Archive for the ‘Lambley’ Category

Dichelostemma Ida-Maia (Firecracker Lily) February 2017.

February 3, 2017

Bulbs For Yorke Peninsula

The firecracker lily, Dichelostemma Ida-Maia is a fantastic bulb for the Yorke Peninsula. The foliage grows from  late autumn through winter into spring before dying down then not long after that in late November or early December it starts sending up its flower spikes with many flowers at the top of each spike resembling and exploding sky rocket, where it gets its common name of Firecracker Lily from.

It is a great plant for a Christmas indoor vase display because it has all the seasonal colours; red, green and white. Flowers last in the vase for what seems ages and look beautiful throughout the Christmas-new year week.

Each spike is about 60cm long so a bunch of these make a nice centre piece.

In my garden these are in the dry garden bed which gets no extra irrigation over summer, and these don’t need any water at all. This summer…

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Early Bulbs Order Summer 2016-17

January 30, 2017

My Lambley bulbs arrived and as usual was well packed and in perfect order. The following photo shows the bulbs as they were unpacked and I was amazed at the size of one of the Colchicum bulb sizes. It was of course called “The Giant” so it will be exciting to see if the flower is proportionately as large. Of more interest is whether it will repeat flower in our mild mediteranean winters and very hot summers.

January 2017 early bulbs delivery from Lambley Gardens and Nursery. On the far right is a Sternbergia Lutea (autumn crocus), to the left is the Colchicum"The Giant" followed by Colchicum Byzantinum and Acis Autumnale on the far left. Bulbs are shown for comparison.

January 2017 early bulbs delivery from Lambley Gardens and Nursery. On the far right is a Sternbergia Lutea (autumn crocus), to the left is the Colchicum”The Giant”(2 bulbs) followed by Colchicum Byzantinum (packs of 10) and Acis Autumnale on the far left. Bulbs are shown for comparison.

The following bulbs are early flowering bulbs and well suited to South Australia’s dry climate and mild winters, especially of you are in a frost-free area on the coast. Many bulbs need a good winter and spring chilling to flower effectively but these have been proven to be happy with our mild winters.

The thing about getting hold of these is that you need to get in early and that means the Christmas/New Year period when the focus is on things other than gardens unless you are a very keen gardener. I buy these bulbs from a reputable Australian grower David Glenn at Lambley Nursery and Gardens in Ascot near Ballarat in Victoria. Early autumn bulbs are usually delivered at the end of January or early February while the spring-flowering bulbs can be expected around April.


Byzantine Autumn Crocus

From a genus of tough autumn flowering bulbs (and a few miffy spring-flowering species) which suit our climate very well. They flower, make their leaf growth and retire into dormancy during autumn, winter and spring. Colchicum byzantinum has several large, pink almost tulip like flowers and half a dozen bulbs will make a great display. 30cm x 30cm. Sun or light shade.

Colchicum Byzantinum

Colchicum Byzantinum


Colchicum Byzantinum Autumn Crocus Massed.

Colchicum ‘The Giant’

Giant Autumn Crocus

 Pinkish lavender flowers are produced on very tall stems in autumn. The Giant is good increaser which will soon make a good display in the garden. A spacing of 40 cm would not be too much. Sun or light shade will suit it.


Colchicum Autumn Giant

Acis autumnale

Autumn Snowflake

Found wild in Spain, Portugal, Corsica, Sardinia and North Africa this precious little bulb has thrived here at Lambley in a rough overgrown paddock for 18 years. Each autumn I have large drifts of these white fairy bells hanging on thin 15cm tall stems. A well-drained spot in the sun or light shade which gets a fair baking in the summer suits it. Plant from 5 to 10 centimetres apart and this bulb will soon build up its numbers.


Acis Autumnale – Autumn snowflake from Lambley Nursery and Garden.


Acis Autumnale – Autumn Snowflake from Lambley Nursery & Gardens.


Autumn Snowflake from Lambley Nursery & Gardens.

“HOME GROWN – An Australian Vegetable Garden” DVD Review

January 13, 2016
The front cover of this 2 DVD set features Lambley Principal David Glenn with snaps of his vegetable garden.

The front cover of this 2 DVD set features Lambley Principal David Glenn with snapshots of his vegetable garden.

I recently bought a DVD from Lambley Nursery Gardens located in Ascot near Ballarat in the Victorian Goldfields. This DVD features the vegetable garden of David Glenn and artist Criss Canning and is a true working vegetable garden, not one that is staged for a TV show or built and planted in five minutes on one of the magazine style gardening shows. The price of $39.95 for a 2 DVD set including postage represents good value for this 175 minute production. The production is by the professional crew at Adele Video Production.

It has been a long time since Australia has seen a DVD produced dedicated solely to vegetable gardening. Many years ago through the auspices of the ABC Peter Cundall featured a series of DVDs on vegetable gardening, notably “Patch From Scratch”. Since then vegetable gardening is seen on tv only in magazine snaps without any real substance, each section barely taking more than 3 minutes of air time and often punctuated with a cooking segments as well. Although vegetable gardening and cooking are closely linked vegetable gardeners are looking for detail related to their passion for growing food.

In “Home Grown – An Australian Vegetable Garden” David Glenn covers nearly all the major vegetable groups the home gardener in the southern half of the country could want. Most of the information does relate to growing in cool temperate to cold regions and does not apply to subtropical and tropical crops where the  is totally different and weather, rainfall and seasons do not correlate with the southern areas.

There is some spectacular videography clearly taken from a drone and it is used to good effect to show the artistry of the David Glenn and Criss Canning gardens. During the spring and summer segments the vivid colours over the property are simply stunning and the clear geometry of the property is shown in the winter segments.

The inside over of the DVD box shows the seed collection and details the vegetables covered in this series.

The inside over of the DVD box shows the seed collection and details the vegetables covered in this series.

Apart from the crops listed above special mention is made of Seville Oranges and many of the herbs needed in a good kitchen garden.


These DVD’s are for the gardening enthusiast and those who want to know the origins of the food they put in their mouth. At one point David mentions a dinner where some growers refused to eat the product they grew because they know what was put on them going to market! That is the first good reason to grow your own and the other is the freshness and taste of home grown vegetables. Some crops such as sweet corn deteriorate significantly within hours if being harvested.


The crops in this series are grown from seeds that are also sold by Lambley Nursery and Gardens. David Glenn makes no apology for this and he strongly advocates the use of modern seed varieties rather than heirloom seeds and he develops that argument throughout the videos. If you are an heirloom advocate these videos are still of value for all the information contained in them, much of which applies to all types of seeds and plants but if you are a religious heirloom devotee and cannot tolerate modern hybrids then save your money.


David Glenn presents the narration throughout this series as he does on his “Dry Climate DVDs” and he speaks well and clearly with a soothing and relaxing tone. If you cannot be outside gardening then watching the David Glenn DVDs is a very relaxing way to spend a couple of hours.

David Glenn’s experience as a horticultural expert is undeniable dating back 60 years when he first worked in his uncle’s nursery in England and continued to his present site in Ascot. Today’s Lambley Nursery and Gardens (named after his roots in England) are spectacular in every respect and are a must visit for gardeners travelling through the area. In fact, it is so good that it is worth travelling there just to see these gardens, the dry climate garden is something to behold in any season but if you can’t get there in person consider the DVDs that showcase this garden “Dry Climate Gardening” and you will be amazed at the range of plants that can be grown successfully in a dry climate, and not just succulents and aloes either!


Fashion applies in every area of our lives and these days it seems that carbohydrate is shunned, albeit in error. Carbohydrate is still an essential part of our lives and there is no better carbohydrate to grow in your own garden than potatoes. Unfortunately these weren’t mentioned in this DVD, probably because David doesn’t grow them but most home gardeners still love to grow the spud at home. Many chemicals are used on commercial vegetables before, during and after cultivation to enhance storage and appearance. If you wish to avoid this and taste the sensation of new potatoes then growing your own is a must so I found it a disappointment not to see potatoes on this DVD. A popular fast food burger chain recently released a youtube video showcasing how they used real potatoes for their french fries. It all looks good until the end when they tell you what they spray on their chips because they “all have to look the same!”. Check out their video here if you are interested.

What else? Many things are covered including soil preparation and improvement, sowing, planting, weeding, management and harvesting but watering other than of newly planted seeds and an occasional comment about maintaining moisture for germination, seems to be ignored. Now that maybe because the difficulties of irrigation are so second nature to a commercial gardener (referring to David’s flower growing) that the difficulties experienced by home gardeners are often overlooked. How much, how often, critical times to increase water and when to reduce water are all important to a successful garden and time using a trial and error approach will get you there but it would have been nice to have this issue addressed in a little more detail.


The best place to get your copy of this production is from the man himself David Glenn as Lambley Nursery and Gardens website. Just click on the get your copy link it will take you there.


Highly recommended for any serious home vegetable grower or anyone keeping a restaurant kitchen garden.

Rhubarb Varieties 2012

October 3, 2012

I have recently been given a plant of a giant rhubarb variety known as Stan’s Giant. David Glen of Lambley Nursery swapped this with me for Olearia Pannosa ssp Pannosa which I have collected from a fenceline near an old farm house.

I have become interested recently in rhubarb varieties with a distinct feature that may be of interest to home gardeners. Once such variety is Wallaby Run rhubarb which was given to me by friends Liz and Scott who had it in their vegie garden without any clear idea of its origins apart from Kangaroo Island. This is an interesting variety in that it appears to produce its best in late autumn through to early spring then begins to flower profusely throughout spring and early summer, irrespective of the watering regime. Other old varieties of rhubarb usually tend towards dormancy or reduced production in winter then peak during the warmer months.

I have also acquired another giant rhubarb known as Wandin Giant from New Gippsland Seeds and Bulbs. It is of course possible that these giant varieties are nothing more than the usual run of the mill rhubarb varieties selected for higher production OR they maybe old varieties that are indeed bigger and better than others.  At this stage I am not able to tell any difference between them but will monitor and update as time goes by.

The giant varieties each claim that stalks are produced as thick as a man’s forearm. I hope that is the case and look forward to photographing these as they develop over the next couple of years.

Single plant of Stan’s Giant Rhubarb from David Glen at Lambley Nursery, Burnside, Ascot, Victoria swapped for a cutting of Olearia Pannosa. It has been planted in the vegetable garden with a good dose of composted cow manure.

Al-Ru Farm Open Garden and Plant Fair 2012

October 3, 2012


This weekend was a long weekend for Labour Day in South Australia. As  usual there is always plenty on the schedule here and this time of the year that is particularly true.

Nevertheless we decided to get out for the day on Sunday and take in the open garden at Al-Ru Farm One Tree Hill before visiting Jeremy and his family then picking some bits and pieces up including Tom’s motorbike faerings. We had  couple of hours with Jeremy, Kerry and Jayden then spent another couple with Christine Kuys (John’s wife). John had to work so it was cup of coffee and a chat with Chris befoe heading back home.

Plant Fair at Al-Ru

As it turned out the plant fair was a great success for me. I had been able to negotiate a swap with David Glen for one of his Stan’s Giant Rhubarb plants in exchange for some Olearia Pannosa cuttings I had located (see previous blog entry). I did pick up some fresh cuttings and will send over a struck plant once mine have rooted properly in a few weeks.

Lambley’s stand was manned by Pat Hockley and he was inundated earl with buyers. I had no intention of missing out as he had brought over quite a few rarer plants. I will list these a bit later in this post.

There was a nursery selling Bamboo from Victoria- Bamboo Creations. I could not believe they had an Dendrocalamopsis oldhamii which I had been searching for. This is an edible bamboo also suitable for timber, especially trellising, growing 15m tall and 10mm thick. Very exciting! Bought a small one for $65.

Dendrocalamposis  Oldhamii planted 1st October 2012 after purchase from Bamboo Creations at the Al-Ru Farm Open Garden and Plant Fair, One Tree Hill.

The following link shows how to propagate bamboo. Not trialled but included for reference.

Al-Ru Farm Open Garden Flyer

Background History

Ruth & Alan Irving planted a few trees in 1981. Previously sheep grazed to within 10 metres of the small stone cottage and camped under the 10 Ash trees close by. More serious planting commenced in 1985. The garden is now 4 ha (10 acres) in size with 600m of perennial borders. We have bore water.

Winter and Spring

Is heralded at Al-Ru with a constant display of bright pink Silene and lime green Euphorbia, a combination created in heaven to be enjoyed from both indoors and out.

The Pond Garden

with its grasses blowing and Crab Apple Trilobata has matured. The box plants were severely pruned this autumn. Having seen the splendid show of the giant blue asters elsewhere in the garden I have planted som for this year in the raised bed. The golden leafed Robinia pseudoacacia fresia is looking good as is Crabapple floribunda.

The Woodland Garden

is cool and inviting like a woodland which has taken ages to achieve. Helleborus followed by Bluebells, geranium, Aquilegia Campanula, Angelica, Acanthus and all sorts of ground covers give constant joy.

The Rose Garden

will need a new watering system, brick edging and some replanting. I have said this for many years and it is still on the agenda. The Iron Maidens have set the tone in this garden and everything else must follow suit! Daffodils and Freesias abound.

The Pool Garden

is only new and I have already replaced the hedge with Japanese Box. Early October apple and pear tree flowers and Al-Ru Daisy look fresh. I have planted more of these as well as bright salmon Bougainvillea for summer colour. I am keeping this planting slightly wild. I have also planted Buddleja weyeriana Sun Gold so we have butterflies throughout the summer feeding on its nectar. There is something to be said about floating in a pool with butterflies fluttering overhead. We have an active and successful breeding program here at Al-Ru.

The Glass House

still needs a floor, but this will have to wait another year or two as so many other things here at Al-Ru!!

The Meadow Garden

opposite the kitchen window has had a major upheaval in the last 18 months. The hay shed and pergola have been given new life. Bellis Perennis, Schoestyke Daffodils, Helianthus Astersm Lythrum, and Achillea filipendulina Gold Plate all take their turn to make a wonderful show as well as the Easter daisy and simple white Shastas top take over when the bulbs have finished.

The Dam Garden

is a bigger project than I care to think about too deeply and future planning will need time to mature in this large area. The garden seats around the lake make it a relaxing are to think about development.


Alan was given a 1957 Auster for his 70th birthday. We have mown an airstrip in the front paddock for him to bring the aircraft home from Gawler airfield.


The cold winter has severely retarded our gardening efforts. The Iris varieties are all slow to flower this season. I have changed my watering routine. Some areas do not get watered at all and others far less than previously. Lawn areas are kept tall in summer to protect roots and keep them cool allowing me to water less. I believe passionately that we must look after all our large trees and not allow them to die as this will have tragic consequences for our environment. I always make sure they have sufficient water in late summer.

Plant Fair

We hope to make this an annual event with local and interstate nurseries showcasing and selling their plants. Please visit their stalls to stock up on new plants for your garden.

The Garden Pavilion

The Garden Pavilion is our bed and breakfast cottage for guests to enjoy planted with Simply Magic standard roses. behind this building there are beds of roses for picking, including Graham Thomas, Jayne Austin, Pink Masterpiece and Ellen. There are many sweet smelling plants in these gardens for our guests to enjoy including a highly scented Russian olive.

Garden Weddings

We enjoy weddings in the garden and receptions on the lawns or in the Barn. This little enterprise helps with the costs of garden maintenance and new garden projects. We look on this as “charity for the garden”. It is a wonderful way to share my passion with so many happy guests.

If you want to see more of Al-Ru farm click on this link: Al-Ru Farm website.

Plants Bought at Al-Ru Plant Fair

Bamboo Creations Nursery

Bambusa Oldhamii

Unkown Nursery – SA

Dracunculus Vulgaris

Lambley Nursery, Victoria

Ceanothus Concha

Arguably the most beautiful of all the Ceanothus varieties making an evergreen shrub up to 3 metres in height and as much across. The vibrant dark blue flowers are produced from magenta buds early in spring. Can be pruned to keep it small enough to suit smaller gardens. Best in a sunny spot and is happy in dry parts of the garden.

Ceanothus Concha from Lambley Nursery

Geranium Rambling Robin

A newly imported plant which we got from Olivier Filippi’s nursery in the South of France last year. It’s a hybrid between two South African species, G. incanum and G. robustum. It has the trailing habit of the former and vigour of the latter. In the dry garden it has made good evergreen mats of deeply incised silver-green leaves. It produces large lavender-pink flowers for most of spring, summer and autumn. It is frost, heat and drought tolerant and will grow 30cm tall by 60 to 80 cm across.

Geranium ‘Rambling Robin’ from Lambley Nursery, Victoria

Chrysanthemum Buninyong Bronze

This is the only perpetual flowering Chrysanthemum I’ve ever grown. From spring until early winter and beyond this plant produces a continual display of small bronze-red flowers. I grew it in pots at the front door last season but it is just as happy in the garden. It picks well of course. 60cm by 40cm.

Chrysanthemum Buininyong Bronze

Phlomis Purpurea x Crinita

This new import is, to my mind, the most beautiful in foliage of all the Phlomis. It hasn’t flowered here yet, although it will do so this spring, and it is still such a new plant that our supplier, Olivier Filippi, hasn’t yet listed it in his catalogue. It has made a handsome, evergreen shrub a metre or so tall by nearly as much across in a year. The large felt-like leaves are silver grey on the upper surface and whitish grey beneath. 120cm by 120cm.

Phlomis Purpurea x Crinita

Viola Cornuta

A perennial species of Viola which weaves its way through our borders covering many a bare spot from early spring until autumn with its lilac, long faced pansy flowers. As other perennials grow around and over this Viola it will scramble up through to the light. A plant from hot hillsides in what used to be called Yugoslavia it is much more sun and heat tolerant than the bedding violas which give up at the first blast of hot weather.

Viola Cornuta from Lambley Nursery, Victoria

Salvia Forskaohlei

Black Sea Woodland Sage

We first got seed of this 20 odd years ago from an Archibald collection in woodland near the Turkish Black Sea Coast. We grow it in quite dense dry shade under olive trees and next to a privet hedge. It has large handsome leaves in a loose rosette. During spring and early summer 70cm tall wands carry large deep mauve-blue flowers each with beautiful white lip markings. One of the best plants for dry shade.

Salvia Forskaohlei from Lambley Nursery

Salvia Forskaohlei from Lambley Nursery

Origanum Dictamnus

Origanum dictamnus is a many branched plant with discoid to ovate, grey-green leaves that are sited in pairs opposite each other. The slender arching stems and lanate leaves are covered in a velvety white down and are 13–25 mm in size.

The flowers are pale pink to purple and have a deep lilac corolla with many deep pink coloured overlapping bracts. The colourful flowers forming a cascade of elongated clusters are in bloom in the summer months. The flowers are hermaphrodite, meaning they have both male and female organs, and are pollinated by bees attracted to their scent and bright colour.

Origanum Dictamnus from Lambley Nursery. Photo Wikipedia

Narcissus Xit

This little daffodil has flourished in the toughest conditions in a rough paddock for the last 15 years. Increasing quite quickly it soon makes good multi bulbed clumps of small narrow grassy leaves and dozens of small pure white, beautifully formed jon­quils. My grandchildren think they are fairy flowers. Happy planted in dry spots under deciduous trees or in full sun. They can be left undisturbed for many years. 12cm x 15cm.

Narcissus ‘Xit’ from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012

Geranium Rozanne

I’ve grown this plant in the garden for the best part of ten years. However legal problems, which didn’t involve us, has made this poor plant impossible to sell lawfully until the last couple of years. A hybrid between G. wallichianum and G. himaleyense, it is much tougher than either of its parents and more beautiful, producing masses of large flowers from spring until late autumn, clear blue during cooler weather, mauve blue when it’s warmer. Sun or light shade. 50cm x 50cm.

Geranium Rozanne from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012

Narcissus Henriquisii

One of the finest wild daffodils which is quite late to flower but blooms for a good six weeks. A patch of this wildling will fill the spring air with sweet, spicy fragrance. It has happily grown here in rough grass for twenty years but I’ve recently moved it to a more benign spot in the garden. The upright leaves are dark green, round and rush-like and are upright. The 4 or 5 flowers are held on each 30cm tall stem. One of the joys of the daffodil world.

Narcissus Henriquisii from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.

Delphinium Volkerfrieden

The best Delphinium for Australian conditions. Soundly perennial, self supporting and branching, this plant is in flower with us for 20 weeks every year. It starts to flower during November. We cut it to the ground when the first flush of flowers is over in early January and within a few weeks we are rewarded by more columns of rich, deep sky-blue flowers. It needs good garden conditions in full sun. 120cm x 75cm. Pot grown plants.

Delphinium Volkerfrieden Peace from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.

Salvia Sclarea ‘Archibald’s Form

Archibald’s Clary Sage

We offer a superb form of the Clary Sage collected by Jim and Jenny Archibald in Turkey about 18 years ago. It makes a mound of large rough grey green leaves which supports enormous columns of lilac hooded white lipped flowers surrounded by large bracts of pink white and green. Although short lived a few self-sown seedlings are generally produced. It is an essential part of our dry garden. Sun. 120cm x 75cm.

Salvia Sclarea Archibald’s Form from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.

Salvia Sclarea Archibald’s Form from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.

Salvia Sclarea Archibald’s Form from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.

Ceanothus Joyce Coulter

This vigorous evergreen shrub, with dark green glossy leaves, has grown 150cm tall by 3 metres wide in my garden where it is planted in a hot dry sunny spot. During late winter and spring large heads of gentian blue flowers, less strident than C. ‘Blue Pacific’, make a prolific display. It is very tolerant of dryness and is frost hardy down to -10C.

Ceanothus Joyce Coulter from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012

Stylophorum Diphyllum

Celandine Poppy, Wood Poppy

A plant of the Eastern US woodlands the Celandine Poppy has grown in the same spot in my garden for 15 years. It is in complete shade during summer but gets more light during its early spring until early summer flowering period. Yellow poppies, the size of a 50 cent coin, are held on 30cm tall stems. The large oak-like basal leaves, green above greyish beneath, are handsome in themselves 30cm by 30cm.

Stylophorum Diphyllum from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.

Stylophorum Diphyllum from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.

Tanacetum Corymbosum

White Flowered Tansy

A tremendous garden plant, this is a plant of wild origin in the open grasslands of southern Europe where this white flowered daisy is almost like an achillea in growth habit. It makes evergreen basal rosettes of dark green, much dissected leaves. Quite early in the spring stiff leafy stems, up to a metre in height once established, carry wide heads of white yellow eyed daisies. It will repeat flower with us several times in the season if spent flower stems are removed. Tough sun loving drought tolerant plant. 100cm x 60cm.

Tanacetum Corymbosum from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.

Tanacetum Corymbosum from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.

Tanacetum Corymbosum from Lambley Nursery at Al-Ru Farm Plant Fair September 2012.


Olearia Pannosa ssp Pannosa 2012

October 2, 2012


In the last few weeks I have found two solitary wild plants of Olearia Pannosa growing in fencelines on the Arthurton Road. This plant is a threatened species in the wild, being particularly threatened by Bridal Creeper choking, farmers’ sprays and roadside weed spraying by contractors.

Both individual plants that I managed to locate were growing at the base of eucalypt trees which seems to be a common site for Olearia from my searches online.

Olearia Pannosa Sep 2012

Olearia Pannosa. Arthurton Road Sep 2012


Olearia Pannosa Sep 2012





Lambley Plants Arrived 20-8-2012

August 21, 2012

The latest shipment of perennial plants have arrived from Lambley.

Centaurea Bella

Caucasian Cornflower

This perennial cornflower, a Caucasian endemic, with its beautiful pinnate greyish leaves is widely used as a groundcover in the dry Mediterranean gardens of the French Riviera. Once established it is happy in any soil that isn’t bog-like. This plant is a definite weed suppressor. I’ve planted it around the tree-like Yucca filifera in a new part of the garden. Centaurea bella’s foliage grows about 10cm tall and the branching flower stems, carrying the beautifully shaped amethyst-pink flowers, are 30cm tall. (

Centaurea Bella Caucasian Cornflower

Salvia ‘Allen Chickering’

A tall growing Californian sage which makes a dense ever-grey shrub some 120cm tall by as much across. 60cm tall flower spikes carry whorls of lavender-blue flowers. It needs a sunny spot in well drained soil and will cope with very little to no supplementary watering when once established.(

Salvia Allen Chickering

Salvia Allen Chickering

Salvia Forskaohlei

Black Sea Woodland Sage

We first got seed of this 20 odd years ago from an Archibald collection in woodland near the Turkish Black Sea Coast. We grow it in quite dense dry shade under olive trees and next to a privet hedge. It has large handsome leaves in a loose rosette. During spring and early summer 70cm tall wands carry large deep mauve-blue flowers each with beautiful white lip markings. One of the best plants for dry shade. (

Salvia Forskaohlei

Salvia Forskaohlei

Echium Virescens

Most echiums don’t flower well here at Lambley because of our regular heavy frosts. We got this frost hardy form of Echium virescens a decade or more ago and our original plant is still alive and flowering well. It makes a large shrub to near 2 metres by 2 metres . The narrow bristly leaves are quite grey. During early to mid spring it produces metre long spikes of lilac pink flowers. Sun loving and drought tolerant. (

Echium Virescens

Galanthus Elwesii Early Flowered Form

I bought this 20 odd years ago as Galanthus caucasicus but it is probably an early flowered form of G. elwesii. Be that as it may it is a joy to have it flowering in the depths of winter, late June and all of July. It grows under an olive tree in the dry garden and in ten years each bulb has made a twelve fold increase. We will send these “in the green”, that is the bulbs will still be in growth and will need to be planted immediately they are received. (

Galanthus Elwesii Early Flowered Form

Galanthus Elwesii Early Flowered Form

Galanthus Nivalis ‘S.Arnott’

English Snowdrop

“In fifty year’s time it will be interesting to see which of the newer snowdrops described in these pages will still be going strong, having established a reputation as a first class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone. Such is this classic snowdrop.” This description is taken from a superb book, Snowdrops by Bishop, Davis and Grimshaw.
I can only agree with these authors. Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’ is a really good doer here at Lambley flowering during July and August. I grow them under olive trees and under maples and other deciduous trees. They don’t like spots in the garden which receive direct summer sun.
We will send these bulbs “in the green”, that is the bulbs will still be in growth and will need to be planted as soon as they are received.
We are moving our complete stock from one part of the garden to another and have good numbers for sale so we can offer them just this once at wholesale prices. (

Galanthus Nivalis ‘S.Arnott”

Galanthus Nivalis ‘S.Arnott’

Galanthus Nivalis ‘S.Arnott’

June 2012 Week 4

August 12, 2012

1. Winter Rains Best in 7 years.

2. New Flat Screen TV

3. Trellis against Pullet House

4. Pumping from tanks

5. avocado border

6. Brassica progress incl brussels bed

Plants Arrived from Lambley

Francoa Ramosa

One of our best plants for shade, even dry shade when established. Francoa ramosa is the longest flowered of all the bridal wreaths. Long wands densely packed with showy white flowers are produced during summer and autumn over low mounds of evergreen foliage. We grow it under an old maple. It absolutely needs shade in our climate. 70cm x 50cm.

Francoa Ramosa from Lambley Nursery Victoria.

Geum Tangerine

This is one of the best perennials you could grow. It is tough, sun loving, drought tolerant and very easy. Geum ‘Tangerine’ starts flowering in mid to late winter when not much else is happening. Large clumps of handsome, hairy, evergreen foliage are covered by a cloud of tangerine-orange flowers, the size of a 50 cent coin, on thin wiry stems. With judicial dead heading it will bloom throughout the season from winter until autumn. 70cm x 70cm.

Geum Tangerine from Lambley Nursery Victoria.

Nicotiana Sylvestris

Night Scented Tobacco

This annual fills empty spots in the garden near our packing shed. 200cm tall stems clothed in large handsome leaves carry, from mid-summer onwards, large clusters of pure white narrowly tubular flowers, flared at the end. Occasionally at dusk a species of hawk moth, hovering like a humming bird, extends a long proboscis and inserts it into the flower. As the flower tube is about 6 cm long the moth’s proboscis would be close to that in length. The same moths also can be seen in their hundreds feeding on the Agapanthus that lines the driveway here at Lambley.

Nicotiana Sylvestris as seeds from Lambley Nursery.

Tropaeolum Majus

Trailing Nasturtium

This strain is the long trailing variety of Nasturtium which is becoming harder and harder to buy in Australia. Our stock comes from the USA. In recent years the non-running strains have filled catalogues. These strains rather miss the point. Nasturtiums should run. We grow trailing Nasturiums along a path in the vegetable garden where by late summer the trailing stems carrying masses of orange, red, cream, yellow or lemon flowers, are a metre or more long. As I live in a frost prone area plant fresh seed in 10cm pots in early October and plant the seedlings out into their final position in mid-November when the danger of frosts is over. If you don’t get late frosts just plant the seed in situ in September.

Nasturtium Majus seeds from Lambley Nursery, Victoria.

Nasturtiums in Lambley Nursery Vegetable Garden.

Nasturtiums at Lambley Nursery.

Kniphofia Sarmentosa

Winter Poker

The longest in flower of all the winter pokers filling the gap between the late autumn flowering K. ensifolia and the late winter flowering K. ‘Winter Cheer’. Handsome clumps of swirling blue green leaves are a lovely foil for K. sarmentosa’s glowing coral-scarlet pokers. This Kniphofia is particularly drought tolerant getting by with no watering at all. To keep it tidy we cut the foliage down to 20cm after flowering.

Kniphofia Sarmentosa from Lambley Nursery.

Kniphofia Sarmentosa. Winter Flowering Red Hot Poker.

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’

The dry hillsides of Greece and Turkey have given us a whole range of beautiful, drought tolerant evergreen ornamental Oreganos. Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ makes a mat of round blue-green leaves and arching stems carrying large hanging Hops-like heads of pink and green flowers. In our dry garden we grow it as a carpet in front of and beneath roses and Yuccas. 30cm x 35cm.

Origanum Kent Beauty from Lambley Nursery.

Ornithogalum Saundersae

Giant Chincherinchee

This is one of the best cut flowers for late summer picking making 120cm tall rigid stems topped by a crown of long lasting waxy ivory white, dark centred flowers. Each head lasts a good two months in the garden and two to three weeks in the vase. This bulb needs some summer irrigation to be at its best and also a site in full sun. 130cm x 30cm.

Ornithogalum Saundersae.

Salvia Nemorosa ‘Lambley Dumble’

A chance seedling which I found growing in our double flower borders near Salvia x superba ‘Tanzarin’ and S. nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’ and I can only assume that it is a hybrid between those two. Tall and stiffly upright with markedly blackish stems and spikes of glowing dark violet purple flowers. We planted it in our dry garden three years ago and it has done very well. I named it after a wooded valley near my home village in England. 65cm x 50cm. Sun.

Salvia Nemorosa ‘Lambley Dumble’

Stachys Byzantinus ‘Big Ears’

This Lamb’s Ear has very large leaves, up to 20cm long, felty grey rather than the more normal woolly white. It hardly flowers with us but occasionally produces an 80cm tall woolly stems with whorls of soft mauve purple flowers. Of course it isn’t grown for its flowers but the evergreen, ground covering mat of grey foliage. Criss and I grow it in front of Agapanthus and Stipa gigantea but it is classic companion to roses. Foliage clumps 30cm x 60cm.

Stachys Byzantinus Big Ears. Lambs Ears.

Symphytum Grandiflorum ‘Ascot Blue’

This is a fine blue flowered form of ornamental comfrey. Tough, shade loving and tolerant of dryness when once established this will make a good groundcover for difficult shaded areas. During spring it carries 35cm tall stems carrying dangling bells of blue flowers. The evergreen foliage makes a dense weed proof groundcover. 35cm by 40cm.

Ornamental Comfrey ‘Ascot Blue’. Symphytum Grandiflorum.

Thymus Ciliatus

Morrocan Thyme

Lambley is slowly building up a collection of unusual thymes especially those that are native to hot dry areas of the world. We imported Thymus ciliatus last year and it has done well here at Lambley. It makes low ground covering mats of hairy leaves, 5cm tall by 50cm or more across, which are covered in spring by heads of soft pink flowers set in purple calyces. The foliage will often turn red during winter. This plant needs a spot in full sun.

Morrocan Thyme. Thymus Coliatus from Lambley Nursery.

Thymus Longicaulis ssp Chaubardii

Cretan Thyme

This thyme was imported from Beth Chatto’s wonderful nursery in the U.K. Making a prostrate carpet of tiny glossy dark green leaves it is covered with showy rose pink flowers held in clusters above the plant during spring. This Greek native is one of the best of its kind and needs very little extra water. We have planted it in the Dry Garden as a ground cover around Hesperaloe where Iris reticulata, Crocus species and wild tulips flower. 6cm x 40cm.

Cretan Thyme. Thymus Longicaulis ssp Chaubardii from Lambley Nursery.

Thymus Neicefii

Trailing Thyme

A mat forming thyme with grey-green needle like leaves making interesting foliage effects. It comes from Central Turkey and is happy in our torrid summers and cold winters. It produces clear pink flowers along the length of its shoots. Very different and lovely growing here with dwarf Phlomis and dwarf Santolina. 4cm tall by 50cm across. Wants a spot in full sun. This is its first Australian release.

Trailing Thyme. Thymus Neiceffii from Lambley Nursery, Victoria.


June 2012 Week 2

June 21, 2012

First Frosts

We are now definitely into our winter season. Morning temperatures have been very cold and this week saw three frosts including our first for the season. I always enjoy a good frost, the plants seem to love it and it reminds me of my early years in Terheyden, The Netherlands when I looked at our front window with frosty patterns over the windows. We never get that amount of frost here and if we get 6 frosts during winter and early spring it will be a surprise.

I spent the early mornings before work mulching the avocado garden and it is starting to take on the look of promise we all strive for after the first year of planting, although there is more to be planted here just yet.


With very little daylight these days not much can get done before and nothing after work. The winter solstice is only a week away and then we see even darker mornings but we shall start to see a lengthening at the end of the day. On Saturday afternoon I added a permanent 18mm hose connection point to the 27kl tank. This is to make water transfer an easy process by simply clicking on the 18mm hose when pumping from the other tanks. The connection is located above the overflow of the tank so there will always be an air gap and therefore no risk of cross contamination. At this time the tank is at about the 50% level. There is no more rain expected until the end of next week.

Pumping Inlet fitted to 27Kl Tank

Later on Saturday afternoon I also set about refitting the outlet to the 22kl tank near the growers. I had been concerned that the outlet structure could hit by the truck when being backed into its usual packing space so I set about reducing its extension and now I simply have a ball valve, brass tee with 25mm riser to a ball valve, a male camlock fitting with a camlock dust cap attached. Total extension is now about 200mm compared with 350mm previously and the risk of  being knocked and damaging the threaded outlet is significantly reduced.


One thing I really hate is heights but on Sunday it was necessary to get on the roof of the incubator shed and fit a downpipe to the workshop roof so that the water from its gutter gets into the tanks. There was no intention to make this a permanent job as the gutter on this roof will have to be replaced when I finish the new access door and wall (yet to be reported on here). Anyway I simply installed a 1 metre section of downpipe with an elbow directed into the 5000l tank gutter.


With the exception of the downpipe I had decided on Sunday being planting day in the back area.


Snow at Peninsula Nursery had a selection of Quince trees and I decided on the Pineapple quince as it is better suited to jellies and pastes than some of the other varieties he had available. The quince was planted against the growers’ fence next to the Lady William apple and will be espaliered against the fence. I am not after a huge quantity of fruit but just enough to make some nice jellies and pastes to go with our blue cheeses.

Quince newly planted June 2012


Passionfruit vines generally do not start well around here but once under way they produce really well. Our first three twenty years ago failed to take off and just sulked until we ripped them out. The fourth took off almost immediately and produced thousands of fruit over the next four years. We then decided to plant another to take over in a couple of years and the same happened. several plantings before one eventually took hold. Once that was under way it also produced tons of fruit. Eventually that died when we took over the toy shop in Maitland, possibly due to neglect as we were severely taxed physically trying toe get on top of this new enterprise. Since then I have tried another three: the first simply sulked and remains in the orchard area but showing no advancement, then next was dug up by a fox after the dead chickens planted under it as advised by a garden ‘guru’ and the third was planted on Sunday. The latest is now planted in the place of the failed kiwi fruit vines and hopefully that will go on and make use of the trellis frame. In the past I have been told not to overwater the plant but that was of no consequence so this time I am going to keep it very well watered for a few weeks to see if I can force it into making growth!

Grafted black passionfruit planted 1206


Peninsula Nursery was having a sale on plants where there were 5 plants for $20. I latched onto a few prostrate rosemary plants in 125mm pots and thought these would make a good groundcover at the front of the Avocado Garden so they are planted between the Hippeastrums and over some of the bulbs. This is just an experiment to see if I can cover the bulbs with a green mulch and still have them flower next season. If the worst comes to worst I will at least have some culinary rosemary making an ideal ground cover under the avocadoes.

Creeping Rosemary June 2012 newly planted.


One of the recently arrived Lambley bulbs despeartely needed planting. At least one of the bulbs, all of which were very wet, was sowing signs of breaking down with some slimy patches even though they were in the sawdust they travelled over in. All planted now and mulched over so I hope they will take off and become established.


Last year we planted some avocados and settled them in with 1.2m high guards. This worked well, as it has in the past, but in the past we let them grow out of the guards then removed them altogether. It only took one summer like this for trees to become sunburnt on their trunks and branches (or that is what it looked like) and they simply die. The plan this time is to make bigger and higher guards to keep the entire tree protected for at least another year. If bark forms on the trunk and the main branches are shaded by a good quantity of leaves we may remove the guards but even then I intend to paint the trunk with white acrylic paint as a sun protection measure for at least another summer.

Two of the avocados have not fully recovered from lime induced chlorosis although they have improved significantly. While the new guards were being made up (by Pamela after I made the first one) I tidied up the trees and retied the stakes and mulched underneath. I then gave each one another dose of ultraferro to overcome the chlorosis suffered by the Hass and Bacon varieties. I will monitor the trees and see an improvement.

New avocado guards built to a height of 1.8m but with one corner tied with plant ties to allow service access.


Pervoskia & Meigan’s Magic Salvia

I have been so impressed with the duration and colour of the perovskia this year I thought I would test my new heated propagation tray on these and the following cuttings.

My new propagator (birthday present) in use for the first time June 2012.

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato Beauregard cuttings a week after being in a jar of water. June 2012.


It is great to have a Monday off, the extra day tacked onto the weekend makes all the difference to a retailer’s recovery. It gives that one extra day to wind down and clear the mind, not to mention getting my projects advanced a bit.

This time I devoted to my vege garden as it has long been overdue to plant our my garlic bulbs, start my onion seedlings and  harvest the sweet potatoes.

The bed for garlic has been ready for a few weeks now with only a few carrots already sown. I planted up a section each of Elephant garlic saved from my own plants from last season, Cream Garlic saved from my own plants and Purple or Spanish Garlic also saved from my bulbs.

In the last remaining unplanted section of Bed 2 I set aside a section for onion seeds. These will be germinated here then transplanted in July to their final growing spot. This worked really well last year so will repeat the process. Planted this year: Yates Sweet red Onion (full packet); Yates Brown Spanish (full packet); Diggers Sweet Domenica (half packet left over from 2011); Eden Seeds Ailsa Craig (half packet left over from 2011).


The sweet potato harvest is over and what a bumper crop we had this year. The potted plants I bought from Diggers and Daleys have produced equally well. Apart from growing well above ground, which was obvious as they covered the entire trellis provided, the underground tubers were amazing!. One before, about 10-15 years ago, I planted a shop bought tuber hoping to grow some sweet potatoes. The tops grew very well but when I looked below ground there was nothing. I was pretty new to sweet potatoes then and just about everyone told me they were a sub-tropical plant so a failure was no surprise.

I didn’t try again until I saw Digger’s magazine promoting sweet potatoes. I plunged in and had another go but because of several failures of Digger’s plants I also sourced another plant from Daley’s Nursery. Both plants were supposed to be the ‘Beauregard’ variety, and they may in fact have been so, but the shape of tubers from the two sources were entirely different.

Adrian beside the Sweet Potato trellis in June 2012 just before harvest.

Each plant produced about equal weights of roots, 6.5kg each. Daley’s plant had tubers that were smaller in diameter than those from the Diggers plant but were much longer. Taste seems to be about the same.

Diggers sweet potato’s tubers were literally bursting out of the ground. June 2012

Harvesting the Diggers Beauregard Sweet potatoes June 2012.

I can’t stop grinning with the great haul of sweet potatoes. June 2012.

The Daley’s sweet potatoes, while just as prolific are much longer and narrower than the Diggers plant. June 2012.

I intend this year to try and propagate my own sweet potatoes. I took some slips from the original plants put them in water inside in full light on my heated propagator. If they don’t strike, being June, I have the roots which I will strike in spring and if necessary I will go back to Diggers and Daley’s. The result has bee fabulous and we do love Sweet Potatoes!

New Plants arrived from Lambley 1-6-12

June 2, 2012

My most recent order from Lambley (order 301) arrived on Friday June 1st 2012. This was only a small order from Lambley’s May Internet Catalogue of rare Plants, as I am very busy trying to develop the Avocado Garden and there is barely 30mins available for gardening on weekdays and then only from 7-7.30am.

In this order are the following plants:

Stipa Gigantea

Giant Golden Oats Grass

Stipa Gigantea “Giant Golden Oats Grass”

We have a few of this difficult to propagate ornamental grass which when flowering in late spring and early summer is the most dramatically beautiful of all with 210cm tall wands carrying huge heads of golden oat-like flowers over low tussocks of evergreen leaves. The mature heads are good throughout the summer and autumn. 210cm x 90cm (

Stipa Gigantea “Giant Golden Oats Grass”

Agastache Cana

Texas Hummingbird Mint

This is a particularly good form of Agasache cana grown from seed collected in Sierra County, New Mexico. Dark pink tubular flowers are carried on 60cm tall stiff stems from mid-summer until late autumn. It is happy in any sunny spot in the garden as long as it is well drained. Like most Hummingbird Mints it is drought tolerant when once established. 60cm by 40cm. Available for May Only! (

Agastache Cana on

Eryngium Planum Norgate Thimble

Eryngium planum Norgate’s Form

A good clone selected by Dennis Norgate. We planted it in a new part of the garden last year. It made 90cm tall branching stems which carried dozens of steel blue thimbles for many months from late spring until autumn. 90cm tall by 60cm across. AVAILABLE MAY 2012 ONLY! (

Galtonia Viridiflora

Green Flowered Cape Hyacinth

Galtonia Viridiflora on

LIMITED NUMBERS – STRICTLY ONE PER CUSTOMER Nearly everyone who has seen this plant in flower here wants one. Galtonia viridiflora is a plant of great if subtle charm. It flowers much later and for much longer than the better known G. candicans. From late summer until late autumn the loveliest green bells hang elegantly, 30 or more to each 65cm tall stem. The fresh green foliage is wide, handsome and long lasting being still respectable in late May. A plant for sun or light shade. 65cm x 40cm. AVAILABLE MAY 2012 ONLY! (

Galtonia Viridiflora on

Origanum Microphyllum

Origanum Microphyllum on

This newly imported Cretan endemic makes a wiry shrub some 30cm tall by 40cm across. The tiny aromatic leaves are blue-green and are held on stiff stems which carry heads of rich purple flowers during summer. A fabulous little plant for a hot dry sunny, well drained spot in the garden. The Cretans make a drink out of this plant called andonaida. AVAILABLE MAY 2012 ONLY! (

Sedum Spectabile ‘Meteor’

Sedum Spectabile ‘Meteor’ on

Sedum spectabile, a native of Korea and Northern China, has been grown in Australia for many years. Its puce pink flowers are not easy to love. Sedum ‘Meteor’ has more appealing rich purple flower heads on typical pale glaucous green foliaged stems. Although succulent in appearance 45cm x 40cm. (

Sedum Spectabile ‘Meteor’ on

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