Tag Archive | oleander

Six on Saturday, March 24: Bloomin’ Bright

This morning I took a trip around my neighbourhood to look see what's in flower. Surprisingly there isn't a great deal as many gardens look a trifle tired after the extreme heat and dryness of summer, but Autumn is a very good time to see glorious natives in flower, so I've added some of them to my six this week.

As well, you can zip over to The Propagator's site to see more of what's happening in other people's gardens.

1. Eucalyptus erythrocorys  'Red Cap Gum'.  The red parts top the flowers before they emerge.  What a colour contrast!

1. Eucalyptus erythrocorys 'Red Cap Gum'. The red parts top the flowers before they emerge. What a colour contrast!

2. Corymbia ficifolia.  These eucalypts are grafted, so they grow very well SE Australia.  The bees love them as you can see, and when I turned one corymb towards me to take a photo, nectar poured out, so birds love them too.

2. Corymbia ficifolia. These eucalypts are grafted, so they grow very well SE Australia. The bees love them as you can see, and when I turned one corymb towards me to take a photo, nectar poured out, so it's easy to understand why birds love them too.

3. Eucalyptus Leucoxylon  var. macrocarpa  This eucalyptus is common in  the Central Tablelands area, is easy to grow and flowers prolifically.

3. Eucalyptus Leucoxylon var. macrocarpa:  This eucalyptus is common in the Central Tablelands area, is easy to grow and flowers prolifically.

4. The double  oleander in my garden
4. The double oleander in my garden

I wrote about this oleander in my post The Humble Oleander.  At the time I was trying to grow my oleander as a tree rather than a shrub, because I want the sun to be able to shine into the garden.  It's been a battle! The oleander is quite determined to be a shrub: it sends out shoots around its trunk and I remove them.   But it's now about twice the size that it was when I wrote the post, and is developing into a pleasing shape.

5. Rosa 'The Prince'  Grown from a cutting.
5. Rosa 'The Prince' Grown from a cutting.
6. Eucalyptus Caesia.   A bit of relief from so much pink and red!  This WA eucalyptus  is rather hard to grow on the eastern side of Australia. Its flowers were finished, but the silvery gumnuts are very beautiful too.

6. Eucalyptus Caesia. A bit of relief from so much pink and red! This WA eucalyptus is rather hard to grow on the eastern side of Australia. Its flowers were finished, but the silvery gumnuts are very beautiful too.

The humble Oleander

The oleander is a much under-valued shrub, but it can be found all over Australia  in public places such as cemeteries, churchyards and old parks,  as well as being used as a street tree, often on beach fronts. The fact that it is poisonous in every part puts people off planting it in their gardens  I think, and yet it gives such a wonderful, colourful display right through summer and into autumn and lives happily while being completely neglected, in every type of soil.  There is no need for the home gardener to worry about cultivating it as sensible precautions such as wearing gloves  when working with oleanders  and disposing of prunings carefully will ensure there are no ill-effects.

 

After seeing oleanders in Seville,  Spain which were being grown as trees with a single trunk, I decided that this is what I would like to do in my own garden.  My oleander is only just over a year old and it's as determined to be a many-trunked shrub as I am for it to be a tree, doggedly putting out shoots as quickly as I take them off. I'm not sure at the moment who is winning, but I think I may just have the edge.  For the time being, anyway.

Until recently I believed that the oleander is related to the olive tree but it seems that this may not be correct and that people think this because of the similarity in the leaves.  This makes sense really, because of course olives are not poisonous, even though their fruit is very bitter until it has gone through a pickling process.  The Greek word for olive is olea which  forms the beginning of oleander.

There is a story I like about how the oleander got its name.  A young man called Leander was in love with a Greek damsel, but sadly he was drowned in a ferocious storm at sea.  Finding his body on the shore with a flower clutched in his hand, she cried 'Oh Leander, Oh Leander'.  She planted the cutting and it grew-an everlasting memory of their love.

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