Well I have definitely decided that I love shrubbery style gardening. Big blowsy green shrubs which spill over wide paths or nearly occlude narrow ones. Shrubs that hide the path ahead so that one finds unexpected things around the corner. Shrubs which stay green all year round and don’t need much care apart from a kind word or two in passing and a chuck under the chin from time to tome. I love my garden to feel full, replete, overflowing. Of course I don’t have to choose between shrubs or perennials or annuals for that matter because my garden is quite big enough for them all but if I did have to choose I would choose shrubs any day. I wonder when and how that came about. I used to favour show off plants which did a big bang of colour in spring and maybe again in autumn and then disappeared through winter to come up again to delight my overwintered heart. Is it because I am getting weary as I get older? Is it that I feel I need plants around me that don’t need mummying? Is it just that I needed a change? Will I change my mind again? Who knows. What I do know is that this year I have whipped out my beautiful everlasting daisies, Xerochrysum viscosum (somehow I was exhausted by their bedraggled visage at the end of a very hot summer with very little water) and replaced them with a fulsome green leaved Callistemon ‘Rowena’, so fast growing I know I wont need to wait long to have the space filled to overflowing. The Xerochrysum will of course be re-placed around the corner in the orchard so I can enjoy their bright faces next summer but where I look out of my kitchen window every day several times a day I want it to be green, verdantly green, bouncingly green, evergreen, to keep me happy.
It’s that time of year again. The heat is dissipating from the land and I can once more work all day in the garden. Bliss. So many jobs and plans that have had to wait all summer long can now be realised. My compost has ‘cooked’ which means all new plants can be settled in with a generous dollop of ‘black gold’ to help them on their way.
Its also time once again for the Australian Native Plant Society plant sale at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (https://nativeplantscbr.com.au/ ). This event is on this Saturday the 16th March from 8.30 am in the bottom car park and IDP Nursery will have plants there as will quite a few other native plant growers. There will be over 12000 plants for sale. Last year when I arrived to help set up at 7.30 am the queues had already started so be in early.
I’m always on the look out for new plants to grow for the nursery. If they are plants which I haven’t grown before I grow them in my own garden first before deciding whether or not to add them to our sales. Although this means that it can be a bit of a time lag before they are available for sale to you it does mean that I am able to tell you in what sort of conditions to plant your new plant and how it is likely to perform. An example of this is Swainsonia galegifolia. I bought this last autumn at the ANPS sale. This fabulous plant has now overwintered and endured a very hot summer at my place and I can very definitely say that it performs very very well in our climate. It has been a cheerful flowerer through even the hottest days. We now have seed grown plants (usually pink flowers) and cutting grown, burgundy flowered, plants for sale at the nursery.
And on another note…………..I’m wondering why Acacias (otherwise known as Wattles) are not very popular at the nursery. We seem to all have a general antipathy toward them and yet they are so useful as garden plants. They come in all shapes and sizes, they have such bright cheerful, usually yellow, flowers and they grow quickly with very little fuss. They also provide a good source of pollen for bees and the seeds are popular with birds.
A couple of people I have talked to about this antipathy have mentioned that they believed that Acacias were very allergenic. Research has actually shown that pollen from acacia are rarely to blame for hay fever. Acacia pollen is heavy and tends to drop to the ground quickly. It is far more likely that allergies are caused by grass pollen which is very much lighter and far more likely to be airborne. Because the Acacias are visible and the grass pollen is not the Acacias get the blame for the hay fever. https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2015-09-23/dont-blame-the-wattle/6791396
Another cited reason for not liking Acacia is that they are short lived. This I can understand and yet there are positives about this too. Taller Acacia make really good quick growing windbreaks or quickly provide cover and micro-climate for other plants in the garden. The lower growing Acacia simply fill the garden out nice and quickly. The approximately 10 year life span can be extended by pruning each year along with control of borer. And of course once the plant has reached the end of its life it is a wonderful opportunity to plant something new.
In the nursery we currently have Acacia ulicifolia, A. dawsonii, A. beckleri, A. acinacea, and A. vestitia. Put some sunshine into your life and add an Acacia to your garden this year and………………… I hope to see you all at the ANPS plant sale on Saturday.