Gardening Magazine

The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly Natives

By Gardenamateur

Every day this month I am looking back on the 10 years since I started this blog in June, 2008. Part 9 is this one — Friendly Natives — from April 2009. It's mostly a look at our front garden, part of Garden Amateur land that this blog rarely visits.

After enjoying the challenge of the desert island plants a month or two ago, I've found a new blogger's photo challenge involving native plants in our gardens. I came across the challenge at several other blogs, in my case Phillip Oliver's Dirt Therapy blog and Grace Peterson's blog although I believe the people responsible for starting the whole thing can be found at Gardening Gone Wild

It's a simple thing: just send them a photo of a plant native to your area, growing in your garden. Pictured below is the one I sent, but I'm a bit of a rule-bender (as I was with the desert island plants 'rules' too). So here's my photo of three of the Australian natives growing in my Australian garden, and below that several more detail shots for good measure. 
The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly nativesHere they are: in the left foreground, my gum tree, Eucalyptus leucoxylon 'Rosea'. Spilling over the fence in the middle ground is a just barely prostrate form of the Cootamundra wattle, Acacia baileyana, and in the background is a native without a common name, Correa alba. They're all worth a closer look, so I thought I'd post a couple of close-ups as well.
The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly nativesThe Acacia baileyana in the foreground has wonderful blue-grey foliage. It's meant to be a prostrate groundcover but in its tightly confined space it rears up about a meter off the ground in places. The silver-leafed correa behind is due for yet another trim. I keep it clipped into a dome shape most of the time, but as it's flowering now I'll wait until that's over before its next trim.
The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly nativesAs well as being a lovely color the foliage of the Cootamundra wattle is delicately ferny. While it is producing some tiny flower buds now, it won't unleash its pretty little yellow pompom blooms until later, around June or July.
The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly nativesThe flowers of the Correa alba are modest at best and not the reason I grow this plant. Well, to tell the truth, the reason I grow this plant is that Pam chose it, and a very, very lovely choice it has proven to be, a beautiful foliage plant. And our neighbour's tabby cat loves sleeping under it, too!
The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly nativesOur street tree, the Eucalyptus, has just started blooming this week. It's late this year, as it usually starts in early April. It will stay covered in blooms till September at least, and all sorts of native nectar-eating birds will be squabbling for territory in its branches for all that time, notably the wattlebirds, the New Holland honeyeaters and the rainbow lorikeets.
The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly nativesThe gum tree's flower buds are full of color now and very decorative in their own right.

The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly nativesThis photo shows nicely how the flower buds open. The little conical cap on the underside of the bud loosens under the pressure within the bud, then pops off suddenly, allowing the pink tutu of blooms to pirouette across the stage. Traa daaaa! 
The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly nativesBut to finish this little photo blog I thought I'd toss in a bonus garden native photo. Pictured above is my fully-recovered Grevillea 'Superb' in my backyard, after its brush with death last December. But thanks to the application of a spray which killed off the fungal disease which was causing its woes, it's happier and more floriferous than ever. (For Australian readers, the product is Yates Anti-Rot, which is made from phosphorous acid, and it certainly was a Christmas miracle worker for this grevillea).
The 10-Year Rewind – Part 9 – Friendly nativesStop press – someone at the door! It's Greek Easter this weekend, and my lovely neighbor Katarina knocked on my door a few minutes ago, wishing Pam and me a very happy Easter, and bearing an Easter gift of traditional Greek cakes, pastries and dyed eggs. So happy Greek Easter, everyone!

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