Sunday, 24 August 2014

Blaugust 24, 2014 - More Plants

Every time I talk about plants I regret that I haven't taken a photo to show you what I'm talking about. But I shall proceed anyway.

Goodenia amplexans is one of those plants some people will swear blind smells like cat's piss, but I disagree. The scent is tangy, sure, but nice to have in the mix. The leaves are hairy and light green, and it has small yellow flowers favoured by native bee species. It has a bit of an odd growth habit. If you prune it as you would other shrubs, it gets quite ruined. Any stems you take a little bit off are going to shoot lots of smaller, less structural foliage, that will grow against the existing pattern of the plant and make it look horrible forever. Instead you have to take the stems that are closest to the ground right back to the base of the plant, essentially reducing the skirt under the rest of the plant. It can grow around 1m by 1.5m usually, though I chose to put one in quite a small 8" terracotta pot today. I'm hoping to grow it to about a 40cm hemisphere with no pruning. If I screw it up somehow or it doesn't like the conditions, it is extremely easy to take cuttings.

Solanum laciniatum, the Kangaroo Apple, is fairly widespread in the Adelaide Hills. Though frequently found growing in partially shaded riparian areas with great success, I have been surprised on a number of occasions to find it thriving self-seeded in poor soils out in the open. It has brilliant purple flowers and big dark leaves, and I think is best used in dappled shade as a contributor to a 'cool' area to sit in during warmer weather. Today I put one in on the South side of the garden, on the retaining wall above the outdoor seating area. I'll have to prune back the neighbour's Bougainvillea for it to thrive, but I think it will be well and truly worth it.

About two months ago I saw an Eremophila with a wonderful little pink flower during one of my occasional shifts at Murray Bridge, called Eremophila 'Piccaninny Dawn'. I bought a specimen, and today while going through my collection of unused tubestock I found it again, soil dry as a bone in the tube but the plant thriving and covered in flowers. This particular cultivar can grow a couple of metres tall, so I have nowhere satisfying to put it in the garden (I only plant things I won't miss overly if I have to leave them behind) and no spare terracotta pots big enough, so I potted it on into a rocket pot so as to be able to grow it on for a year or two happily, and be able to plant it out with success if I have somewhere new to call home.

I might have talked about it before, but I potted on a Grevillea lavandulacea today. A tiny prickly Grevillea, beloved of birds and one of the very few that occurs locally. The local form tends to grow to only 40cm much of the time, so I figure it is ideal for a small pot. I have previously scattered a few through the front garden bed when I planted it out, and though tiny still, the flowers are working their magic.

Disphyma crassifolium ssp. clavellatum is a local trailing succulent, one of the plants commonly known as Pigface. Today I planted three tubes in a single large hanging basked, in a triangle pattern. I'm confident that with three of them in there they will grow and fill it out at a reasonable pace. It helps that they can put down new roots as they go, making it an important plant for dune stabilisation.

My final bit of pottering today was moving my birdbath. I had it out the back with my plant stockpile, but I have shifted it in amongst the various terracotta pots I now have lining the verandah. Between it and the plants I chose to pot up it should keep all of the little birds quite happy.

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