It’s been a busy few months in the Gardens Team, spring has hit us hard and fast. The rain combined with the warm days has left us fighting to keep up with the rapid speed of grass growth at our properties, let alone the rest of our work. Wednesday’s heavy rain has given me some down time to show you the size of our Bunya Tree (Araucaria bidwillii) cones that have fallen during the recent high winds.
Now that our daylight hours are growing longer, the shallow ebb of Sydney’s winter warms into the few weeks before the spring equinox. This transition is very interesting; it’s an exciting and productive time for all of us birds, bees, lizards and gardeners alike.
I might be a little late to the party in sharing the news, but better late than never, right? The Wisteria at Vaucluse House is in full glory draped along the front of the house colourfully announcing springs arrival.
A beautiful medium-sized, late-season cultivar raised by George Linton at Somersby and released commercially by Hazelwood Nurseries in 1941, Jean Lyne was one of the most popular Camellia cultivars – although now only rarely seen in gardens.
Now flowering at The Mint this little-known species of Dietes is endemic to Lord Howe Island. It features large white flowers and is the tallest of the Dietes genus. It was introduced to mainland Australia in 1869 by Charles Moore, director of the Sydney Botanic Garden, who collected it on Lord Howe Island during a long South Pacific scientific expedition.
When the garden team mentioned in passing to our Director Ian Innes that our annual rose pruning was coming up, he excitedly asked if he could join us and share his knowledge on the subject. The date was set for a cold day in mid-July and Ian joined us for what became a very interesting rose care and pruning class for the team.
With the autumn leaves still falling, winter is the time to come and see our large collection of stunning heritage camellias at Vaucluse House. The current cooler temperatures mean most of our plants should be at peak bloom in the next few weeks (fingers crossed). Below is a selection of images from the cultivars that are currently open, with most of our other plants packed with flower buds which are on the verge of bursting open.
In one of our previous posts I spoke about Sydney Living Museums’ senescent trees and how we are working to ensure their survival at our historic sites. Just over a year ago we started a project to ensure the survival of the Elizabeth Farm European olive tree (Olea europaea), which is believed to be Australia’s oldest living cultivated olive tree.
The Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) is currently in its magnificent full bloom at Rouse Hill House and Farm. This erect scrambling evergreen shrub has been widely planted on the property, in particularly along the arbour path. A native of South Africa, this hardy plant was widely used in ornamental garden situations and also provided dense stock hedging. Though be warned this exotic can become invasive along coastal areas if uncontrolled.
Looking after some of the oldest houses and museums in New South Wales also means we have some of the oldest plantings living alongside each of those properties. Naturally as built structures get older they require conservation and repair, as likewise does our aging – or senescent - tree population. We are working hard to prolong and maintain these plantings - but with the acceptance that unfortunately no tree species lives forever.
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In this Plant your history blog, Sydney Living Museums’ gardening staff and curators share their knowledge and observations about the gardens at SLM. From basic plant information, gardening techniques and tips, through historic versus contemporary understanding of gardens, to what’s currently in bloom at our sites, they have plenty of insights for you.