naming and framing

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is wonderful as far as it goes, but it focuses on individual plants and not the bigger picture.  In this post I look at some groupings of plants and the picture they make together. In some cases the pictures were planned, but mostly evolved through trial and error.

These combinations wouldn't have been discovered without a willingness (oh all right - compulsion) to arrange and re-arrange the garden until it looks right.  The best thing that can happen to a gardener, I think, is to receive unexpected welcome surprises in the form of self- and gardener- seeding plants that end up, almost coincidentally, making great garden pictures.

Unexpected welcome surprises are more likely to happen when gardener and garden are working together in a mutually respectful cooperative loving relationship.

1. Thryptomene saxicola 'F.C. Payne'  2. Leptospermum Petersonii  3. Adenanthos sericeus

The pink Thryptomene flowers are at eye level as you follow the path around. On the left of the path are the gnarled branches of the tea trees that were planted soon after the garden was started - and, amazingly,  managed to stay in situ without being moved. Behind the seat is the soft green foliage of the Albany Woollybush.
1. Pittosporum tenuifolium 'James Stirling'  2. Eucalyptus leucoxylon dwarf form 3. Westringia 'Wynyabbie Gem' 4. Gastrolobium celsianum 5. Hakea sericea 6. Agonis flexuosa

Pittosporum, Hakea and the tall majestic Agonis (Willow Myrtle) combine to form the background, or picture frame.  Pittosporum is not native to Australia, the other two are, but I think they combine well.  Two Westringia (Native Rosemary) plants form a short hedge in front of the compost area. The Gastrolobiums growing along the path grow into the Westringia and the mauve and red flowers look wonderful together. The gum tree is one of a group of three, and needs more time to get taller and more established.
1. Pittosporum tenuifolium 'James Stirling'  2. Acacia iteaphylla  3. Lomandra longifolia
This picture shows how contrasting foliage can look good even without flowers. I'm not sure which variety of Lomandra  longifolia this is, but it's a large one with wide thick leaves, as opposed to the variety that is more delicate looking, with grey foliage, growing in other parts of the garden.

1. Leptospermum morrisonii 'White Opal' 2. Thryptomene 'Supernova' 3. Lomandra longifolia 4. Nigella damascena (Love in the Mist) 5. Leptospermum? 6. Eucalyptus leucoxylon dwarf form 7. Leptospermum petersonii
These are all natives except the thickly self seeded Love in the Mist underneath the shrubs. The presumed Leptespermum, of unknown variety, appeared several years ago, self seeded. I used to think it was another  Thryptomene 'Supernova'. Then it grew and it became clear it had a different habit. It has tea tree-like flowers so I assume it is a Leptospermum. But I am not sure what form or variety it is.

1. Leptospermum, self seeded 2. Leptospermum petersonii  3. Wind chime  4. Correa 'Dusky Bells'  5.  Violets  6. Homemade seat / shelf  7. Forget me nots, self seeded 8. Canary Islands Wormwood
This picture shows the value of incorporating non-plant materials into the picture.  The paths join and widen out, providing a break from the plantings. There's usually one or two chairs here to facilitate sitting, relaxing and contemplation.

The wind chime looks attractive and its sounds are generally gentle, unless there is a very strong wind. Even so, I worry that the wildlife don't really need yet another human-made sound.

I'm not very confident at building things, but for the shelf cum seat I simply laid one railway sleeper on top of another with leftover paving stones for the top layer.

1. Cotinus 'Grace'  2. Plumbago auriculata  3. Euphorbia characis  4. Erysimum cheiri  5.  Santolina chamaecyparissus

This is in the front garden. The picture changes markedly over the year. This is a winter picture. The Smoke Bush still has bare branches and the Plumbago is a green screen, with no blue flowers yet.  The wallflowers are just starting their display of orange flowers. The Euphorbias - characis, rigida and martinii, come and go as they self seed and I either leave them or move them.  The Santolina doesn't change and provides a year-long frame for the birth bath and the pebbled area around it.

P.S. I'm sorry the photos aren't better quality. I am still struggling with the different lenses, and how to take wider shots that are still clear.


  1. Very good. I particularly like Pittosporum. Gardening is very like cooking - you use the same 'ingrediants' but by combining them new lovely things emerge.

  2. Hi Catmint
    I love your crazy paving and the relaxed way everything is growing. I have a new goal, to have a garden such as yours!

  3. Its looking very nice. I like the combination of exotic and native although there is something understated and elegant about Australian natives... The photo of the lomandra is great! The contrast of colour and texture is very striking.

  4. Hakea frightens me, we had an invasive one with vicious needles. Is yours a kinder species, or do you just remember to keep a respectful distance?

    The different textures are a delight to look at. I wimp out on battling with the wide view and build collages instead.

  5. And isn't it strange how the unexpected ones so often find just the right place. I am disappointed in my long garden shots, seems like there is too much going on for the camera to cope with. I thoroughly enjoyed when you said you liked my old fashioned post, I am an old timer, and here was I thinking I was really getting with it, lol.

  6. Your garden looks so lush with many plants growing very well side by side each other.

  7. It's really good to see how nice and green and lush everything looks for you this year!! Love the seat you created. :-)

  8. Love long shots showing planting combinations, love contrasting foliage and textures, therefore, love this post !!Thought the bare trunks of your Leptospermum petersonii with Thryptomene 'supernova' formed a wonderful contrast, really beautiful.

  9. Dear Hermes, good analogy, I'd never thought of it before but gardening is like cooking in that respect.

    Dear Serena, thanks for the compliment. I am happy to help you achieve your goal in any way I can.

    dear Phoebe, I agree, there is something more delicate and subtle about the Aussie natives compared to the others.

    Dear Diana, my hakea is not spiky. I never want spiky plants in the garden, too scary. Your collages are terrific but it's worth trying for the wide view as well.

    Dear Alastair, I'm an old timer too. Re the photography, it seems easier to focus on one plant closeup but then you miss out on the wider setting.

    Dear Shady, thanks for the visit and comment.

    Dear Pauline, thanks for the comment. I have been trying to visit your blog but when I click on your name I get to a Blogger page without your email or blog link. Very frustrating.

    cheers, catmint

  10. I am a person who appreciates the larger shots. They are splendid and I think my favorite is #4. You know I don't recognize very many of these plants with the exception of maybe the smoke tree. Are your winters really mild in Australia? Just wondering.

  11. I really appreciate your broad view and plant labeling. I can see how all of your work has paid off in such beauty.

  12. Hi Tina, I garden in Southeast Australia where the winters are mild. It's never snowed down here, only occasionally you get frost. Australia as a whole has a very wide range of climactic conditions.

    Thank you so much, dear TSB.

    Cheers, catmint


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