my treasures and admiring them. Then working out precisely where I`m going to plant them - where they will perform best. Like a lot of avid gardeners, I like to think I can grow most things, even when they are out of their own growing environment. I don`t always succeed, but I having a go. In a large garden like Bloomfield, there is always a spot to squeeze in another plant. I was looking for tough dry Shade plants this year, for a garden bed under trees. I think I`ll keep the Begonias in pots though as they are a bit tender for our winter. I like to group types of plants around the place for effect and ease of care.




This lovely red specimen is a small 2m shrub with the most amazing Autumn foliage called
Enkianthus Campanulatus. It will have cream lily-of-the-valley type flowers amongst lush green foliage in Spring and will need a dark green backdrop to showcase the foliage at this time of the year.







Now this lush beauty is a Climber! It`s called Bignonia Magnifica. The lady explained how she keeps hers as a shrubby mound, and just prunes of the tendrills occasionally - which is what I now plan to do as I`m running out of climbing structures and fences. I bought another climber as well, an evergreen perennial called      Cobaea Scandens or Cathedral Bells. It has large purple cup and saucer shaped flowers.
                               
I`ve always grown Geranium Cransebills. This one is called Samobor or Black Widow. What wonderful foliage, and the flowers are a deep maroon to purple.
Over the years with drought and deluge I have lost many of these treasured purchases, so this is a great way to try some new ones.

Ive decided to grow some Nerines. Mum bought some a few weeks ago at the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show and of course now I want some. I bought this lovely red and a pretty pink one. And a giant Scilla bulb - a big Bluebells.


I bought a few interesting perennials of the Sanguisorba family -` Blackthorn` with ferny foliage and red flowers on tall stems and a smaller one with masses of red flowers held aloft like a halo called` Red Thunder`. Also an unusual type of Salvia - `Przewalskii`, with thick lush leaves and large velvety pink flowers. From the Friends of the Botanic Gardens stall, I bought some tube stock of Megaskepasma erythrochlamys. A great winter flowering shrub with raspberry bracts all over. No wonder it`s nickname is Brazilian red cloak! This is a great stall to buy from as the unusual plants are cuttings from Sydney`s various Botanic Gardens. I also couldn`t resist another picotee Hellebore to add to the collection around a tree, oh, and a hot pink Justicia as well!  I just couldn`t stop!

So I`m going to pot up a few till I work out where to plant them - give them a chance to grow up big enough to survive planting out in a large garden.

And before I sign off I wanted to show you one of the rare salvias I bought last year. It is in full glorious colour right now, so I couldn`t resist. This huge yellow flowering salvia `Medrensis` was just a tiny tube stock last year.....and look at it now, over 2m x 2m and growing!



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