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Posts Tagged ‘botany’

Bauhinia variegata

Aren’t they lovely―our Hong Kong orchid trees―when they flower in multitudes of  blossoms? The five-petaled flowers, resembling orchids, appear in shades of white, pink, mauve and crimson. While this tree is native to China, it grows abundantly in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world.

Another distinctive feature of the bauhinia lies in its unusual bi-lobed or twin lobed leaves. The resulting heart shape has given rise to the Afrikaans popular name of kamelpoot, meaning camel’s foot.

The pink and cerise toned flower of the Bauhinia blakeana, is the source of its name, Hong Kong orchid tree. An added pleasure this tree provides is the fragrant scent of its blooms. Such is its popularity that it has become the official floral emblem of the Chinese colony of Hong Kong.

Bauhenia red

The scarlet coloured blooms of the Bauhinia galpini, add a wonderful splash of colour to any garden. Growing to a height of 5 – 6 metres, when mass planted these Bauhinias create a superb hedge or a stunning line of street trees. Even after vigorous pruning they keep right on growing and blooming throughout early summer into late autumn. It seems they have the ability to carry their flowers for long periods of time.

Bauhinia variegata 1

The white Bauhinia variegata,  provides a good example of how multiples of blossoms can also decorate a single branch of this amazing species. The sight of an entire tree covered with flowers makes it quite a show stopper. Happy are those who can enjoy the pleasures provided by the Hong Kong Orchid tree.

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Snow bush

As our cold and windy winter settles in again, right on cue the Hawaiian Snow Bush bursts into its garment of white. In gardens everywhere this delicate shrub or small tree, the Brenia nivosa, provides us with the closest visual suggestion of snow that we could experience. Native to the Pacific Ocean Islands, its papery-thin leaves produce leaf tips of the purest white, giving the impression that the bush has been dusted with drifts of soft snow. As we follow the leaf tips down toward the trunk, its leaves beneath are a rich, dark green.

Snow bush detail 1

One may be tempted to think that the Snow Bush is covered with white blossoms, but hiding under the lower foliage nestle its tiny green flowers. Another variety of snow bush, the Rosea Picta, adds pink to the white and green foliage, leading one to a false impression of a flowering shrub. As winter progresses, the white or pinkish-white leaf tips slowly turn green. And as the Hawaiian Snow Bush loves water, if kept moist it rewards us with its beautiful disguise of winter’s snow.

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Entrance to the Arid Lands Botanic Garden

In a dry, dusty corner of the Australian outback, where the yearly rainfall never exceeds 10 inches, an amazing garden is found. On the outskirts of South Australia’s Port Augusta, a determined group of volunteers established the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden in 1993. Designed by landscape architect, Grant Henderson, and set against the stunning backdrop of the Flinders Ranges, this 250 hectare garden features highly evolved plant communities—both fragile and complex—that are found nowhere else on earth.

Arid Land Plants

In addition to tough native grasses and stubby acacia trees, an AridSmart range of colourful and fragrant plants was sourced from Australia’s dry and most remote regions. Selected for their beauty, vigour and toughness, the AridSmart plants decorate the gardens and are sold to those who wish to plant a waterwise garden of their own.

AridSmart_Garden_page

Soak up the sounds and scents of Australia’s arid heart as you explore this unique plant collection – one that offers a haven to over 150 bird species. Browse a great gift shop and enjoy the views from the licensed garden cafe with coffee, or a glass of chilled wine with bush flavoured food. Open 7 days with free admission you can purchase plants here,  conduct research, or just immerse yourself in Australia’s fascinating arid zone.

 Coffee at the visitor's centre

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