Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Cones

Some Leucadendrons are grown not for their flowers but for the cones that appear after the flower.  This hybrid Leucadendron Jubilee Crown is one of them.  It is often called Christmas Cones because it produces these lovely blushing red cones in December, just in time for Christmas.  

The flowers of the Christmas Cone bush are pretty but not really memorable.  After the flowers are spent, the centre starts to swell and a cone forms.  It swells and as it does, its colour becomes more vibrant until it is round and rosie red and ready for picking.  The bush produces lovely straight stems which get longer with good rainfall.  

Christmas Cones are fabulous in a Christmas bunch - their colour and texture lend themselves well to seasonal arrangements.  They are long lasting too, like most Leucadendrons, and will usually be the freshest looking flower in the bunch, after all the others are spent.  

After the cones are spent, they open and dry out, and resemble tiny pinecones.  Last years cones remain on the bush.  They are generally not sold at this stage, but I think they still look lovely and can be used in floral arrangements even as a "dead" or spent flower.  

Leucadendron Jubilee Crown, "Christmas Cones", is not the main event in an arrangement but it is certainly a valuable addition to a Christmas arrangement adding a charming texture and colour.   

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Christmas Rush

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have Christmas in winter.  Summer is such a busy season here.  There is so much to do around the farm - the grass seems to grow while you watch it.  The leucaspermums all seems to flower at once, and everyone wants flowers for Christmas.  Add to all this the normal end of year activities and you end up with a great long list of things that need to be done!  But in amongst it all, there are some fun jobs.  I've been designing christmas arrangements and wreaths and I love the creative side of it. 

The potted arrangement above has three types of Leucosermum - Cordifolium (the orange one) Scarlet Ribbons (the red) and Mardi Gras (the yellow and orange).  I've also included some Berzelia or button bush - the creamy white little pom poms, and a selection of leucadendrons.  

This Christmas wreath includes our newest planting of leucaspermums - Scarlet Ribbons.  They've been in the ground just over 2 years and we've had a great crop of them this year.  They are a relatively early flowering variety for us, and they look so cheery on the hillside where they grow.  I love the way they change colour from pink and greyish purple and red when they are just opening, to rich red with orange and tinges of pink as they mature.  

The wreath also has our leucadendron Christmas Cones - the little purplish red cones that you can see peeping out of the foliage.  They are such a great Christmas time plant.  The beautiful swelling cones are so vibrant on the end of the stems, and even look good when they are aged and dry.  They end up looking like miniature pinecones on the end of the stems.  What a useful Christmas plant!!  

I have added some of our Tasmanian Myrtle foliage too, which is looking so spectacular after its growth season in spring.  It's botanical name is Nothofagus Cunninghamii.  It is a beautiful Tasmanian tree that is highly prized for its pinkish toned timber which makes wonderful furniture and wood products.  I love to pick it, because it has a wonderful resinous smell that lingers on your hands. 
You might also be able to see some Geraldton Wax flowers, and some Eucalyptus foliage.  I just love the way the colours and textures of the different plants blend together when I'm creating different bunches and arrangements. 

I think sometimes the busyness of the season can get the creative juices flowing!