Archive for the 'Plant species' Category

What’s flowering in May?

Photo by M Tranent. I hope to upload a photo of the garden mentioned.

Photo by M Tranent. I hope to upload a photo of the garden mentioned.

There are quite a few plants flowering in my district in May. They include Swainsona formosa, Acacia iteaphylla, Eremophila maculata forms, to name a few. This has stimulated me to begin again on my blog, as well as the queries for information that I periodically receive. My lifestyle has changed and should allow me to pick up again.

Swainsona formosa may seem to be an unlikely plant to include in this list. However a roughly 5square metres front yard of a house in the town has been sown completely to the Sturt’s Desert Pea. The owner described to me that he threw a handful of seed over the yellow gravel he had spread over the area which may have been lawn before. He did it at this time of the year relying on natural rainfall to germinate the seed. He applied some extra water during the height of summer to keep them going. The result was a gorgeous display of red flowers with the black eye, against the grey green foliage. He showed me where more  seed was germinating in some of the bare patches. He also had an abundance of seed pods filled with seed, a handful of which he generously  gave to me.


Anigozanthos flavidus (Tall Kangaroo Paw)

I have just planted three of these plants. They were quite tight in their pots but were making new shoots so I decided to take a chance and put them in as they were. Mine are a yellow-green  colour, but you can also get pink, orange, red, yellow or green, and sometimes mixed colours. The usual colour is the yellow -green

Two have gone onto a raised mound, and the third at ground level but with a dose of gypsum in case there is clay below the root ball. Mounds need only be 120 mm above ground level to achieve the drainage required.

This is the hardiest of the kangaroo paws and is used in breeding the new hybrids that are in many nurseries these days. I must say that I like the species plants even though I admire the new colours.

The strappy leaves on this plant can grow up to a metre tall and the clump to a metre across. However the flower spikes can grow to two metres . The seed I was given came from plants that had these very tall spikes and many flowers on the stalk.

It grows best in moist, light to medium soils, in partial to full sun, but will tolerate dappled shade. It can be damaged by frost.

Black ink disease is a problem in misty areas or locations where there is not enough air movement. Slugs and snails will cause a lot of damage.

Propagating Kurrajong and Grevillea

I had a pile of cutting material, mainly some pieces of Grevillea which I dealt with today. It is a bit cold now, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I managed half a tray full of nice looking cuttings and went out to see what material was on Grevillea ‘Winpara Gem’ to fill up the space.

I walked past a small plant that I have had for years but had not had the heart to dig out. It has always been in the wrong spot so was mown, slashed and whipper snipped many times. It has 4 stems now. I realized a few weeks ago that it was a Kurrajong after I had read the article that prompted the post on Kurrajong.

The amazing thing about this plant is that it has always been a good dark green, and does not get water artificially and has survived many heavy frosts over the years. I have decided, belatedly, that it deserves some TLC so that I can get some more height in the plant. It will be a shrub shape rather than a tree now. I doubt that cutting 3 of the 4 branches out will help as it seems to induce more branching from the base of the plant. Anyway, to fill up the tray I cut one of the branches that was growing across the plant. I was able to take 6 nice pieces of tip growth as cuttings to see what will happen. I will put in some seed later also.

This plant is no longer in the wrong spot!

Australian Native Shrubs for Dry and Alkaline Areas

I will write these lists and gradually add to them and add further information. Around our own yard we have these medium to tall shrubs growing. They tend to be in windbreaks. It is always better to have multiple heights in plants in windbreaks, tall trees, medium trees and tall shrubs, and a few smallershrubs to create layers. There are less wind tunnels if this is done.

  • Acacia iteaphylla (Flinders Range Wattle)
  • Acacia aneura (Mulga)
  • Hakea laurina (Pincushion Hakea)
  • Hakea multilineata
  • Melaleuca lanceolata
  • Melaleuca uncinata
  • Callitris priessii sub species canescens (Native Pine)
  • Grevillea pinaster in its tall forms. The Honeyeaters love this as well as the Hakeas.
  • Melaleuca nesophylla
  • Melaleuca huegelii (Chenille Honey Myrtle)
  • Melaleuca armillaris
  • Grevillea olivacea

I am visualising what I remember growing around the town and in other towns with similar conditions. These lists will go on forever as I remember species.

Kunzea pomifera (Muntries)

This is a most useful plant which is native to South Australia and Victoria. It forms a dense, weed suppressing ground cover. From spring it has white fluffy looking flowers followed by edible berries which have a refreshing apple- like flavour.

It is a hardy plant which grows well in a variety of soils especially on alkaline soils. It also does well in exposed coastal positions and inland. It withstands dry periods and very high temperatures. Muntries responds well to pruning. A friend here takes a spade to the edges to confine the plant to the designated area.

The fruit was always a favourite with Aboriginal folk. Early settlers used the berries in pies. They also make a nice jelly along the lines of apple jelly. Recipes for apple jelly can be found in older cook books like the CWA Cookbook.

I remember a tale of woe from a friend who had been given a two litre container full of Muntries. She planned to make something nice from them after work. By the time she got home, the children had been home and found them. She was a very cross lady when I was told the story.