Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - FRONT PAGE - with HELEN

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 out­dion­a­tional/pro­grams/ock­ham­sra­zor/sprinter-and-sprum­mer/5705564

PUR­PLE REIGN: Har­den­ber­gia comp­to­ni­ana.

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