Archive for the 'Plant species' Category

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.

Perennials and Daisies

Today has been a weed, prune and discard day. In doing so I discovered some treasures that I thought I had lost over the summer. Epacris impressa is not one that I would put in the ground here, but I love it. So it gets to live in a pot which is a hazard in itself. Beautiful Correa ‘Ivory Bells’ was just coming into flower.

I thought I had lost some of the native lillies, too. I knew that they died back in summer but I also thought that the watering may have rotted them. I tossed out a pot, only to reclaim it very quickly when I saw a small tuber with the beginning of a shoot. I rescued a whole box full, thankfully. A lot of Australian natives die down during the heat of summer to reappear when the weather cools down.

All the Xerochrysm (paper daisies) needed trimming and tidying and there were some beautiful colours amongst them. These were known previously as Helichrysm and then Bracteantha until it was discovered that the name Xerochrysm had the prior claim.

Other daisies like the Brachyscomes are flowering madly at the moment, particularly a fine leaved pink Brachyscome multifida and Brachyscome multifida ‘Amethyst’. Brachyscomes look like miniature marguerite daisies, although they a small perennials, rather than shrubs. I think I have said before that I love daisies.

Woolly Bush

We had 36mm altogether (144 points). That is a rather useful amount of rainfall and everything is looking great. It doesn’t take long for native plants to respond to this amount of rain getting to the root system.

This morning I collected cutting material from a friend’s garden. She has been on my back about it because two Correas had taken over. The Grevillea thelemanniana (Spider flower) was clambering through the nearest Correa. It is supposed to be a ground cover plant. The Adenanthos sericeus (Woolly Bush) was taking over the path to the chook shed.

I particularly like the Adenanthos. I see people at the Plant Sale doing what I do, that is stroking the foliage because of its woolly feel. It has insignificant flowers, the foliage is the feature of this bush. It grows to about 3-4m here and 2-3m wide if you let it. Tip pruning gives the bush a great shape. It is not the easiest plant to strike as the foliage doesn’t like to be too wet. It has a habit of rotting at the level of the mix. They don’t seem to mind a dry location like this one is growing in and I have also seen them in the middle of the lawn at a local school. What the landscapers would call an architechtural plant.

Have zillions of cuttings to deal with now when I have finished my cuppa. Having a cup of tea and container of plant rooting hormone on the same table can be hazardous to one’s health.

Native Hibiscus

Knowing that the temperature was going to be in the thirties today, I collected a pile of cutting material to deal with this afternoon. An inside job, where I take over the kitchen table and make a huge mess.

There was some nice material on two varieties of Alyogyne huegelii (native hibiscus), a pretty white flowered form and a ruffled purple form known as ‘West Coast Gem’. Somewhere in the nursery is a pink form also, and my neighbour has a lovely mauve form which flowers prolifically. It also overhangs our fence, which is very convenient for me.

Another native hibiscus is Alyogyne hakeifolia. The flowers do not open fully out, and have a prominent stamen inside, and often a contrasting colour. There are a number of colour forms. ‘Mellissa Ann’ is a bright purply pink, there are also cream, yellow and various mauve/blue colours.

The thing that they all have in common is their hardiness, apart from having pretty flowers. They tolerate lime, drought and neglect. They need to be pruned to keep them bushy. Cuttings are sometimes touchy as they don’t like to be too wet. Once potted on though, they grow like rockets!