Thursday, September 27, 2012

Helena Heritage Olives, Oolines and Orchids

Late September/October is -- for me -- one of the most exciting times of the year with Nature launching into the creation of new life.  Our world is transformed by birdsong, butterflies, frogs and flowering plants.

Although our garden holds a wealth of flowering shrubs and trees, there's always room for more, and somehow we find it hard to resist planting!  I've included a photo of a young ooline with its tiny rounded leaves, and also an Helena Heritage olive.

Located off the coast of Brisbane, St Helena Island is a Heritage National Park .  Formerly (1867 to 1932) it was a high security prison.  The first olive tree planted on the island was brought to Australia from Europe by a visiting magistrate, in the late 1800s.

My tree is a third generation heritage tree with a history of producing exceptional fruit and award-winning olive oil -- not that I'm particularly interested in what it produces, I simply want a beautifully shaped and gnarled olive tree.

Ooline trees (Cadellia pentastylis) are native to Mitchell and grow on dry rocky hills. They are related to the Antarctic beech: both are relics of ancient Gondwanan vegetation.

Pots of petunias, drums of vegetable greens, and our native bush orchid (Cymbidium canaliculatum) with its newly sprouted flower spikes -- all these give me pleasure.  Even the noxious weed Mexican poppy has its own beauty.

Today I split open a dry orchid pod from last year's flowering and released the dry powdery seed into the warm northerly wind.  Perhaps some will lodge in the loose bark of a nearby tree and grow into an orchid?

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