Today is a scary day, a distressing day, I wonder if we will survive this summer type of day, and I am saying mayday! mayday!, we need help! I wonder if you are feeling that too or if you are a whole lot more positive that we will get rain soon. For rain is what we need now, a week of it at the very least.
My plants are dry stressed and on top of that the rabbits and cockatoos are honing in for any little bit of green they can find. On Tuesday I picked up 5 very full barrow loads of eucalypt branches that the cockatoos had stripped from my client’s tree. My Acacia has had a similar stripping by cockatoos. Other smaller plants seem to be hit by rabbits looking for something to eat.
And so whilst I shout help I’m also going to double down to protect my plants and help them, in any way I can, to survive. Three years of plant growth simply must not go to waste so out have come my plant protection aids again (see blog on 27/1/2019) My plants do not need to be chewed no matter how hungry the rabbits are and some of them are going to need extra shade for a while. My irrigation supplies box has also been well utilised in the last couple of weeks as I have increased the area covered by a simple above ground irrigation system which the hose plugs onto and away we go. What I am noticing now is that the ground is so very dry that any water I put in is hardly lasting the week but at least I can water everything at once and not have to bucket to each plant.
If you, like me, are determined to rescue your plants from certain demise in this extraordinary weather and need some tips on how to do so with simple irrigation and rabbit protection then pop down to Murrumbateman markets tomorrow or the markets at Cool Country Natives in Pialligo in two weeks time and talk to me.
Although I’m finding it difficult to stay positive today, stay positive I must and protect my plants I will. The alternative is too horrid to contemplate.
Flowering now in my garden: From top left going clockwise are Callistemon subulatus, Patersonia occidentalis, Chrysocephalum apiculatum silver leaf form, Melaleuca thymifolia white and Xerochrysum viscosum.
What I love about going for walks or hikes in nature parks or even along the roadside with the dogs is not only the fresh air and lovely scenery but when I catch a glimpse of colour and find a flower treasure amongst the grass or scrub. I always have my camera handy. On longer hikes I find that I also always get left behind and have to run to catch up with my walking companions, one of whom in particular is not an avid plants person!
One of the things which IDP Nursery has quite a few of is ‘local plants’. It is not just that these plants have been grown locally but that their origins are local. These local plants are grown from seed or taken from cuttings from a wild plant on a local property. As such they have tough genes, they have evolved and adapted to the local climate.
Having said that the term ‘local’ as we use it is denoted as an area approximately within 50km of the ACT. This of course then includes alpine areas, wetlands, dry and moist sclerophyll forest and grasslands and so it is wise when buying a local plant, just as it is wise when buying any plant, to investigate what conditions it has come from and therefore prefers.
For example plants, such as Craspedia aurantia, which originate from alpine areas within the local region may find the heat in our gardens hard to handle and may need either a little more shade or more water for survival. Likewise plants such as Carex fasciularis which originate from the edge of fresh water rivers or lakes are likely to prefer loamy soils and more moisture than they may naturally get in your or my garden.
In the case of some plants such as Themeda triandra (Kangaroo grass) which is native to much of Australia, seed which has been imported from say Queensland will have a different genetic makeup to seed which originates locally. Therefore the resulting plant may not be as frost hardy as a plant which has been grown from locally sourced seed. We see this also with Indigofera australis which is also native to coastal areas. If your garden centre sources their stock of Indigofera from a coastal genetic stock you will find that they will not last through winter here.
As gardeners we often choose to plant a plant which originates form a different climatic area and/or an area which has markedly different soil knowing that we are treading n dangerous ground. When we do this it is important to try to recreate the conditions to which it might best be suited. For example western Australia has sandy loam or deep sand or gravelly soils. Plants which originate here such as Anigozanthos species (Kangaroo paws) are often best grown in pots or at the very least have sand added to our clay soils. South Australia has pockets of alkaline soils so plants which originate from these regions are likely to need a little soil remediation in the pH department and plants which originate from the coast or Sydney will not be used to severe frost and will likely require particular attention to micro-climate within the garden.
You will find that a good plant nursery will be happy to tell you where their plants have been sourced from to aid you in making helpful decisions about placement in your garden.
As I have said, all our plants which are ‘local plants’ are marked as such on our website but just to give you a few examples here are the plants which we sell which have originated from my own paddocks…………..
Themeda triandra, Dianella longifolia, Dianella revoluta, Cheiranthera linearis, Dilwynia sericea
Hardenbergia violacea, Lomandra filiformis, Indigofera Australia, Clematis microphylla, Pultenaea subspicata, Einadia nutans and Hovea linearis.