Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blooms - Australian Cultivars

Cultivar is  a cultivated variety developed by selectively breeding in order to enhance or minimise traits common to other members of its species. Today’s gardeners owe much of their success to the availability of Australian cultivars. When selecting plants, modern gardeners look for more than just beauty. They demand plants that are hearty, disease resistant and easy to grow, no matter what colour their thumb. 

Five Australian flower cultivars are featured in this special issue of five stamps.The stamps feature Simon Griffiths’ superb photographs of the five cultivars. Each of the cultivars was photographed at the peak of its blooming period.

The cultivars in the stamp issue were specifically bred to produce spectacular blooms on hardy, disease resistant plants suitable for home cultivation. All are entirely Australian bred, and are widely available through commercial nurseries. Three of the featured Australian cultivars are from introduced species, the remaining two are natives.

  Hari Withers’ camellia:

The ethereal ‘Hari Withers’ camellia was bred by Dr R M Withers of Victoria and named in honour of his wife. Flowers average nine cm in diameter and appear mid-season on a fastgrowing, upright and spreading plant.
Described as formal double in style, they are very pale pink gradating to a deeper pink rosebud at the centre. ‘Hari Withers’ was registered in 1985 and is a Camellia x williamsii hybrid.


 ‘Victoria Gold’ rose:

‘Victoria Gold’ was bred by Eric Welsh (Erina, NSW) and released in 1999 to commemorate the centenary of the Victorian Rose Society. ‘Victoria Gold’ is a floribunda (clusterflowered) plant 60 to 90 cm in height.
It produces double bright yellow blooms with red margining of the petals in the cooler months.


‘Superb’ grevillea:

Superb’ is one of the most popular and widely available grevillea cultivars. Bred in Queensland by Merv Hodge and released in 1981, ‘Superb’ is a cross between Queensland species Grevillea banksii and Western Australian species Grevillea bipinnatifida.
‘Superb’ is a bushy, medium-sized shrub with large racemes of striking pinkish-yellow flowers that age to a deep pink. ‘Superb’ flowers throughout the year and attracts honey-eating birds.

‘Bush Tango’ kangaroo paw:

‘Bush Tango’ was bred by Yates Botanicals from four species of Anigozanthos A. flavidus, A. humilis, A. onycis and A. preissii, and released commercially in 2000. It grows to 1.2 m tall and is characterised by its bright orange flower.

‘Midnight’ rhododendron:

The beautiful rhododendron ‘Midnight’ was bred in 1978 by Karel Van de Ven of Olinda, Victoria.
An open growing, vigorous plant, ‘Midnight’ has large, magenta-rose, frilly blooms with a prominent black ‘eye’ in the middle of each flower. Trusses have around sixteen flowers. ‘Midnight’ a cross between the hybrids ‘Cup Day’ and ‘Purple Splendour’ is also a success overseas, where it can be found growing in British and American gardens.

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