Articles & Advice

14 Aug 2012

Wizards of Oz

Australian plants are like the ultimate self-sacrificing mother: They give and give but ask little in return.  Their fantastical forms, however - including sculptural, hairy, or waxy blooms in neon colours - are anything but matronly. Also, their foliage can introduce great texture to a garden from serated and wispy to fernlike and from subtle and shimmering to graphically bold.

Grevillea, Hardenbergia, Anigozanthos, Banksia, Boronia, Hakea and Prostanthera are just a few of the native plants that grow well around Melbourne.  They have a star quality that really makes them candidates for use as feature plants.  Make them count; be sure not to crowd them.

Australian natives are generally not fussy.  Many are drought-and pest-tolerant (once established), and most develop efficient nutrient-grabbing root clusters that sit just below the surface of the soil, requiring little fertiliser beyond a good mulching and the nutrition they convert from their own fallen leaves.  If you must add something, a slow release fertiliser that's low in phosphorus is ideal.

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