As I was digging up bulbs of Jonquils, Daffodils and Bluebells from my garden today to make room for my lovely new native plant acquisitions I was thinking, whether you believe in God or mother nature, in creation or evolution, you have to agree that the plants endemic to any one region are cleverly and uniquely adapted to that area and therefore are a good place to start when thinking about what to plant in the garden. As much as I love my northern hemisphere bulbs (and they really are very tough) I find myself more and more drawn to our native plants which are just as beautiful and are so uniquely ours. And I thought how would it be if I only grew native plants in my garden. Scary!
Many of the plants we sell through IDP Nursery are found naturally in the local area for example Einadia nutans and Rhodanthe anthemoides and some, such as Indigofera australis, Hardenbergia violacea, and Pultenaea subspicata, are growing naturally in my own paddocks. These plants do just fine in my paddocks amongst the Eucalypt trees with no added care which goes to show how very tough they are.
The Eucalypts themselves are well adapted to the environment. They have lignotubers at the base of their trunks so that they can regenerate after fires, and their leaves, which hang downwards, do so to minimise exposure to the sun thereby reducing moisture loss.
Other moisture reducing adaptations of Australian native plants include:
The list of adaptations goes on and on. It is awe inspiring to think of.
And so I have not dug up all my Daffodils, Jonquils or Bluebells but have reduced them down to a special few. Maybe next year I will be able to let go a little more and embrace the native plant challenge completely. Will you?
All winter the kangaroo paws we divided in autumn have been sending down new roots, regrowing leaves and now they are sending up flower stems for a fabulous summer display. If you have tried growing kangaroo paws before in our cold climate (Canberra and surrounding districts) without much success here are our tips which are tried and true.
1. Choose a hardier variety of kangaroo paw. Flavidus X such as Anigozanthos Big Red, Yellow Gem, Regal Claw and Orange Cross are plants that we supply at IDP nursery that are of this type.
2. Choose your site carefully. The soil needs to be deep so that the roots can grow deep into the soil to protect them from frost in winter.
Free draining soil is also important so that the plant doesn’t end up sitting in a puddle if we do get rain.
Full sun is best for flowering though if it is too hot a site the flower buds may get burned and drop off.
Provide a heat bank for the plant. Plant your Kangaroo Paw beside large rocks, retaining walls made of brick or rock, a sheltered area by the house or in terracotta pots which can be moved onto a patio area in winter.
Think about where the least frost affected areas are in your garden. Frost travels downhill so the higher areas of the garden will be better suited for growing kangaroo paws
3. Treat your plants well. Mulch well in winter. If leaves are damaged by frost they can be cut back hard in spring and as long as the roots are happy the plant will re-shoot vigorously in spring.
In dry winters, give extra water. These plants originate from areas with winter precipitation so they suffer if the winter is dry and will not give you the flower display you are looking for in summer.
Pop in to IDP Nursery (give us a call first), the Kangaroo Paws are ready to walk out the door.
Do you fancy coming home to a country cottage garden, a riot of happy colour, perennials and annuals, a haven for bees and birds? The good news is you can create a truly Aussie cottage look now with native plants and we have quite a few to suit and are planning to get more as time goes on.
For front of border how about Chrysocephalum apiculatum with yellow bobble flowers with silver or green foliage, or the burgundy leaves of Ajuga australis with its spikes of purple flowers. If you want something entirely more dainty you cant go past Brachyscome multifida (currently available with white mauve and deep mauve flowers) or Lotus australis with white pea flowers (mine hasn’t had a drop of water all winter and is happily in flower now. Slightly taller is the Bulbine glauca with glorious spikes of yellow flowers, so so hardy and team it with Swainsonia galegifolia pink (I have just bought deep burgundy to bring into production too) and clumps of strap leaved Thelionema grande with its deep blue flowers. Another gorgeous blue flowering plant is the Eryngium ovinum which has electric blue thistle-like flower heads. A trellis or arbour could be planted out with dainty, delicate, cream flowered Clematis microphylla or the bolder, purple flowered Hardenbergia violacea.
Plant your culinary herbs amongst the colour and then think dry creek beds, pebble paths or rock bed borders to finish off and you will have a garden to turn heads.