More from my Christmas visit to my brother Tony's garden near Ballina in northern New South Wales. There was so much to photograph, I guess it's no wonder my camera battery ran flat after a day and a half.
The two flowers below are both Heliconias. He doesn't have any trouble growing them -- the extra rain and rich soil make all the difference -- but I am on the point of giving up here. I love their exotic good looks and have healthy plants of both these varieties, but no flowers after several years. Unfortunately, the only one of mine that has flowered was Heliconia augusta 'Red Christmas', which eventually vanished after featuring on the dogs' racing circuit for a time.
|Blood lily Scadoxus multiflorus ssp. Katherinae (prev Haemanthus)|
|Tony said this was called an Octopus palm after the unusual inflorescence. (The orchid plant in the bottom left corner has finished flowering but is one of his favourites, the Sydney Rock Orchid Dendrobium speciousum.)|
This must be an Oncidium orchid. This is just a side cluster of flowers from a long spray. The flowers are like a bigger version of my yellow 'Dancing Lady'.
|I am not sure of the name of this orchid beauty. It looks a little like a bulb at first, with long strappy leaves , a long stem, and the tightly bunched buds.|
Most of the orchids flower in Spring, and Tony's particular, though certainly not exclusive, interest lies in Australian native orchids. Many are modest and unassuming when not in flower and often blend in with their surroundings (except for the giveaway pantyhose securing larger varieties: I had a polka dot pair around the rock orchid in my poinciana!)
Even after the end of the main flowering season, it's always worth keeping an eye out for a dainty native orchid affixed to a sandstone monolith,
|This has an almost identical flower to the Tick Orchid I shared in an earlier posting.|
or an exotic relation at the base of a tree,
or high in its branches.
Regardless of scale and country of origin, the flowers are always spectacular. And I think that next Spring, I will definitely time a visit to capture more of the orchids in bloom.