One very mild irritation of being a gardening blogger is the number of companies emailing me asking to allow them to do a 'guest posting' here at Garden Amateur. Invariably all they want to do is advertise their products and so invariably I politely refuse their kind offer. However, a plant which I haven't grown has come into our world this week, and so I thought it could feature in the kind of "guest spot" posting that I can approve of, as it's still written by me!
Pam's responsible for all this. She wants to do a painting of a Sturt's desert pea (Swainsona formosa) and so she asked our excellent local florist, Flowers by Teresa in Illawarra Road, Marrickville, if they could find a potted one for her (wasn't cheap but they did find her a nice one). And so now we have a lovely child of the desert here in humid, rainy, coastal Sydney.
|This is the big attraction of the Sturt's Desert|
Pea, its large pea flowers.
|So, how to look after this desert-loving plant? |
Well, the fact sheet at Burke's Backyard says
lots of potted desert peas sold are grafted onto
a tougher rootstock (New Zealand glory pea).
The purpose of this grafting is to avoid the root rot
and fungal problems which can plague this dry-country
plant when it is taken to the humid coast to live.
But that doesn't mean it likes rain or anything like
that of course. It still likes it dry, but as our
East Coast air is inherently humid and soggy
that's the main threat to this lovely thing.
And slow-release native plant food is the go,
but plastic pots are not (they're too 'sweaty'), so
at some stage a porous terracotta pot should
become its preferred, free-breathing home.
|It's a low, sprawler of a plant that probably|
loves nothing better than growing from the top
of a mound of dusty, dry inland soil and spilling
down its sloping sides.
|The flowers are long (75mm, about three|
inches) and quite delicate, especially when you
take a peek behind the scenes, like this.
|Before they open the flower buds have a certain beaky elegance.|
|And the small, oval leaves are lightly hairy all over.|
So far so good, we've had it here three days and it's looking just a little bit lovelier than when it arrived. I presume that's due to the dry sunshine, being placed near the fellow 'we like dryness' folk who populate Succulent City, and having Pam's serene willpower urging it along. I like it, it's really unusual and beautiful, and even though I haven't grown it and it's really a 'guest plant' here at Amateurland, it's already feeling like one of the family.