THE seasons of the year in South Eastern Australia are different from the traditional four seasons of Europe.
Tim Entwisle* argues a strong case for five seasons in South Eastern Australia.
Early spring [“Sprinter”] is when the bushland bursts into flower.
Hardenbergia violacea [False Sarsparilla or Native Lilac] naturally occurs in a variety of forms in NSW, Victoria, Qld, Tasmania and SA.
It has glossy green foliage, and bursts into a glory of cascading purple pea-flowers from August to September.
Bushland ‘wildflower’ forms have evolved by selection and breeding to produce trailing forms, suitable for covering an embankment, climbing forms for a trellis or archway, and upright bushy forms.
A dwarf form, H. violacea “Mini HaHa” makes a striking tub plant.
Flower colours range from the more common purple of the popular cultivar Hardenbergia v. “Happy Wanderer”, through lilac to lolly and pale pink and white.
H. comptoniana originates from Western Australia’s southwest.
This vigorous climber with glossy, dark green trifoliate leaves bears paler lilac flowers in September. It can be burnt back by severe frost, but recovers well.
There is also a white flowering form of H. comptoniana with a green ‘eye’.
Hardenbergias grow well in sun to part shade, and all prefer well-drained soil.
Plants may be propagated from seed or cuttings.
Cutting-grown plants will come true to form. They can also be easily grown from scarified seed.
Place the seed in a cup and pour on boiling water.
Leave to cool for 24 hours, select the seeds that have swollen, and plant in a good seed-raising mix. Keep moist, but not too wet.
Seed-grown plants may not be identical in form or flower colour to the parent plant.
Once established, Hardenbergias are drought tolerant, are long-lived and generally pest-free.
To control shape and retain vigour, prune after flowering.
*For more information on Entwisle’s book on the five seasons of South-Eastern Australia, check out www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/sprinter-and-sprummer/5705564
PURPLE REIGN: Hardenbergia comptoniana.