Six on Saturday – W38/2021 – A blooming bottlebrush

We have had a couple of warm days this week, with temperatures in the mid to upper 20’s. It is great to work outside in this weather – no dreadful heat and humidity, no mosquitoes – and we are making the most of it while we can. The garden is starting to fill out again, with new growth appearing on most plants. And of course there is more colour! Let us go for a stroll.

1 I almost missed the flowering Dendrobium orchid! This epiphytic orchid is growing on a short branch we had to remove from a Tibouchina tree a couple of years ago. It is doing well, hanging in the shade of another Tibouchina.

2. The most striking plant in the garden this week is this Callistemon. This bottlebrush was planted around 3 years ago, and is looking it’s best yet. I love the golden tipped anthers in the ‘brushes’.

3. The Amaryllis hippeastrum are slowly opening, and more whites and a variegated red flower opened this week. The bulbs I picked up for free from a neighbour and planted a few weeks ago are just starting to send out new leaves. No flowers from them this year, but hopefully they will flower next year.

4. I could not resist including this tree fern frond in this weeks six, as it was looking lovely with the sun shining through it. It provides a natural umbrella over a path near the tap.

5. The small cluster of fairy primula Primula malacoides is coming to the end of its flowering season. I will definitely plant more of these annuals next year.

6. The final one for this week is a lovely magenta Azalea. This small bush is growing in amongst the pale pink flowering Azalea, and as the pale flowers fade it come to the fore and steals the show!

Now that my Six is done for this week, I’m going to take a look at all the other Six’s posts, care of the Propagator! Why not take a look too!


    • Thanks! I now have three tree ferns in the garden. I love their structure and the soft look of the huge fronds. Many of the Callistemon are flowering now, and attracting all the nectar eating birds such as the rainbow lorikeets, scaly breasted lorikeets and the noisy miners. Needless to say the garden is no longer quiet!

    • Thanks Sel. The flower colour is lovely, isn’t it? When out and about on our daily walks I notice the other flower colours and there is a very pretty pink one I would like to get, but there is no room in my garden for another tall shrub!

  1. I’d love to have a tree fern, though I don’t really have room and the tall ones that I could grow stuff beneath are monumentally expensive, as they should be having been shipped round the world. I saw them growing at Mt Mee, is that the same species you grow or are the ones in commerce different? Having seen acres of bottlebrushes growing in water in the Bribie Island swamps I can’t get my head around what setting they look right in. We enjoy one over the fence in a neighbour’s garden, no swamp there.

    • The tree ferns in the garden are Cyathea cooperi which are native to Queensland. The tallest one was here when we bought the property, and I have since purchased two more. They grow quickly, and the original one is now over 2m in height after 4 years. The only problem with the ferns is the amount of spore they release. The ultra fine dust covers everything with a brown layer, and if there is a breeze and the nearby window is open, even the furniture inside gets coated! I had no idea the bottlebrush grew in swampy conditions! I have seen them in native bush areas, and know they tolerate a variety of soils, and they are a popular choice for gardens. Does your neighbour’s plant attract birds to it during flowering?

      • 2m in 4 years is unimaginable for any tree ferns here, most wouldn’t do that in 40 years. The only widely hardy species is Dicksonia Antarctica, very slow. I’ve never seen birds on Bottlebrush, but except for sparrows ripping primroses to bits, our birds are not attracted to flowers. We have no nectar feeding birds at all. I did see starlings seemingly feeding on Puya once, but there are very few places it will grow outside. You wonder how long it would take birds to catch on to a new food source if it became a regular thing.

    • Our garden has a lot of clay, unlike other parts of the district which have the lovely red fertile volcanic soil. A couple of years ago we brought in 4 cu metres of red soil and added river sand to raise the height of the newly created garden beds. I continue to add as much organic matter as possible (manure, some potting mix, compost) and mulch with sugar cane mulch or forest mulch. I also use dynamic lifter pellets to fertilise during the year, but not too much on the native plants as their requirements are different. There has been a marked improvement in the quality of the soil over time. I also try and apply the ‘chop and drop’ to mulch where I can.

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