Tag: Australian Native Plants

Coastal Gardens

Living near the ocean is something most Australians dream about, with around 85% of us living within 50km of the coast. The obvious charms that draw people there are great, but what about for the humble gardener? Coastal areas are notoriously tough places to successfully grow a backyard garden. The strong salty winds and poor quality sandy soils can make even the simplest gardening tasks a nightmare.

But don’t throw away your coastal garden paradise dreams just yet! Here are our top tips for coastal gardening. Read more

6 reasons Australian gardeners choose Sir Walter Turf

Note from Jim: in keeping with our recent in depth look into grass types and lawn care tips, today we’ve got Active Turf on to talk through the benefits and details of the Sir Walter Soft turf variety. If you are planning a turf installation, be sure to look back through recent AGT posts as there is a wealth of information on selecting, caring for and installing your lawn that has been shared recently.

If you’re an avid gardener or just someone who wants to improve the look of their lawn, you need to know which type of grass is the most suitable. Different varieties suit different locations, but there is one turf you can rely on almost anywhere in Australia.

Sir Walter Soft Leaf is a resilient and attractive lawn from the Buffalo turf variety that makes a distinct impression for its superior colour and hard-wearing qualities.

Active Turf provides six reasons why Australian gardeners prefer to use Sir Walter Buffalo Turf over other types of grass.

Read more

Plant of the Month – Acacia sclerophylla

Is it really week 3 of February already? This month my feature plant is the Australian Native called Acacia. Last week I featured Acacia acinacea, this week I’m featuring Acacia sclerophylla.

Genus: Acacia
Species: sclerophylla
Common Names: Hard Leaf Wattle
Flower Colour: Yellow
Foliage Colour: Green
Growth Habit: Shrub to 2m
Flowering: Spring

Acacia sclerophylla is not a plant that I am very familiar with however this picture alone makes me want to find a place to grow it! I absolutely love Australian natives that are covered in flowers during their flowering season and that is definitely a trait of the sclerophylla.

This variety is apparently one of the most hardy Acacia varieties, supporting most soil types. It reportedly thrives in both full sun positions or positions that experience part shade and is tolerant of frosts to around about -7 degrees celcius. This makes for one very sustainable and hardy plant!

Though it is not a ground cover, due to its height, it does spread quite wide, sometimes to as much as 3m which makes it a good ‘fill’ variety, to be used to cover big spaces that you don’t want to see. It sends out lots of stems as it grows, making it quite a bushy variety. This coupled with its flower nature leads it to be one of the most decorative Acacia varieties that you can get.

Plant of the Month – Boronia Telopea

Last week I featured the Boronia fraseri, this week I am featuring the Boronia telopea.

Genus: Boronia
Species: telopea
Common Name: Telopea Valley Star
Flower Colour: Pink
Foliage Colour: Green
Growth Habit: Shrub to 1m
Flowering: Mostly Spring but may flower any season

There is not an awful lot of information available on the Boronia telopea species however I will provide you with what I can. I wanted to feature this variety, even though it is similar to the fraseri, because I really like the simple contrast between the light pink flowers and the bright, light green leaves. It is no surprise that it looks similar to Boronia fraseri because the telopea is a hybrid of Boronia fraseri and Boronia mollis.

Being a hybrid, there is no specific naturally occuring location, however the telopea has been proven to grow well on in cool to temperate climates on the East Coast of Australia. Testing in tropical area’s has been limited. This variety is generally quite hardy, able to survive mild frost and mild drought conditions. The Boronia telopea also responds really well to regular pruning and shaping. In this variety, as in many, regular pruning really does encourage it to grow more densely.

I couldn’t what sort of garden position would be best for the telopea, however I would plant it in a position that is at least part shade as most Boronia’s I have grown have required some shade to really thrive.

Thanks to Ian Grieve for the following information.
Telopea Valley Star was discovered and named by my parents John & Mary Grieve at their property ‘Telopea Valley’ Kulnura NSW in the early 1980’s where the plant was growing naturally.  They discovered and named several other plants, all bearing ‘Telopea Valley’ in the name.

Plant of the Month – Boronia fraseri

Last week I featured the Boronia pinnata, this week I am featuring the Boronia fraseri.

Boronia fraseri, Glenbrook Native Plant Reserve Photo: Cas Liber, Sept 2004

Genus: Boronia
Species: fraseri
Common Name: Fraser’s Boronia
Flower Colour: Pink
Foliage Colour: Green
Growth Habit: Shrub to 2m
Flowering: Spring

This is a slightly more obscure variety of the Boronia family. It grows and looks much like many other species, but generally doesn’t succeed as well as a garden plant, making it less desirable for most native growers. Because of this there is actually very little information available about how to grow it. However, I don’t just want to advocate easy plants to grow, I want to provide my readers with some challenging plants. If you like a medium challenge, I believe the fraseri will be a good one for you.

For best results with the fraseri, plant it in a good loam soil which is well draining. The Boronia fraseri definitely prefers a part shade location and grows best in temperate to cool climates, reportedly being able to handle mild frost conditions.

Why not give it a go and let me know how it goes!

Plant of the Month – Boronia pinnata

Last week I featured the Boronia megastigma, this week I am featuring the Boronia pinnata.

Photo: Westflora on Flickr

Genus: Boronia
Species: pinnata
Common Name: NA
Flower Colour: Pink (White varieties available)
Foliage Colour: Green
Growth Habit: Shrub to 1.5m
Flowering: Spring

The Boronia pinnata species is a native variety that is found very commonly in New South Wales, generally found in areas where sandstone is prevalent. It is a hardy variety that comes mostly in pink but is also available with white coloured flowers.

Like many Boronia varieties, the pinnata is best grown in slightly shaded area’s. It does like well draining soils but, at the same time, does like to remain moist (just not over the top wet). This variety grows best in a temperate climate, though some people have suggested it will handle mild cold and even mildly tropical zones. This is relatively unsubstantiated however.

The Boronia pinnata is great for use as a cut flower but is often sometimes used for the sweet, aromatic scent provided when the flowers and leaves are crushed and as such is sometimes used to make perfumes. This variety is also often grown well in a pot. Because it can be susceptible to the hot sun and/or strong winds, growing it in a pot enables you to move it around the garden if need be.

Plant of the Month – Boronia megastigma

Welcome to the Plant of the Month for Novermber! This month I’ll be featuring one of the most popular Australian Native plants there is, the Boronia. The first variety that I am going to feature is called Boronia megastigma.

Photo: Russell Dahms on Flickr

Genus: Boronia
Species: megastigma
Common Name: Brown Boronia
Flower Colour: Yellow and Brown
Foliage Colour: Green
Growth Habit: Shrub to 1m
Flowering: Spring

The Boronia megastigma is quite a unique plant in the Australian native business. The normal variety of megastigma has wonderful flowers that are a deep brown on the outside and a beautiful bright yellow on the inside. The megastigma does have a few sub-species with various difference in their flower colour. The Boronia megatisgma Harlequin has flowers with only a browny red tinge on an otherwise yellow flower, the Boronia megastigma Chandleri is red deep red on the outside and yellow on the inside and the Boronia megastigma Lutea is entirely yellow.

Boronia’s are commonly used in the cut flower trade and so are quite highly sought after. They are also very aromatic, which means they have a wonderful perfume. Another use for the megastigma is as a source for essential oils to make perfumes and other things which smell like Boronia.

The megastigma is a relatively small growing variety, growing into a bush of about 1m x 1m. Boronia’s can be a fickle plant, including the megastigma and really are only suited to temperate or cool climates, with an emphasis towards the cooler climate. Grow it in a well draining soil in a sunny to part shade location.