Crikey! Don’t know what it’s like at your place, but the paddock is about as hot as Mount Vesuvius on eruption day. At least the summer flowers are coming out. There are a few daylillies around the place to cheer up overheated paddock workers. These flowering plants originated in China and like all chinese plants, thrive in Oz. The name daylilly was an easy choice as the flowers last for a day. But, in flowering season, there are plenty of buds so you get a new flower each day. The daylillies I have were gifts from various people when we first moved here. They tend to make a new plant every year or so and can then be divided. People who are mad keen on these things hybridise them to try and achieve a new flower which they can then grandly name. So if I were to hybridise one, (which I surely won’t), I could call it Responsabilis Puberus for the Responsible Adult. Anyway, back to when we got here. So there was much fuss over the growing and particularly the selling of these plants. Unfortunately, the growers appeared to tackle competition as something to be smothered rather than joining together to make us the Daylilly capital of Oz or something. Prices got quite high – not quite like the great tulip bubble in the 17th century, but still very pricey. These days, you can buy very nice ones for about a tenner, but your best bet is to find other growers and swap your divided plants. Costs nothing. Here’s a pic:
Don’t fret – this has nothing to do with gruesome dismembering of Australia’s national animal the boingaroo. As well as being something that boingaroos use for boxing matches, kangaroo paws is the name of a flowering plant native to Western Australia. Normally in the paddock, I grow only species that are endemic to our specific location. I figure the wildlife will appreciate those plants the most. But around the groovy pad, I am happy to plant other Australian plants. And lets face it, birds in particular travel great distances. Lots of them are nectar feeders and love plants like grevillia. Anyway, kangaroo paws don’t necessarily look that great, but if you give them a bit of love, they will flower profusely and provide a nice bit of colour. Here’s what they look like:
Before setting out for a few hours hard labour at La Studio yesterday, I took time to smell the bottlebrush (and Lillypillies and Grevillias). These are all native plants that I put around the home paddock over the years. The good thing about them is that you can plant them and then just ignore them. No need to talk to them or play music to them, they just mind their own business, grow and flower. Time saved by planting these stoic Aussie plants may then be spent lovingly serving the needs of the Responsible Adult – which all good Paddock Workers should do.
Every summer, when the Wisteria is growing 3 meters an hour, and when its roots go all the way under the cubby house and throw up shoots the other side I sit on the verandah and plan its total destruction as a menace. But then I know it will look like this for two weeks every spring and so it stays. If you’re ever tempted to take one home to your paddock – be warned – it will never cease in its quest to dominate the entire paddock. My tip is to be brutal. Never encourage it with fertiliser and show it the secateurs every week. An occasional flogging may help.
Des and June grow and sell Orchids at our local Co-op between June and September each year. The Responsible Adult told me years ago that while she appreciates cut flowers, she does consider them to be a bit wasteful and would much prefer Shiraz and chocolate. From time to time then, I may purchase a flowering plant on the basis that we will get the nice flowers over and over. The problem with this theory, is that while I can usually get the plant to remain alive, they never seem to want to flower again. I’ve tried the Princely methods – talking to them nicely, talking to them not so nicely, playing Mozart to them as well as Death Metal, but nothing has worked for me.
So it was great when June phoned me last night and I had an opportunity to ask Des for some advice. Pretty simple really – keep them in a well ventilated spot with just a bit of sunlight each day and add slow release fertilser from time to time. I shall try this and report back. If it doesn’t work, I may just take them back to Des with the advice that he should make it flower and sell it to me again next year.