Posts Tagged ‘Lily’

My new favourite gardener has a wild lily garden in the back blocks of Hobart. His name is Rod and he breeds and sells lilliums and narcissus. Rod calls himself a ‘naturist’ and that seems accurate. He’s a bit of a hermit but actually loves a good natter. I had to write to him snail mail to make contact, which was in fact so refreshing. He wrote back promptly, sending me multiple copies of his bi-annual newsletter, ‘The Trumpeter’ and naming a few dates in January that I could visit him.

So when I got back from India I phoned his sister (3 doors down from Rod) and we set a date. When I drove through the gate of ‘Glenbrook’ I forgot I was in Hobart. It was as if I had suddenly been teleported into a deep, forgotten valley in a remote part of Tasmania. Rod’s little cottage nestles against the bush of this flank of the Wellington range – which is owned by Rod’s family, who keep it so that the wildlife will have a home. The cottage is barely visible – “I’m trying to get the plants to take over,” says Rod.

His sister is there, and I’m served more than I can eat by way of little sandwiches, homemade cakes and cups of tea. Everything is delightful and kind and friendly and in spite of Rod’s reputation as one who shuns society, I could not have felt more welcome. They just want to hear about India, while I am itching to do my interview. But having said that, chatting about India is something I can do without much encouragement. A chook walked across the carpet as I helped myself to more cake while describing my dip in the Ganges at Varanasi, much to their impressed astonishment.

Now that I have whetted your appetite, I’m going to show you a picture and sign off, because I have to go and pick someone up to take them to the Wielangta forest, which any locals reading this will know is a worthy excuse.

To be continued…

Rod tenderly shows me his lilies.


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All day I’ve been writing the Marjorie Bligh article so my word brain is used up.  At times like these, we need flowers, and a little help from previously published work…

Lily in the Sky

“For many gardeners the source of inspiration is an aesthetic one. They want to create and be surrounded by beauty… As a creative art, gardening uses the bounty of nature like no other form of human expression.”  from Beyond Organics, by me.

Winter Rose, Helleborus, Bonnie Banks garden, Tamar Valley

Winter Rose in the Sky

Feet in the water, reaching for the sun: Louisiana water iris

Eucalyptus leucoxylon rosea, a delightful small tree for the garden

Eucalyptus ficifolia: bowls of nectar

“In Australia, eucalypts are the most important tree genus in the wild, and ditto in the environmental garden. In the ecological profit-and-loss sheet, they give and give and give, and their needs are easily met due to the sophistication of their adaptations to survival. Their blossoms, nectar, pollen, leaves, seeds, sap and even their wood are all food sources to myriad birds, insects and mammals. The food matrix on a eucalypt is complex, as the feeders themselves attract many predators… Nesting sites, nesting materials, perches and shelter are all provided in abundance by eucalypts, especially old trees and hollows.”  from Beyond Organics, by me.

Colours of Australia: Kangaroo Paw

Kangaroo Paw in the sky

“Flamboyance is for the birds… Give them big red flowers dripping nectar and a strong stalk to grip onto, and they will take pollen to your neighbour, no questions asked. Think of the Australian grevilleas, kangaroo paw, bottle brush and most magnificent, the NSW waratah – radiant, sturdy, nectar-rich and with pollen strategically placed for brushing onto the bird’s nead or neck.”  from Beyond Organics, by me.

Water Lily dreaming

“Water means life. Research has shown that a reliable source of clean water is the single most important factor in attracting and keeping birds in gardens. Using birds as a biodiversity indicator, it can be assumed that overall biodiveristy goes up when there is a water supply such as a pond or birdbath… The combination of water, flowers and humidity also brings more insects, which, of course, attract more birds… Providing water helps maximise the potential of your own plot. In this way you create opportunities for other life forms.” 

from Beyond Organics, by me.

Beyond Organics: Gardening for the Future by me, Helen Cushing is available from me. Next post will be about it and how to purchase from me. If you are desperate for it before then, please let me know and we can make a plan to get it to you quick smart!

Beyond Organics being launched, 2005

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