I have been surprised this week with a flushing Tea Tree – in full bloom!! This is the first time !! I have had a few bottle brush flowers but this is spectacular!! I think this tree is about 4-5 years old! This year it has grown to quite a size, and we hold the secret to great growth with all our trees (mostly fruit trees) in our back garden!!

The flowers are really so pretty and they have such a delicate smell – a mix between honey suckle and roses!!

The amazing thing is that – when you look closer, the flowers were full of blueflies (we call them brommers (Afrikaans))!!

This was so unusual! We were not hassled by these flies. In fact, we do not get a lot of these flies around! It looked as if they were only in this tree and in a trance while rubbing themselves in the white bristles of the flower – almost as if they were drunk on the nectar!

Then, a few hours later (at about 5pm) they were all gone. Where did they go?? Nowhere to be seen.

Can anyone explain this to me!?? I recon that because these trees come from Australia, they have to attract other insects (maybe bees are scarce) to pollenate them!! And so the FLY!!

Here is some info (ref: wikipedia)

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) commonly known as narrow-leaved paperbark, narrow-leaved tea-tree, narrow-leaved ti-tree, or snow-in-summer, is a species of tree or tall shrub in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Native to Australia, it occurs in southeast Queensland and the north coast and adjacent ranges of New South Wales. It grows along streams and on swampy flats, and is often the dominant species where it occurs. Melaleuca alternifolia is a small tree to about 7 metres (20 ft) with a bushy crown and whitish, papery bark. Leaves are linear, smooth and soft. They are also rich in oil with the glands prominent. Complementary and alternative medicines with tea tree (melaleuca) oil have become increasingly popular in recent decades. This essential oil has been used for almost 100 years in Australia but is now available worldwide both as neat oil and as an active component in an array of products. The primary uses of tea tree oil have historically capitalized on the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actions of the oil.

Flowers occur in fluffy white masses of spikes (like a bottle brush) and over a short period, mostly spring to early summer. They have a small woody, cup-shaped fruit, 2–3 millimetres  in diameter are scattered along the branches.

I love this tree – not only because it is so pretty – but because of its valuable essential oil. I one day want to extract tea tree oil!! Has anyone ever tried this??? Please let me know – I would love to learn how to do this!

Happy gardening xxxx

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