Grow Your Own Fried Eggs? - Feb 02, 2024
Dear gardening friends
This is a flashback to March, and I was on a road trip. We stopped for coffee in Berry, and I noticed these beautiful street trees everywhere.
They are called Gordonias!!!!
Yes they look like Camellias, but they aren't.
These beautiful evergreen trees are a bit slower growing, so nurseries don't grow them much anymore. And when they do grow them they almost look like they have been tortured. They are all bent and twisted.
So I was surprised when Hayden found a grower up north who knows how to grow these beautiful trees with straight trunks. They are the best Gordonias axillaris we've ever had.
This amazing tree is sometimes called The Fried Egg Tree. You'll notice every flower has a bee in it. They go crazy when they see these flowers with the yellow stamens. They take the pollen and the nectar from the flowers with much excitement, it's worth watching.
This amazing tree grows 5 metres high by 3 metres wide in a long time. 20 plus years at least. You plant this tree for your children. Isn't that nice.
It flowers through autumn and it's often still flowering in spring. When the large flowers fall they land on the ground egg side up, thus the name, "Fried Egg Tree."
This tree is classy and stylish with the lush green leaves and coppery coloured new growth. It's the perfect backdrop for the beautiful flowers.
It grows faster in compost rich soil, so if you just dig a hole in the clay and plant it, well it's not going to grow. Make a mound of soil at least 15cms high by a metre wide, use Tim's Best Potting Mix, and dig your hole through this. Your tree will thank you by sprouting fresh new growth. It's that simple.
Mulch around the base and water often.
There's another modern variety of Gordonia that is faster growing, I can't think of its name right now, but I will. Don't be tempted, it's a dog. It burns in the summer heat. Gordonia axillaris is the one.
You may have seen these beautiful border plants that just seem to pop when planted together. You've got Japanese Box at the back and "Little Ruby" at the front. This garden is in Elderslie.
Both these hedges would have to be pruned every couple of months to keep them nice and neat like this.
"Little Ruby" is a dwarf Alternanthera that has this beautiful red/purple foliage. It loves the warmer weather so that's why it looks so spectacular in summer.
We've had it growing in our garden at the nursery for several years. It survives the winter where we are and Karyn cuts it back hard once spring arrives and it takes off.
Hayden has grown plants by cutting for us to sell in the nursery. To get a hedge like the one in the photo, you'll need 4 plants per metre. Trim them often right from the start and this will make them grow bushier faster. "Little Ruby" only grows about 30cms high so it's the perfect plant for border planting.
If you live in colder areas then this isn't the right plant for you.
It seems to be very disease resistant.
For best results improve your soil with Tim's Cow Manure prior to planting. This natural fertiliser breaks down the clay and improves the soil. Even if you bought Premium Garden Mix the plants will grow so much better if you add Tim's Cow Manure.
"Little Ruby" loves the heat, so don't be worried about planting them now. Mulch around the base to stop the weeds growing through the hedge.
I was dreaming about a Vanilla Milkshake, you know how you just get a craving for something?
Well I'm in Camden and I started walking, but then I thought where would I buy a Milkshake in Camden?
I followed my Crocs to The Argyle Gourmet. It's been here for 100 years. As I walked in Chris was sitting down having a rest, she never stops. I asked her for a Vanilla milkshake.
She smiled, she clucked around for a few minutes finding everything.
We did small talk in the mean time.
I sat down patiently waiting.
She told me she'd deliver it.
I was getting the shakes.
The Vanilla Milkshake turned up in an old style milkshake cup. It was so cold to touch. It was filled to the top. Wow, when was the last time it was filled to the top????
It was so cold, it gave me a brain freeze, it tasted so nice, it brought back so many memories. I looked around, there's so many good things here, great old style lollies. Chocolate Coated Honey Combe in big jars, it's lollie lovers heaven.
I drank the milkshake, I would have shared it with you. It only cost $5.00.
I secretly bought another one.
It was that good.
We had a spot in our garden where we just needed something to fill the space. It had to be low growing and tough, and if it looked interesting, well that would be even better.
We chose this native plant. It's Casuarina glauca "Cousin It". We'd be happy if you just call it "Cousin It". It's a ground covering plant that eventually grows this head, which happens to look like Cousin It.
It's incredibly hardy. We've planted several plants at least here. Each plant will grow at least one metre wide. The head doesn't grow much bigger than 30cms high. They grow like this all by themselves.
I think this plant would grow in most soil types and conditions. It's one of those plants that just survive.
But you do have to water them daily for the first month or so, to get them established.
If you're growing them in pots then you will need to water them often. Choose Native Potting mix.
I do love this plant, it's just so arty. It does turn greener once you take it out of the pot and plant it. It will grow in damp positions too.
I think you need at least one in your garden. But they do look fabulous mass planted. We have them. Grow a friend you can talk to. If they start talking back, just keep that to yourself.