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.