A is for Abutilon

You need more flowers – that was the first comment I received when a researcher from ABCTV’s Gardening Australia programme came calling.  We were standing at the front of my property, looking at my car space, a.k.a. The Orchard.

I have an urban orchard, A Miniature Orchard as they named the segment that eventually went on air.  I grow fruit trees, I said, there can be no fruit without flowers.  I pointed to the trees laden with fruit and said, I have flowers.

I knew what she meant; more flowers would look better on TV.  Maybe she meant more flowers would attract more bees.  I don’t care.  I am a poet and a gardener, both occupations allow me to be a despot in my domain.

Apart from the orchard, I do have a number of flowering trees and shrubs.  The ornamentals were here before me:  a giant jacaranda, a couple of camellias and THREE crepe myrtles in the side passage barely passable for one.  For their fragrance I added gardenias, a dwarf magnolia, an osmanthus and a Chinese tea jasmine.

Other flowers must fit into my edible garden scheme and my favourite amongst those are the abutilons.  These are called Chinese Lanterns for the way they hang.  I eat the petals but I love the pool of nectar in the ‘cup’ at the base of each flower.  I have them in white, pink, orange and red; they are all edible and dresses up a salad.

Abutilons are also the easiest thing to propagate.  I took pieces from my friend Diane’s garden, stab them in a pot and voila!  Trees in no time in Sydney’s climate.  They can grow tall but respond well to pruning.

A is for Abutilon.  It gets an A+ from me.

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4072376.htm  – a video (4:33) on part of my urban orchard

About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
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