Tuesday 25 May 2010

Herbs; Mexican Tarragon;

Mexican tarragon is originally from Guatemala and the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Family: Asteraceae
An easy to grow perennial. Tagetes lucida is t is native to Mexico. It likes to grow in full sun. This herb grows to a height of 70 cm. It flowers in summer and is not only welcome in the herb garden it is also a welcome addition any where in the garden as it is very attractive and freely flowering with its heads of deep yellow flowers. Remove the spend flowers and it will continuously flower into autumn. The leaves have a distinct aniseed scent and flavour like French Tarragon.
I cut my bushes back in winter.

Food; it can be used like French Tarragon. Leaves can be steeped into vinegar to make Tarragon Vinegar. I dry flowers and leaves to use in my herb salt. It gives the salt an interesting taste but not overpowering just a hint of anis.
A soothing, aromatic herbal tea is made from the leaves.

Planting by seed or division.
Planting Depth: Cover base of crown with soil, firm down.
Details: Cut back hard after flowering to promote new growth.

The botanical genus name Tagetes is in reference to a Roman deity, Tages which, an Etruscan god of prophecy, but was later adopted as a son or grandson of Jupiter by the Romans). The species name lucidus bright (cf. lux light) refers to the bright yellow flowers.

What is Paradise? But a Garden, an Orchard of Trees and Herbs, full of pleasure, and nothing there but delights.

William Lawson, 1618.

Thursday 20 May 2010

SkyWatch Friday; Variations and Impressions;

Very early morning on lake Rotorua NewZealand; I like how the sweep of pink reflects in the lake.
Driving along this black cloud was following us. In front huge NewZealand Flax.

A wind swept sky; beautiful stands of Pampas grass. I think it is a declared weed today, it was introduced by early settlers as windbreaks. I think it is beautiful.

On our way to the Coromandel we saw this huge wetland area. The sky was a splendid match to this natural wonder.

Please follow the link SkyWatch Friday;
Thank you to the team.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Nature in Peril;

I saw this beautiful moth sitting on a leaf of a Bougainvillea; unfortunately I could not find its name. Please click the picture to see its really nice pattern and colour, even with closed wings.

The flower of the Coast Banksia;

Carpenter bees are some of the largest and most spectacular of the native Australian bees. Their name comes from their habit of nesting in soft wood, like dead banksia trees, in which they cut entrance holes with their strong jaws.

I tie dead tree trunks to the trees for the Carpenter bees to make their home. They are very beautiful like huge Bumblebees. There is one ready to come out.

Ants use the leaves of a Golden Penda to make their nest. Do not disturb it or they are quickly all over you!

Clarence River Baeckia is a beautiful, native, weeping shrub or small tree.

Miss Bella the resident Python makes herself comfortable on the Bromeliads to catch the early sun.

Grevillia Banksii is easily propagated from seed.

Third of plants and animals 'at risk of extinction'
One third of plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, a UN report is expected to conclude this week.
By Matthew Moore

The world's biodiversity is threatened by the economic growth of countries like China, India and Brazil, the study will say.
While Western countries are increasingly aware of the need to protect endangered species, the developing world's appetite for raw materials is destroying vulnerable ecosystems, the report's authors will warn.

Population growth, pollution and the spread of Western-style consumption are also blamed for hitting plant and animal populations.
Species at risk include the fishing cat, as its wetland habitats in India, Pakistan and southeast Asia are converted for agriculture. Maritime ecosystems are under particular threat, with the south Asian river dolphin among the species whose numbers have plummeted due to damming and overfishing.
The latest report – the third edition of the UN's Global Biodiversity Outlook – is based on data obtained from studies in more than 120 countries across the world.
It builds on recent work for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which showed that 21 per cent of all known mammals, 30 per cent of amphibians and 35 per cent of invertebrates are threatened with extinction.
Speaking in advance of the report, Ahmed Djoghlaf, who heads the Convention on Biological Diversity, said that countries had failed to honour pledges to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss.
He said: “The magnitude of the damage [to ecosystems] is much bigger than previously thought. The rate of extinction is currently running at 1,000 times the natural historical background rate of extinction.”
He added: “It’s a problem if we continue this unsustainable pattern of production and consumption. If the 9 billion people predicted to be with us by 2050 were to have the same lifestyle as Americans, we would need five planets.”

Monday 10 May 2010

"Showoffs" in May, the last month of autumn...

Rust red Bambino Bougainvillea "Pedro";

It is a show stopper with its long arching canes topped by these unusual coloured flowers. Here it grows together with two Iceberg Roses and dark wine red, small shrub; It is an unusual combination but it works well and I like it a lot.

My long time favourite Salvia guaranitica; blue and black;

Rose Seduction is enjoying autumn and is busy making new flowers. A little visitor is seduced by the pretty pink, tasty pollen and nectar.

Poinsettias are starting to colour...

My neighbours oak leaf Poinsettia is already in full swing. Every Year I look forward to see this tree in in flower, it looks so graceful;

This Cordyline has always been a favourite even when it was not at all in "fashion" thirty odd years ago. I am still thrilled by its flowers and the wonderful colours of its leaves.
It grows happily together with a blood grass. The colours suit each other very well, a planting scheme I am not going to change.

This small palm has grown of its own accord from seed lodged in mulch. I think it is what is called a Parlour Palm. I am not absolutely sure. The flowers are insignificant but the seed berries hanging on bright orange branches are spectacular and make this little Palm very special.

The magical white flowers of Camellia sasanqua. This is a big tree and it flowers first of all my Camellias, starting quite early, end of summer.

Cotoneaster is like a beacon for the birds to sample the berries.

Believe it or not:
"There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need -- but not for man's greed." - M. Ghandi:

Enjoy a very nice week.

Monday 3 May 2010

Hibiscus mutabilis

A large shrub or small multistemmed tree that grows up to 5m high with a ca. 3.5m spread.,It's in Malvaceae, the hibiscus family). Dropping its leaves in winter the shrub's slender stems seem to disappear among neighboring plants until midsummer, when it leafs out into a big bushy mass. The large leaves are13 - 18 cm), bright green, hirsute on the undersides and deeply lobed. They impart a coarse texture that gives the plant a distinctive eye-catching appeal. Hibiscus mutabilis is downright conspicuous when in full bloom.. The most notable characteristic of this flowering shrub is that flowers of three distinct colors appear on the bush simultaneously as the blooms color cycle independent of one another. Single and double flowered varieties are available, both having quite large blossoms that are 8 - 13 cm across. After flowering a round, hairy capsule forms which dries and releases fuzzy seeds.

Hibiscus mutabilis is native to southern China but is a favorite landscape plant in mild winter climates.

Little to no care required. This shrub truly takes care of itself and is adaptable to most locations and soil conditions.

This shrub thrives on regular watering but this is optional as it is very drought tolerant.

Three attributes make this a highly desirable shrub - it's drought tolerant, low maintenance and has spectacular flowers. True to its botanical name (mutabilis), it is mutable, it's flowers changing color with age.
Propagate by cuttings, it makes roots easily.

Believe it or not:
Do not look to the ground for your next step, greatness lies with those who look to the horizon.
Norwegian proverb.

Read about Perfume go to Titania Everyday