Six on Saturday – W34/2020 – Whispers of spring

The first whispers of spring are tip toeing through the garden as the weather slowly starts to warm up. The Mickey birds are preparing to nest, surreptitiously taking my old mans whiskers, Tillandsia, for their nests and chasing away any other bird species. They are extremely territorial during breeding season, and they often do a very close fly past your head, just to warn you that they are watching!

In our garden the first whispers of spring are is reflected in the slow coming to life of the native red cedar tree, Toona ciliata, a street tree just outside our garden. This tree is a hardwood tree and is one of a few of Australia’s native trees that is not evergreen, even though it only loses its leaves for about 2 months of the year, June to August. The wood from this tree is reportedly easy to work and is a lovely reddish colour. This is also the tree that the frogmouth was roosting in during the day (see blog post for W26).

New shoots on the Red Cedar Tree, Toona ciliata

Justicia aurea, the Yellow Brazilian Plume, is in second place for this week’s blog. This plant was grown from a cutting I received last year from a local gardener. I planted it out in July, and it has just started to flower. It is a beautiful lemon colour. The plant itself is still relatively small, only about a foot high, and it looks a little scraggly. Come spring it should hopefully start filling out.

Justicia aurea

3. Yesterday saw the completion of the ‘post’ project in the front garden! The second post (featured last week as it had been chomped by a wood cockroach) is now firmly in place in the garden. Now that it is in place, and the mound of soil and heavy clay is gone, I will be filling up the remaining spaces with some new plants. These new plants have to be planted soon to give the plants a good head-start of a couple of months before the summer heat kicks in.

4. Featured before, and no doubt it will be featured again as it is one of my favourite plants, is Velthelmia bracteata, the forest lily. It has just started to flower, with a raceme of delicate dusty pink tubular flowers. This is a spring flowering bulb and is ideal for light shade. This plant is growing in a pot.


5. Two plants that have germinated from The Bee Mix of seed sown in Autumn, are Dill and a single Phacelia. Both are just starting to flower.


And finally, the Magnolia! This poor plant has been severely pruned back in past years as I had no idea what it was. It kept growing back. Last year I forgot to prune it and it flowered, and since then I have encouraged it to grow. This is its first flower of the season.

After the usual weekend chores I will be relaxing and doing some armchair travel around the globe to have a peep at what other gardeners are doing in their gardens. The host of these Six on Saturday memes is The Propagator, so pop over to his blog, have a look in the comments section for the gardening links, and if you’re inspired to join in, then check out the participant guide here.

Have a lovely gardening week!


  1. I’m glad you have finally found out about the magnolia, they’re such beautiful trees. I have a pink Justicia, I do like the yellow one. Never heard of Velthemias but it does look nice. Sort of a hyacinth/kniphofia.

  2. I’m sure it must be nice to have a native tree just outside, and to have it in leaf for most of the year.
    There has been controversy locally as roadside trees planted are being removed because they are destroying footpaths. Very divisive issue.
    I’m reminded of The Lion King when I see the name Toona ciliata!

    • Ha ha! Hakuna matata!!
      Some of our neighbours are fighting with Council to have the footpath trees removed, but we love our trees and have no intention to remove them. They are so welcome in summer when the provide shade for most of the garden and the house from 15:00. Trees are vital plants, yet many people here remove them as they are worried about the cyclones blowing them down onto their houses.

  3. The new shoots on the Red Cedar look really attractive, and the posts are great. I’d love to be able to grow plants like the Velthelmia outdoors, but iI’ll just have to settle for admiring yours.

    Well, isn’t it a good thing that you stopped pruning the magnolia. 😊 I hope it produces many more flowers for you this season.

  4. I love this mix of exotic (to me) plants and that familiar magnolia that is so much a part of every spring for me for over a decade.

  5. Pretty shades on the magnolia. I bought the tiniest one cheap a few months back. It’s put on quite a bit of growth but I think it may still be a few years to flowering.

  6. We adore Velthemias and have grown them as pot plants in the glasshouse – brought into the house when in flower – for many years and now have half a dozen large pots crammed with bulbs. They are super exotic looking to us and we look forward to them every year.

    • They are one of my favourite plants too! I just love the colour of the flowers. Actually, I bought another one today at a garage sale. It flowers are a deeper colour.

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