Like most people, I have a garden full of plants given to me by friends and neighbours. They are all very special.
Some years ago I went on an outing to the home of Laurel Phillips, a life-member of our local garden club at Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains. I was enchanted with some tiny blue flowers spilling over a retaining wall. Laurel told me the plant was called Lithodora, and gave me some pieces to propagate. However, I failed miserably.
Now I suspect dear Laurel knew I wasn’t an expert. She had quietly taken some cuttings herself and potted them up for me. At the garden club meeting a few months later she presented me with two flourishing plants; a deep blue flowering one, and the gorgeous blue and white striped variety that had originally caught my eye. The striped one reminds me of piped icing sugar flowers on wedding cakes;
They have done really well and are such a delightful reminder of Laurel. I have them spilling over a wall, just as she did. They like an acid, free draining soil in sun to part shade.
The flowers make such sweet little posies for my bedside table;
There is only one ‘problem’ with Lithodora. The blue obsessed satin bowerbirds steal the flowers for their bowers.
The green juvenile ‘apprentice’ grabs as many as he can;
Oh yes, and the crimson rosellas love them too. Just as well there are enough for us all. Honestly, how could I be annoyed at the sight of these colourful bandits?
Thanks so much Laurel, on behalf of me and the birds. I’m sure you had no idea how much pleasure your gift would bring.
Laurel Phillips lived in Blackheath for 80 years. She was a tireless worker for virtually every village community group, including the Red Cross and the CWA. In 2002, as the sole surviving member of the original Rhododendron Festival Committee, she was given the honour of planting the first rhododendron bush in Sutton Park. The plantings commemorated the 50th anniversary of the festival, which will be held this weekend. Laurel died last year, a month after celebrating her 100th birthday. She is greatly missed and remembered with love.