Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friendly natives

After enjoying the challenge of the desert island plants a month or two ago, I've found a new blogger's photo challenge involving native plants in our gardens. I came across the challenge at several other blogs, in my case Phillip Oliver's Dirt Therapy blog and Grace Peterson's blog although I believe the people responsible for starting the whole thing can be found at Gardening Gone Wild.

It's a simple thing: just send them a photo of a plant native to your area, growing in your garden. Pictured below is the one I sent, but I'm a bit of a rule-bender (as I was with the desert island plants 'rules' too). So here's my photo of three of the Australian natives growing in my Australian garden, and below that several more detail shots for good measure.

Here they are: in the left foreground, my gum tree, Eucalyptus leucoxylon 'Rosea'. Spilling over the fence in the middle ground is a just barely prostrate form of the Cootamundra wattle, Acacia baileyana, and in the background is a native without a common name, Correa alba. They're all worth a closer look, so I thought I'd post a couple of close-ups as well.

The Acacia baileyana in the foreground has wonderful blue-grey foliage. It's meant to be a prostrate groundcover but in its tightly confined space it rears up about a metre off the ground in places. The silver-leafed correa behind is due for yet another trim. I keep it clipped into a dome shape most of the time, but as it's flowering now I'll wait until that's over before its next trim.

As well as being a lovely colour the foliage of the Cootamundra wattle is delicately ferny. While it is producing some tiny flower buds now, it won't unleash its pretty little yellow pompom blooms until later, around June or July.

The flowers of the Correa alba are modest at best and not the reason I grow this plant. Well, to tell the truth, the reason I grow this plant is that Pam chose it, and a very, very lovely choice it has proven to be, a beautiful foliage plant. And our neighbour's tabby cat loves sleeping under it, too!

Our street tree, the Eucalyptus, has just started blooming this week. It's late this year, as it usually starts in early April. It will stay covered in blooms till September at least, and all sorts of native nectar-eating birds will be squabbling for territory in its branches for all that time, notably the wattlebirds, the New Holland honeyeaters and the rainbow lorikeets.

The gum tree's flower buds are full of colour now and very decorative in their own right.

This photo shows nicely how the flower buds open. The little conical cap on the underside of the bud loosens under the pressure within the bud, then pops off suddenly, allowing the pink tutu of blooms to pirouette across the stage. Traa daaaa!

But to finish this little photo blog I thought I'd toss in a bonus garden native photo. Pictured above is my fully-recovered Grevillea 'Superb' in my backyard, after its brush with death last December. But thanks to the application of a spray which killed off the fungal disease which was causing its woes, it's happier and more floriferous than ever. (For Australian readers, the product is Yates Anti-Rot, which is made from phosphorous acid, and it certainly was a Christmas miracle worker for this grevillea).

Stop press – someone at the door! It's Greek Easter this weekend, and my lovely neighbour Katarina knocked on my door a few minutes ago, wishing Pam and me a very happy Easter, and bearing an Easter gift of traditional Greek cakes, pastries and dyed eggs. So happy Greek Easter, everyone!


Helen/patientgardener said...

Oh this has reminded me that I meant to do the native plant post - better get checking what I have thats native. I could certainly do an Australian plant post - I have a gum, wattle and grevillia.

kasinoki said...

I think Australia is Mytaceae rich. Eucaliptus, Calistemon, Melaleuca... I envy.
I post tropical plants from Malaysia, if you want to see some.

LottaTalent said...

Beautiful garden! Amateur, indeed.....NOT!
I live in the U.S. and visited Australia back in the 80's. Beautiful scenery, plants, birds..... and men! Ha!

I'm working on my website for artwork and need to get a Blogger site running for times like this.

Meanwhile, I have some of my tabby cat (Garden Cat) art on my online store at
Thanks for a great peek into Australia.... I miss it!!

buedamau said...

your garden is looking better each time i open a new post from you! just gorgeous

Jamie said...

Hi Buedamau
I took those photos last Saturday afternoon, about half an hour before a rainstorm hit, and the light was just lovely then. The next morning, in the grey-gloomy rain it looked completely different.

Saxon Holt said...

Well the contest is done and results posted over at GGW early next week. Thanks for your entry and I am giving each photo bit of constructive criticism.
Excellent use of your native plants and all do well here in California. Very strong composition using the whole frame but for a contest the photo needs to be brighter and if it were warmer it would really sing.

Town Mouse said...

Very cool photos! I love Australian natives, as long as they're well behaved (the plants, I mean), and have a few. But they really shine when grouped like this!

Pam/Digging said...

Jamie, your comment about the Cootamundra wattle flowering in June or July has me stumped. I know that is winter for you guys, but mine already has buds too, and we're just entering the hot season. Is my wattle confused, thinking it's still in Australia and winter is coming? Or will it hang onto those buds all summer until cooler weather comes? Or maybe it was too stressed to bloom this year and will drop the buds and try again next year?

Jamie said...

Hi Pam
Cootamundra wattles are winter flowerers here (June/July) and they start budding up a few months earlier in autumn (fall). If your wattle is Acacia baileyana, then it's confused! It'll be interesting to follow its progress via your blog.
(However there's always at least some species of wattle in flower virtually every month of the year somewhere here in Australia, but in temperate Sydney they're mostly a winter and spring flowering thing.)