Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Verandah Plants

I was taking a good look at the plants on my verandah today. When you reach the top of the steps to our front door the third photo is the sight that meets you to the right of the door. This collection of plants arrived in dribs and drabs over a few years as a bit of an experiment. Its experimental because I wasn't sure whether the sorts of plants I wanted would survive on the north facing verandah as it gets to over 40 degrees in summer and below zero with frosts in winter. I wanted something lush and tropical looking because this spot is the only place on our entire block where I thought I could do this type of planting.

I decided I needed something tall and when I discovered the Cordyline petiolaris at Kuranga Native Nursery I decided it might just work. It has more than fulfilled my expectations. Like all the plants except the bromeliads it's in a waterwell pot and gets repotted every second year. As you can see its getting pretty tall and it even flowers for me now. The only problem is that on windy days the leaves thrash about a bit and the resultant damage does show a bit (brown tips, bent leaves and petioles). The variety of bromeliads came from friends, markets, nurseries etc.. With most I don't know their genus but they all delight me when they flower and every one is different. The spider plants Chlorophytum sp. reminded me of early growing attempts when I was a child (what a great plant for children to grow - absolutely bullet proof!) and the liriope are for their fine green strappy foliage. There is a cycad, variegated dracaena and livistona palm in there as well.
Early on I decided that keeping the humidity up in this area would probably benefit all the plants so I bought a little recirculating fountain (first photo) which bubbles away quietly in the middle and hardly needs any maintenance. Recently I've added the red flowering begonia and its been fine with the cold weather so far (second photo) it sits next to a gorgeous bromeliad with dark spotty foliage. In summer a frog takes up residence in what can only be described as a frog paradise and it croaks loudly in the evenings. We added the trellis (in the far right of the third photo) and this has just provided the little bit of extra protection the plants needed.
So all in all this assemblage of plants has worked really well! At Christmas I inject a bit of colour with a potted poinsettia or two and neither summer heat nor winter cold has been a drama!

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