Sunday, November 18, 2012

Summer Colours

Summer is within reach!  The days are longer and warmer and the first early summer flowering Leucaspermums are starting to bloom.  Leucaspermums are a species of plants within the Protea family.  They are native to South Africa, although here in Australia they are often called "natives".  They do resemble a lot of our Australian Proteaceae - they seem like a cross between a waratah and a grevillea, with a great variety of colours.  Leucaspermums usually flower in late spring and early summer.  Here at Swallows Nest Farm, we have 5 different varieties.  The one pictured is a hybrid called Mardi Gras with bright yellow stamens and red inner petals that give an overall colour of golden yellow.  

In bud form, they are silvery and hairy.  Then the bud starts to swell and out pop the stamens exposing both the yellow and the red.  It's an explosion of colour!

Mardi Gras are one of the earlier flowering Leucaspermums that we grow here.  The other is called Scarlet Ribbons.  These two are available from mid November up until Christmas, give or take a week depending on the seasonal weather.  These plants produce a large crop of flowers in a short space of time.  

Leucaspermums are long lasting flowers like most proteas, if they are handled correctly.  They must be packed carefully though, because they have a tendency to loose their heads!  The flower can easily pop off the stem if they are handled roughly.

Leucaspermums love to be pruned and will produce many more flowers next year, if this years flowers are picked.  They are ready to pick when the first yellow stamens start to emerge.  They will continue to open once they are in a vase.

I love this early flowering variety that has the colours of summer!

Monday, November 12, 2012

In Full Bloom

Spring is coming to an end, and the Tasmanian Waratahs are in full bloom.  The smell of summer is in the air!  Many of the spring flowering leucadendrons are starting to loose their colour now and the summer flowering proteas are getting ready to make their appearance.  Watch out in the next week or so for the bright and beautiful Leucaspermums, commonly known as pincushions, that are popular coming into Christmas.  

I'll be posting about the amazing varieties of pincushions that we have here at Swallows Nest Farm as they begin to flower.  In the meantime, enjoy the last of spring and its spectacular colour!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What's in the Basket?

We've been at Swallows Nest Farm for 4 years, and not long after we arrived, I found a basket at a local op shop which said "BUY ME"!  It has become my constant companion on the farm.  I use it for everything from planting to pruning to picking and even delivering bunches.  When we are picking large wholesale quantities collecting into a trailer attached to a small tractor, I always have my trusty basket to take the flowers to the tractor.  

Boronia Heterophylla, Leucadendron Lemon Spice, Grampians Thryptomene, Berzelia Button Bush

Every now and again, I look down at the basket and admire its contents.  Then, I'll whip out the iphone and snap off a photo. 

Isopogon Formosa Pink Cone Flower, Red Gem Leucadendron, Berzelia Button Bush

I have quite a collection of these basket photos now, and have decided to start a regular (or irregular!) post on the blog called "What's in the Basket?"  This will be the first of many so you get a kind of overview - a Year in a Basket!

Leucadendrons Maui Sunset, Safari Sunset, Inca Gold, Tall Red, Safari Gold Strike and Protea Neriifolia 

The basket is quite large but sometimes it gets overloaded - the flowers in the photo above make it look so small!

Grampians Thryptomene, Richea Dracophylla, Berzelia Button Bush, Telopea Speciosissima Waratah

Retail bunches ready for delivery to a local shop.

I'm looking forward to sharing what's in my basket. I hope you enjoy taking a peek!