Gardening Magazine

Wattle It Be Now

By Gardenamateur

There's a couple of wattle trees outside a local school which always come into bloom a couple of weeks before ours does, and so when I saw the 'school wattle' in bloom a fortnight ago, I knew it was our turn soon. And today is the day it has started, and it'll take another week or two to be at its peak, but I can't wait until that happens. I want to talk wattles now!

Wattle it be now

Wattle blossoms are the most ethereal things close up. They
always look like they're in soft focus once you get close.

Wattle it be now

Our wattle is supposedly a 'groundcover' form of the well-
known Cootamundra wattle, Acacia baileyana. Compared
to the normal upright growing A. baileyana, which forms a
small tree 3-4m tall, our 1.5m tall spreader is a groundcover
of sorts, but a ground-hugger? No way. As soon as it strikes
a barrier, such as our front fence or the little lilly pilly hedges
on the side, it just rears up and over. I am constantly cutting
it back out on the street side, as it would eventually grow to
cover the whole pathway, then the street, if I let it grow.

Wattle it be now

Some people in our street love this plant, and
like to tell me so if I'm out in the front garden.
Others don't, and they tell me so, too. And there
is a phantom wattle-snapper who breaks off a
piece every time he or she walks past (to express
his/her displeasure, I presume) and leaves it
on the nature strip. I'd love to catch him/her in
action one day or evening! Aha – busted!

Wattle it be now

Some people say wattle blossoms give them
terrible hayfever, but that's a myth, because
wattle pollen is very large, heavy and dense
(well, for pollen it is). If wattle is in bloom
and people feel hayfeverish, they put one and
one together and come up with the very
understandable but mistaken idea that the wattle
is to blame. More often it's infinitely smaller and
finer pollen in the atmosphere from other plants
including trees and grasses, so very small
it isn't visible, that causes the sniffles and
sneezes of miserable hayfever sufferers.

Wattle it be now

Fortunately our wattle's bloom show doesn't
last long each year, and then it returns to its
11-month long gorgeous display of blue-grey
foliage, which never ceases to delight me.

It's said that there are so many wattles in this country that somewhere in Australia, on any day of the year, there is a wattle in bloom. At our place there's only one wattle growing here and it only blooms for a couple of weeks every year, but I always know it's midwinter here when the front fence is ever so briefly gilt with gold.

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