Above Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream'
Gondwana is an ancient supercontinent that eventually split up into Antarctica, Australia, South America, Africa, and other bits and pieces of the planet.  The splitting explains why Proteaceae are distributed the way they are--over South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.  Originally they were all in one area.  Perhaps an alternate name for Gondwana could be Proteana. 

This section of the garden has become my private Gondwana--with members of the Protea family from Australia and South Africa, Aloes from South Africa,  plus a non-Protea Australian plant or two.  This is a very dry area and has the poorest soil in the garden.  Not only is it sloped, but it is also essentially a large raised bed, due to the driveway retaining wall.  It originally was a lawn, then it filled with roses and Hemerocallis, but our five year drought put those plants into severe decline, so I removed them all but one.  It was intended to move the last rose this past winter, but an eye problem had to delay that to this coming fall. 
A. Aloe castanaea (small tree Aloe)
B. Protea 'Pink Ice'
C. Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon'
D. Aussie Maireana sedifolia
E. Aloe speciosa (tree Aloe)
F. Leucadendron 'Ebony' (hard to see)
G. Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream'
H. Grevillea 'Robyn Gordon'
I.  Leucospernum 'Flame Giant'
J.  Tecoma 'Sparky' (non Gondwana)
K. Aloe thraskii (tree Aloe)
L. a muddle of a Salvia greggii hybrid and behind that Bougainvillea 'Thai Imperial Delight' (non Gondwana)

The Tecoma 'Sparky' is for the hummingbirds.  I'm not wild about the flower color.
 When I planted Leucospermum 'Flame Giant, I dug a large hole the depth of the rootball, but made it much wider, to loosen the soil and add some soil sulfur.  While digging, I found some of the blocks that had once formed a path in a previous form of this area.  The guys who installed the concrete culvert were supposed to remove and pile up all the blocks.  They missed a few. 
 This is a spot where multiple roses have died.  The Bougie is thriving, but I'm not sure it will stay. 
 At this moment the Aloe thraskii and the Maireana are the most eye-catching plants in the area.  The rest of the plants are young and still developing. 
 The 'Moon Lagoon' Eucalyptus is starting to battle for space with Protea 'Pink Ice', which had seven flowers this year.  To the right of the Protea is the rose that will be moved.  There are a few seedling Salvia discolors here and there--it's an excellent year-round food source for Hummingbirds and gets by on very little water.  For now they can stay. 
There's the new Leucospermum 'Flame Giant' in the wire cage.
Near the silver Maireana I added the silver foliaged Craspedia globosa (Australia) purchased some weeks back, and near the Bougainvillea, Pycnostachys urticifolia (South Africa).

Grevillea 'Robyn Gordon' has grown, though it is not quite established enough to bloom regularly.  Above right of 'Robyn' is Leucospernum 'Flame Giant', above left and left are a Salvia discolor (for the hummingbirds) and a golden Duranta.  There are a few scattered Mexican Tulip Poppy plants here and there (bright yellow flowers).  Behind all is a privacy hedge of Ligustrum and a concrete culvert to direct rainwater from uphill down to a drain at the bottom of the property.
It's just a start.  Doesn't look like much yet.  We'll see what happens.  Some plants will be removed, or fail.  The Adentanthos failed here--too dry.  Same with Leucadendron 'Little Bit' and 'Pisa'.  

An additional tree Aloe or two might be nice, to add structural contrast to the billowy shrubs.  A bench whereupon to sit and watch the hummingbirds fight.  It is all an experiment, my own private Gondwana--or Proteana. 


  1. YEEEESSSSSS. I love private gardens with bits organized botanically (but also for aesthetics and design, which you're tops at, as well as health and maintenance). I would love it if this came back in style, especially over victory gardens (particularly where the latter are a bit untenable without a lot of supplemental irrigation), but done in modern and prevailing forms (so, less berms and mounds and finicky display beds set off by turf, and more, for lack of a better set of words, like outdoor rooms or organic, thematic plantings). Great post!

    1. Thanks. Hopefully it will work out. Attention must be paid to adequate irrigation because the drainage is so fast and the soil so light, but not as much as the roses needed. Maybe the idea came subconsciously from botanic garden visits, where plants are grouped by place of origin, or maybe simply because that is the kind of plant I'm buying lately.

      Always wanted to ask, what is the source of your avatar? Seems like I've seen that face somewhere...

  2. Creating your own Gondwana is already a marvelous idea. I think we have to change our gardens ealrlier or later, climate is changing, times are changing and condition of soil too. I think this is a nice experiment, it looks as if it will turn out right. Looking forward to see it back in the future.

    1. Yes everything is changing, in my country maybe for the worse. We must adapt wisely.

      I hope the experiment is a success--I will update in the future. I hope you are having a lovely Sunday, Janneke. The dogs say "hello" with their wagging tails.

  3. Your own miniature botanical garden in the making! This area will have serious wow factor in a few more years. You have so many plants I want, esp. Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' and Maireana sedifolia. I can't wait to see how they mature.

    Where is your Protea 'Mini King'? I'm tempted to try one myself.

    1. 'Mini King' is out front, and has grown maybe 1/2". I am not exaggerating! It has two or three new (small) leaves and that is all. Perhaps it needs more acidic soil. 'Pink Ice' in contrast has quadrupled in size.

      I'm hoping for a wow factor sooner than a few years--we'll see...

  4. It's the start of a beautiful community! What's your concern with the Bougainvillea there? I just made my first stab at adding soil sulfur in the area that's killed 4 plants and its surround. I'm unsure how long it will take to see any difference - the directions on the box mentioned testing again in 3 months.

    1. The Bougainvillea I fear will get really large, plus it is bright screaming hot pink, where almost everything else in the area is in the yellow-orange-coral-red zone. (I'm starting to coordinates colors a little better--well--trying to, anyway.)

  5. I'm loving the sound of your plans for this new area! Having ones own private Gondwana sounds fabulous and really interesting!!

    1. Thank you! Happily it fits with the poor soil and dry sunny conditions there--hopefully it works out--only concern is that it is too dry.

  6. :: Australia, South America, Africa, and other bits and pieces of the planet. ::

    The first thing this evoked for me was the Strybing Arboretum, with its sections of Chilean, Australia/NZ, and Cape plants. So completely strange and wonderful to my eastern N.Am. woodland eyes, and so much better suited to the California climate than the plants familiar to year-round-water regions (this was back during the previous intense drought, 1987-93).

    The Strybing staff did a tremendous job of creating beautiful ensembles of plants from the same region. I hope it's still as lovely and instructive now that it's the SF Botanical Garden. Some of the effects there are probably unattainable thanks to the coastal cooling mist of the location, but still a lot to learn about ultimate size/shape and effective groupings.

    Do Bougainvilleas come in any hot colors? When I think of them I think of pink, purple, a rosy red, and white. It is magnificently heat and drought tolerant, but seems as if it would take a bunch of trimming to stay in scale, even as a pillar.

    1. The eastern N.Am. woodland is strange and wonderful to these CA eyes, too. :)

      I've not been to Strybing for a long long time except a brief visit to the conservatory there for the '13 Fling. Hopefully I get there someday.

      Bougies are mostly all searing hot colors that grab the eye on a sunny day. The pink/white blend in that area is screaming bright on a sunny day. There are a few of subdued color--the golden one up on the balcony is one of those. Might be nice to switch their places, but they are not easy to move successfully. When young the root systems are fragile, when mature, huge and impossible.

  7. This new planting is going to love another winter to settle in. It was seeing your Maireana here that sent me off on the hunt for it. Not sure if I told you that a gallon size has settled into a severely neglected patch of soil over the summer. I wonder if it can be clipped into an sphere? A few drops of rain today spitting down, but nothing to register as rain. And just to be contrary, I love that tecoma's color!

    1. I've cut my well-established Maireanas to the ground a couple of times when they became overwhelming or at long last ratty-looking. They grew back without complaint. I am guessing "selective pruning" rather than shearing would work out. Let us hope we get an actual rainy winter this time.

      I'm just happy for the overcast, not expecting a drop. It looks like most of it is headed to Palm Springs area. We got a good cleansing shower about a week ago; thankful for that.

      The Tecoma color--it's just me preferring the pure chrome-yellow species.

  8. Hard to mourn the roses when you have this little piece of eden going on.

    1. Well, if you saw some of the roses, you might think mourning was reasonable.


Post a Comment

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.

Popular Posts