Lemon Tea trees

I love all natural lemony scents and flavours. I love lemons, and have many lemon trees of the cultivated and bush varieties, never wanting to be without lemon juice or peel in the kitchen.

But I also have two native trees with lemon-scented leaves.

This little beauty is the Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora), and I pick and dry its leaves to add whole to my teas.

On the tree, you have to crush a leaf to get the perfume. The beautiful starry clusters of flowers are a bonus I hadn’t expected from this Queensland rainforest tree.

The other is a Lemon Scented Ti-Tree or Tea Tree (Leptospermum petersonii). It too can be used to make tea, although I haven’t. It’s grown into a lovely spreading shape, and the slightest brush against the leaves does release a strong lemon scent.

From a distance — like the house — the simple white flowers seem to dust the tree with light snow.

This one has a history: it seeded itself into a pot of aloe vera I had sat beneath the only tree in the tiny back yard of an inner-Sydney semi I was renting.

I love chance seedings — and freebies! 

Shade magic

Each year the Crimson Glory Vine powers up from its woody trunk and heavily pruned short stems — and goes crazy along my western wall. I am amazed anew at its vigour. 

Before it begins to live up to its colourful name, I wanted to celebrate its green and growing summer stage.

Not only does it lace in and out of my verandah lattice, giving shade, and protection from wild summer storms, but it stretches right across the mud wall.

Each year it reaches further and this year for the first time it has made the rear extension. Next year I may not have to put up that shadecloth.

On the main western wall the greenery brings shade to the unused door and the upper fixed window; there is a leadlight window to the right of the door, but so densely shaded that it is invisible.

All from one plant! Magic — and free. And far more beautiful than shadecloth!

Free summer blinds

stepsIn Autumn the ornamental grape and wisteria vines on my verandah were a visual treat — a rich riot of warm colours.

The vines are bare by winter, allowing the low sun to enter my house.

No matter how severely I trim them back, come Spring they always take off with such vigour that here we are at the beginning of Summer with fully drawn blinds of many different shades, shapes and textures of green.

green shade

in flower‘Pray enter a refuge from the glare and heat of summer’, say my front steps, leading to a doorway in the vines.

They do not lie. Once on the wide verandah, which is my summer living area, the contrast is extreme, the shade is dense and cool, the very light is green.

And to think these passive solar blinds are free, with guaranteed annual installation!

Up the north-eastern end of the verandah, morning summer sunlight is welcome, so the free blinds are allowed to be of more lacey material.

The climbing Crepuscule rose is finishing its blooming, just as the ‘Chilean Jasmine’, Mandevilla Laxa, is beginning — highly perfumed white clusters on delicate twining stems.

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