WHEN wattles begin to bloom around late August, we know that spring is just around the corner.
Trees and shrubs dripping with masses of bright, beautiful golden rods or balls are a joy.
In 1988 the Golden Wattle ( Acacia pycnantha) was officially named Australia’s national floral emblem.
It bursts into bloom around the end of August.
September 1 has been proclaimed “Wattle Day” in all Australian States.
There are many wattles that are great garden subjects, and which flower in other seasons of the year. After a long, hot dry summer, their golden flowers can brighten up a corner of the garden on a cold, grey, autumn day.
There are many choices - there are approximately 960 species of Australian wattles.
About one- third of all Australia’s wattles flower in winter.
Some wattles can flower at any time when conditions for flowering and seed production are optimal. These opportunists have adapted over millennia to Australia’s less- than- predictable climate.
They are indigenous to dryland areas where annual rainfall is varied and irregular.
A particular favorite of mine is Acacia jibberdingensis ( Willow- leafed Wattle), which flowers profusely about six weeks after a good soaking rain.
Its lovely golden rods are well- displayed amongst fine, willowy foliage.
It can flower for up to two months and several times a year.
It is frost hardy to minus 7° C.
It is long- lived, and responds well to hard pruning.
It makes a lovely spreading small tree up to 3 metres high x 4 metres spread.
A note on allergies: Wattles are not a major cause of wind- borne spring allergies.
The culprits are flowering grasses, with annual ryegrass the most common.
Wattle pollen is heavy, and just falls to the ground.
The main pollinators of wattles are insects, which crawl around on the flowers.
Grasses on the other hand, rely on wind to spread their pollen.
You can check out the science at: www.abc.net.au/news/health/2015-09-23/dont-blame-the-Wat-tle/6791396.
BRIGHT BLOOM: Acacia Jibberdingengis.