GAR­DEN HINTS

WITH HE­LEN

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - with He­len van Riet, AUS­TRALIAN PLANTS SO­CI­ETY (VIC­TO­RIA)

THE ap­peal of a gar­den is greatly in­flu­enced by its de­sign – the shape of beds and paths, the height and spread of the per­ma­nent trees and shrubs that give a de­fined struc­ture, and the con­trasts and affini­ties of shrubs and of an­nu­als and ev­ery­thing else in be­tween. Many Aus­tralian plants have ex­cit­ing fo­liage. Flow­ers are a de­light­ful bonus. When plants are not in flower, they may merge into the back­ground of a gar­den yet their form, fo­liage and even seed cap­sules can pro­vide year-round in­ter­est.

There are lovely plants that are won­der­ful gar­den sub­jects, de­spite flow­ers that are hid­den among fo­liage or so small to be al­most in­vis­i­ble.

Dif­fer­ent tex­tures can achieve dra­matic ef­fects and there are many, many pos­si­bil­i­ties for the cre­ative gar­dener – tex­tured bark, dap­pled light, wa­ter.

Sun­light is a dom­i­nat­ing el­e­ment of Aus­tralian land­scapes.

Po­si­tion­ing trees with tex­tured bark to catch the slant­ing rays of golden even­ing light is mag­i­cal.

Many eu­ca­lypts turn the nar­row edges of leaves to­wards the sum­mer sun.

This re­duces the sur­face area ex­posed to di­rect sun­light.

Un­der such trees there is scope to un­der-plant with species that en­joy dap­pled shade. Reflections use sun­light- twice! Plant up­right, strappy Anigozan­thos flavidus [Kan­ga­roo paw] or spiky Lo­man­dra longi­fo­lia [Spiny-head mat-rush] to catch re­flected sparkles along­side a wa­ter fea­ture.

Full sun high­lights the sharply sym­met­ri­cal sil­very grey leaves of the Eu­ca­lyp­tus macro­carpa [Mot­tlecah]. The red-bronze tips of new growth of eu­ca­lypts and many other species such as Adenan­thos cunea­tus [jug flower or flame bush] will glow red in sun­light.

And, for form and fo­liage con­trast, hakeas are mag­nif­i­cent.

With 150 Aus­tralian species from which to choose, there are many op­tions. Hakeas bear amaz­ing seed cap­sules. Hakea lau­rina [Pin-cush­ion Hakea] is well-known. Flow­ers are fol­lowed by beaked woody seed cap­sules. A gar­den, de­signed to fea­ture lovely shapes, tex­tures and forms can be mag­nif­i­cent!

GLOW­ING: Adenan­thos cunea­tus can add some unique colour and tex­ture to your gar­den.

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