The Garden is full of surprises this month, from a 30 year old hanging orchid to stunning bulbs bursting into flower.
Magnolia 'Yellow Lantern'
Magnolias are known for their showy and often fragrant flowers and are native to East Asia, the Americas and the West Indies. This yellow flowering hybrid has the oddly named Cucumber Magnolia (Magnolia acuminata var. subcordata) from the USA as one of its parents. The other is Magnolia x soulangeana 'Alexandrina'. It won the Royal Horticultural Society award of merit in 2012. Magnolias are examples of what are called “basal angiosperms”, and as such are one of the most ancient flowering plant lineages represented today.
Rat's Tail or Bridal Veil Orchid
Look up to see this tenacious orchid clinging to its fig tree home. It has been attached to this tree for over 30 years and for most of the year goes unnoticed by visitors. However, in August, the Rat’s Tail Orchid becomes the Bridal Veil Orchid, as tiny, fragrant, white and yellow flowers burst from the buds to gloriously cloak and cover the Rat’s Tail shaped leaves. It occurs naturally from Cape York to south-eastern NSW, often growing on Swamp Oaks (Casuarina glauca).
This bulb is endemic to the rainforests of Brazil’s Atlantic Coast, which are amongst the world’s richest in terms of biodiversity and the remnants are listed as World Heritage Sites. The species epithet, 'papilio' is Latin for butterfly as the petals are shaped like the wings of a butterfly. These bulbs adapt well to growing in Sydney in well-drained soil and are available from the Growing Friends Nursery. Open Monday - Friday 11 am – 2 pm and Saturday 10 am – 2 pm.