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A Very Strange Flower

Sorry to be giving you more garden posts, but this has just happened in my garden, and I’m quite excited.

When I bought this house,  the front garden (which is all indigenous Australian plants) had a xanthorrhoea  growing (pronounced zan-thor-ee-a) . They’re better known as a grass tree, but I learned to identify them at university so I use the long name. 

Xanthorrhoeas have a thick, gnarly dark trunk, with a burst of long green, grass-like leaves growing from the top. They’re very slow growing and can live in the wild for decades. The taller the trunk the older the plant. You can hardly see the trunk of mine, so it’s quite young, comparatively speaking.

When I moved in, mine had a tall spear-shaped spike, which is one of the things that make it famous here. The spike fell off after a few months and I thought that was that. 

But recently it grew three new spikes — I’d never seen three spikes before — and even more exciting, one of them was covered in tiny star-shaped flowers. I didn’t even know they could have flowers. There were a few bees crawling over it, so presumably they have nectar, too.  That’s it below. 















I dropped in on some friends yesterday and their daphne was already in flower.

Standing on their front porch, near where the daphne bush is, the fragrance filled the air. It’s one of my favorite floral scents.

It’s also a sign that winter, while not exactly on its way out — the winter solstice was only a few days ago — but that spring is coming. 

They gave me some daphne to take home.  I put it in a small vase by my bed and the whole room smells divine.

What flowers are in bloom where you are? Any favorite? 

Seasons Greetings

Hi all, here is my annual home-made seasons greeting card for you all. After this I’ll be posting it on FB and sending it out in a quick newsletter, as well as emailing it to friends. Thanks so much for reading and subscribing to my blog, for reading my books, and for reviewing and/or rating them. I really appreciate it.

The photo is of flannel flowers, which are native Australian wildflowers. When I was a kid, the land around our holiday house was all native plants. I used to pick flannel flowers — carefully and with scissors. Not many because Mum limited the number I picked, explaining we needed to protect the flowers so they could flourish. I used to press them and stick them on a card. I haven’t changed much, have I?

Sadly, that stretch of native vegetation got bulldozed and the land was “developed” which means someone built a hundred houses on it. No more flannel flowers, no more native vegetation, no more indigenous fauna. But the flannel flower lives on. You can buy seeds now, and grow them in your garden. Thank goodness for seed-savers.

Have a wonderful break over the holidays, and stay safe in 2024. I’m hoping for a few peace agreements.