My Australian Garden And Its Plants
Well, the title says it all, really. Most of the plants in my front garden are Australian natives, but a few others creep in, because I like them. There's no theme or formal planting in my garden, it's just growing the way it feels like growing. :-)
Gardens, of course, are always in a state of flux, so things change regularly, depending on which plant I fall in love with at the nursery, or the market.
The garden at the back of the house is a mixture of herbs, natives, exotics and fruit and vegetables. It's a real mix, but I like it that way.
A Young Garden
Most people think of eucalypts when they are planning an Australian garden, but we do have many other types of tree. I have to admit to liking the eucalyps myself, and currently have four in the front garden. Many of the varieties are much too big to have in a suburban setting though.
The eucalypt in the photo is Eucalyptus forestiana; the birds love it. We've tried to add bird attracting plants where possible, as our native birds are awesome. Lots of them come when the eucalypts are in flower.
Eucalypts and Other Trees
A Palm Tree At Last
For years, I've admired palm trees, and have always wanted one in my garden, but they are so tall, it hasn't been a viable proposition.
At the local market on Sunday, I discovered that there was a dwarf species of date palm, the proper name of which I don't know. This variety apparently only grows to two metres in height, so will be ideal in my back garden. It may not fruit, as it may not be hot enough here in Melbourne, but that's fine with me.
Anyway, it now resides near the seating area, and we've put stones around the base so the chickens can't disturb the roots. They're notorious for doing that. The green object is the all too infrequently used rain gauge. :-)
As you can see, I'm really happy to have finally got my palm tree!
Finally Got A Palm Tree!
Below is a picture of my genista, a beautiful yellow flowered plant, which is a legume. It seeds itself readily, and we are collecting any seedlings which come up, and will be replacing the front fence with a genista hedge. Should look spectacular in Spring.
Unfortunately, we have discovered that the Genista isn't really an Australian plant, but it's a beautiful plant, so we'll leave it where it is for the time being. It's most likely South African.
Genista In Full Bloom - ......It's Spring!
Quondongs, A Rare Fruit
In case you didn't know, Quandongs, or Quondongs, are an Australian fruit. They aren't particularly well known, and grow in the outback. I've never seen them in a fruit shop or supermarket, nor as a tinned fruit.
A couple of weeks ago, we were at an Australian Native Plant nursery, where they have a cafe which specialises in making food from our native plants. The dessert I chose was Quandong crumble, with ice cream and cream - it was beautiful! This fruit deserves to be better known.
The nursery stocked Quandong plants, so I brought one home with me - it's only about 4 inches high at the moment, as has a companion plant with it, which is a boobialla. Quandongs are semi-parasitic, so need a host plant. Just about anything native will do, even grasses.
They are a bit of a challenge to grow from seed, but I've got some of those as well, and am hoping for germination soon. The seeds have been planted with some seedling saltbush.
Quandongs are also known as the native peach, and their Latin name is Santalum acuminatum
Hopefully, either the seeds, or the seedling tree will do well, and in a few years, I'll have my own Quandong fruit.
Update: Unfortunately, the drought killed the poor quondong seedling.
I Really Like Quandongs
Another New Plant
Since I enjoy adding plants to my garden, I decided it was time to get another. After a lot of searching, at both the market, and a local garden shop, I decided on a dwarf acacia. Its botanical name is Acacia howittii, and it's common name is Honey Bun.
The maximum height should be about 1.2 metres and it has a spread of 1.2 metres also. As with most acacias, the flowers are yellow. It's a very dense shrub, and should look pretty good against the fence in the front garden.
Once we get enough plants at hedge height along the fence, we're going to get rid of it, and just have the plants, which by then, hopefully, will be thick enough to act like a barrier themselves. This new acacia is a nice addition to the plan.
Update: This plant is now about two metres across, as is looking very healthy.
Australian Tufted Bluebell
Drought Tolerant Plants
Some of the plants I've loved have succumbed to the heat and dryness of the past few years, when we've been in drought. There are some groundcovers that I'm allowing to run wild for the present. The tufted bluebell is one of them - it's a beautiful shade of blue
There's a much bigger patch at the other side of the garden, but it was in shade and didn't photograph well at the time.
Ponds Are Great Features
Drought or no drought, I still have a small pond, surrounded by rocks. The goldfish haven't survived, for some reason, but the waterplants are still going strong. We actually have to trim the water weeds as they keep taking over, now that there are no fish to eat them.
The waterlily has just started to flower, and is a very pale apricot in colour. It's about four years old, and it still in a pot standing on the bottom of the pond.
Growing Tea Trees
Tea trees are not actually the plant from which the drink is made, but they were used as a substitute by early settlers in Australia. There are many varieties, and one of my favourites is the copper tea-tree pictured above.
These plants an be found in a variety of conditions, and can tolerate full sun or part shade. Many Australian native plants do not appreciate fertilisers, unless you can get one made for them. Some wood ash, or blood and bone can be used, however.
These plants spread easily, so don't let them take over your garden when they seed.
Bird of Paradise Plant
This is my bird of paradise plant - I've had it for about six or seven years, since it was about five inches tall. I believe this particular variety is Strelitzia reginae.
Now it's about a metre or more, and it's the first time it's flowered. I'm really impressed with this flower - it's beautiful. The flower is about seven inches across and about six inches in height.
A Really Exotic Plant
Red and Yellow Cacti
OK, so these aren't Australian Natives, but I like them a lot, and that's enough reason to have them in my garden!
I don't know what they are, only that one is red, and one is yellow, so that's what I call them!
A Couple of Cacti
This is a new plant in my garden, purchased on a recent trip to the Cranbourne section of our State Botanical Gardens. These gardens are dedicated to Australian native plants.
This little flower is hopefully going to spread, as I'd like it to become a ground cover for the area near the path.