GAR­DEN HINTS

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

THRYP­TOMENE is an all-Aus­tralian genus of the Myr­taceae fam­ily. There are about 35 dif­fer­ent species. Some are so newly dis­cov­ered that they are yet to be named. Many orig­i­nate from the heath­lands of South-West West­ern Aus­tralia. All are shrubs of vary­ing heights and habits. They flower pro­fusely with pink or white starry blooms sym­met­ri­cally massed be­tween neat, heath-like leaves. Some species flower sev­eral times a year, but the most pro­lific burst of flow­ers is in spring­time. Beloved of florists world-wide, T. ca­lycina [Grampians Thryp­tomene] is one of Aus­tralia’s most suc­cess­ful com­mer­cially-grown species for ex­port and for the lo­cal cut-flower in­dus­try. An­other pop­u­lar Thryp­tomene is T. saxi­cola from West­ern Aus­tralia. This is an open, semi-weep­ing shrub, ap­prox­i­mately 1 ½m. X 1 ½ m. Flower colour may be ei­ther pink or white. A pink-flow­ered va­ri­ety, T. saxi­cola [F.C. Payne], has been avail­able from nurs­eries for many years. T. saxi­cola ”Su­per­nova”, is a cul­ti­var bear­ing masses of white flow­ers sev­eral times a year. T. er­i­caea [Mat Heath Myr­tle] orig­i­nates from Kan­ga­roo Is­land in South Aus­tralia. It is a slen­der shrub, grow­ing to ap­prox. 0.5 to 1 m. Masses of tiny white buds open to re­veal starry white flow­ers with a red cen­tre. T. er­i­caea [Cen­te­nary Star­burst] was cho­sen as the SA flo­ral em­blem for the Cen­te­nary of Fed­er­a­tion in 2001. All thryp­tomenes re­quire a rel­a­tively well-drained soil in full sun or dap­pled shade. They are frost, drought and lime tol­er­ant, and gen­er­ally dis­ease-free. There may be an oc­ca­sional web­bing cater­pil­lar in­fes­ta­tion, which can be con­trolled with der­ris dust. All can be prop­a­gated from cut­tings. This en­sures main­tain­ing the de­sired char­ac­ter­is­tics of the par­ent plant. And fur­ther­more, thryp­tomene species re­spond well to prun­ing, pro­vided that cuts are made on leaf-bear­ing stems. Cut­ting flow­ers for in­door display is a great way to man­age this an­nual task.

◆ HARDY AND BEAU­TI­FUL: Thryp­tomene ca­lycina [Grampians Thryp­tomene].

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