Sunday, 25 November 2007

Green Thumb Sunday

This is my first Green Thumb Sunday Post so I'm quite excited. These are some of the things in bloom in my garden right now. I have learnt from bitter experience that it is best not to fight my landscape and grow what does best in the rather odd soil of the Northern Range. Heliconias love the soil and grow to almost pre-historic size. My soil appears to be quite alkaline because I have to feed very heavily with things like Miracid and chelated iron, if I don't many of my shrubs suffer from pale leaves. Heliconias and orchids do fine.
I'm ashamed to say I don't know the name of this showy little orchid. It starts out purple and goes paler and paler as it gets older.
This is commonly known as "Blue Ginger" but is in fact not a ginger at all. It belongs to the Commelinaceae or Spiderwort family so is related to the Wandering Jew. It looks like a costus hence the name. Its important name is Dichorsanda thyrisiflora. It is one of my favourite blooms because of its unusual colour. This deep blue is not an easy colour to find and it always adds the depth and interest that you must have in a successful bed.
I've posted on this shot before. This is one of my favorite views of my home. I love the demerara windows with the bougainvillea cascading over them. This is my laundry and store room, so no one actually lives here.
The heliconias and ornamental bananas are the biggest bird pullers in my garden. Until I grew them, I had no idea the vast avian population that is drawn to these species. The Sexy Red or heliconia collinsiana in particular, is a huge favorite with the tanagers and the hummingbirds.
The Musa (or ornamental) bananas are a great addition because they are consistent bloomers once the conditions are right. The beauty above is the Musa Royal Purple and it is one of the larger ones, getting up to about 9-10 feet. To keep them from overpowering the garden, I keep the foliage quite sparse. I find this way I can see the bracts or the bananas and the light can get down to the new suckers to help them on their way. Many people are turned off of heliconias and bananas because of their tendency to take over a garden. But like everything else, if managed properly, they know their place!

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