Posts Tagged ‘hibiscus’

Hybrids and throwbacks

July 14, 2013 Leave a comment
A beautiful specimen

A beautiful specimen

I’m not a serious enough gardener to understand let alone control hybridisation.

But I do know that our ‘trunk-growing’ hibiscus has produced hundreds of seedlings, and the flowers on those seedlings  are larger and more finely marked than those of the parent plant.

This is one of the ‘throwback’ hibiscus flowers, the first to open in the garden.

The young plants are sturdy, with good genes; we’re able to transplant them even when they’re quite big.

They’ve filled many a gap and shored up many a sliding bank!

Picture gallery

December 10, 2012 4 comments

Visually speaking, spring and summer in Italy are heaven on earth. In my experience, there’s nothing quite like the radiant, colour-enhancing light.

Decorated cabinets

Decorated cabinets

Therefore, when the long winter comes, I like to surround myself with reminders, and the cool grey of my filing cabinets is the perfect foil for some photos.

On the top drawer is a vase of roses, then descending, hibiscus flowers, pink roses and a sunflower.

On the side of the cabinet is an arch of roses over steps, and more roses against the backdrop of the house.

I’m fond of roses, you see.

On the side of the small cabinet is a picture of the local shepherd with his flock, and on top is a ‘worry sheep’ to be squeezed in moments of frustration – of which there are many.

On the other side of the desk, out of view, is a peach tree with branches outstretched, laden with peaches.

As I sit at my desk – whose brown corner just shows in the photo – all I see is beauty, on every surface.


August 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Hibiscus bloom studded with raindrops

The weather forecast was right – we had storms today. The first drops fell just as I got into the pool.

It felt very dramatic: high wind, the first rumbles of thunder, and then arrows of rain as I was getting out again.

There wasn’t a huge amount of rain, but the contrast between the still, sun-soaked landscape before, and the torn, ragged monotones during the storm was so complete that it seemed like a different country.

I prowled around afterwards, revelling in not having to water the garden for a change, and saw this hibiscus bloom staring out at me.

Odd one out

August 16, 2012 Leave a comment

A different hibiscus

I have great hopes for this hibiscus.

If it grows into a sizeable bush, which it should be capable of doing, it will look a treat.

I haven’t a clue about hybridisation and colour in the world of the hibiscus, but I’m positive that this plant grew from the seed of a purple-flowered hibiscus, and all its siblings have purple flowers.

True, we have 2 hibiscus plants with pure white flowers, but they lack the red bit in the middle, which is quite significant, and in any case they’ve hardly flowered and are nowhere near.

So this must be a mutation or a throwback or something, and a very beautiful one.

August break

August 12, 2012 2 comments

The flowers I managed to find

By August break I don’t mean a holiday, but the lean patch which the garden always undergoes at this time of year.

Perhaps I should say ‘green patch’, because after all the colours of May, June and July, the garden is now predominantly green (and would have been brown if we hadn’t watered it).

The roses are between bloomings. The lavender is over. The buddleia is nearly over. The hibiscus is still largely in bud.

In honour of a guest coming tomorrow, I wanted a vase of flowers on the table and this little nosegay more-or-less wiped us out.

Oleander seeds

January 29, 2012 1 comment
Twin oleander seedheads – front one entire, back one split

It looks like a war canoe with fur-clad warriors bent to the oars, but it’s in fact the split-open seed-pod of an oleander.

We planted 50 little oleander bushes along one side of our drive when we widened it and put in lighting. Now only about 40 of them are left because of the toll taken by the heavy frosts over the 5 winters we’ve been here.

They’ve never grown massively like they do in the valleys, but they do bloom, all colours – dark red, deep pink, pale pink, white, and my favourite cream which has a delicious heavy, sweet perfume of honey and vanilla.

It’s one of my winter jobs to cut off the dead heads. In theory I could plant the seeds and grow replacement bushes, but apparently it’s quite a business to get them to grow and they don’t come true to the parent plant. Instead, I’ve been filling the gaps in the row with hibiscus seedlings which grow by themselves.

When I do cut off the dead heads, I have to dispose of them carefully and not put them on the compost heap in case we ever have a bonfire, because burning oleander branches produces toxic smoke.

All parts of the plant are poisonous but their (alleged) foul taste makes them unattractive, fortunately.

Mother Hibiscus

August 21, 2011 1 comment

I love creative gardening and adore destructive gardening, but what I hate is ‘rescue’ gardening. It’s what I’m having to do with this heat wave, though.

Yesterday I discovered that some of the hibiscus plants I’d inserted in a row of oleanders, in order to fill the gaps created by frost damage, had become pale, sapless ghosts due to lack of water.

Now I’ve made a sort of penance out of trying to rescue the remainder. Fortunately these young plants are being produced at a rate of knots by the original Mother Hibiscus so later on I can replace them where necessary.

They’re all different from her in that she is a standard shrub with fairly small flowers, and they are regular little spindly bushes but with much bigger flowers.

Mother hibiscus (left) and offspring (right)

I read recently that plants which are very closely related genetically and which grow in proximity together tend to thrive more than average. Very cosy.

What other plants have sprogs that are actually an improvement?

What would you go all out to rescue in a drought?