Real World Gardener Pillar of Smoke in Plant of the Week

April 26th, 2021

Plant of the week

Common Name: Stout Bamboo Grass; Pillar of Smoke (known in the US)

Scientific Name: Austrostipa ramosissima

Family:Poaceae

Leaves: an attractive tall tufted perennial grass with a short rhizome but differs because of its culms (stems) with whorled branches. The stems are bamboo-like.

Flowers: -spring to summer with creamy-white, spreading panicle that is 8 to 50 cm long with striking long, bent awns on the seeds. Feathery feel to the flowers.

Height: 1-2.5m tall forming a sizeable clump over time.

Distribution: from south eastern Queensland to far south eastern New South Wales, with isolated spots in north eastern Queensland and central New South Wales

Interesting fact: used in landcare revegetation projects to attract seed eating birds and control erosion. Is an important habitat for butterflies and small birds, and a plentiful food source for wombats.

Hardiness: drought and frost resistant.

Growing from seed: Fresh seed will germinate in a couple of weeks if using smoke treatment such as wildflower seed starter. Can also be propagated by division.

Uses: bird and insect attracting garden, native garden; bushland garden; hedging for a few years, but will need replacing by pulling out the parent plants and letting new seedlings that have self-sown,

Maintenance: Mature plants can be cut back hard to just aboveground level in late winter to reinvigorate and encourage new growth. It is a relatively low maintenance species but some selective weeding may be necessary as there is potential for seedlings to spread throughout the garden.

I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley, native plant expert and horticulturist.

 

 

 

 

Real World Gardener Blue Flax Lily in Plant of the Week

April 26th, 2021

Plant of the week
Common Name: Blue Flax lillies

Dianella%2Bberries.jpg

Scientific Name: Dianella revoluta; D. caerulea

Family: Asphodelaceae
Leaves: tufted clump forming perennial growing from a rhizome; with dull or bright bluish to green linear leaves 40cm  to 1.5m in length. 
Flowers: -spring to summer with with deep blue to purple racemes. The flowers stalks are held tall above the foliage and often have branching.
Fruits: blue to bright purple berries that stay on the plants for many months.
Height: many cultivars are now available from dwarf to 1.7m including the flower spike.
Distribution: All over Australia
Interesting fact: Indigenous people ate the berries during the summer months. The strappy leaves were also woven into bags and nets. The leaf when folded was also used as a snake whistle..
Hardiness: drought and frost resistant.
Growing from seed: Fresh seed will germinate in a couple of weeks. Can also be propagated by division.
Uses: rockeries; bird attracting garden, native garden; bushland garden;
Which Dianella for your garden?
  • Dianella 'Little Jess."dwarf  40cm high x 40cm wide.
  • Dianella 'Breeze" 40% larger than little Jess. 60 – 70cm high x 60 – 70cm wide
  • Cassa Blue: blue leaves;  50cm high x 40cm wide.
  • Dianella 'Tas Red' -will often get a red base in cold climates, or even change from green to green with reddish tinges at times. It has a dense tidy appearance with beautiful wide leaves and large purple berries in spring and summer,45cm high x 40-50cm wide

I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley, native plant expert and horticulturist.

 
 

Real World Gardener Lomandra or Matt Rush in Plant of the Week

April 26th, 2021

Nr 2 Plant of the Week

Common Name: Matt rush

Scientific Name: Lomandra hystrix: L. longifolia

Family: Xanthorrhoeacea

Leaves: tufted grass-like perennial with dull or bright green leaves 40cm  to 1m in length. Leaf blades have very sharp edges. 

Flowers: -in summer with panicles or clusters of straw coloured bracts. L. longifolia flowers are scented.

Height: many cultivars are now available but the species usually are 1.5m tall by 1.5m wide.

Distribution: All over Australia

Interesting fact: The white starchy bases were chewed by Aboriginal people especially if they needed an energy boost on long walks. The seed was pounded and made into flour or eaten whole and mixed with native honey. The strappy leaves were used to weave baskets for carrying food as well as making eel traps and nets.

  • Grows from an underground rhizome, so if the plant dies off, it can resprout.

Hardiness: drought and frost resistant, tolerant of extremes in temperature.

Growing from seed: Fresh seed will germinate in a couple of weeks. Can also lie dormant for up to 12 months before germinating.

Situation: Full sun or part shade in any type of soil.

Which Lomandra is best for your garden?

  • Little Con:Petite, compact, resilient, our shortest lomandra at up to 30cm, and a perfect no-mow groundcover.
  • Evergreen Baby:Slightly bigger than Little Con, compact to 45 cm. Hardy, ideal for rockeries and suited to almost all soil types. Very popular. 
  • Verday:Compact to 50cm. Tough as old boots, hardy, long-lived once established. Frost tolerant and puts up with almost any location or condition. 
  • Little Pal:Very fine slender leaves and a better performance in shady spots make this 50cm lomandra a fine addition to garden borders. 
  • Little Cricket: Long broad leaves reach to 50cm then cascade in an a generous fountain of foliage, like a mini Lomandra hystrix. 
  • Nyalla:Medium height to 80cm. Graceful, slender blue-green, cascading leaves. Good in dry spots, in full sun or shade. Frost tolerant, and robust in salt-laden winds and coastal locations.

I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley, native plant expert and horticulturist.

Real World Gardener Kangaroo Grass in Plant of the Week

April 26th, 2021

Common Name: Kangaroo Grass
Scientific Name: Themeda australis/Themeda triandra
Family: Poaceae
Leaves: tufted native perennial grass with greeny blue leaves to 50cm.
Flowers: -from December to April. Flowers are typical grassy flowers with large red-brown spikelets, which occur on branched stems. 

Themeda%2Btriandra.jpg
Height: 1.5m tall by 0.5m wide.
Distribution: All over Australia
Interesting fact:  Indigenous Australians harvested it to make bread and string for fishing nets around 30,000 years ago.
Not a lawn substitute.
Hardiness: drought resistant, tolerant of extremes in temperature.
Growing from seed: 
Source your seed from a local area so the resultant plant is well adapted to your growing conditions.
Can be dormant up to 12 months.  
Kangaroo Grass does not transplant well but success if you're trying to germinate the seeds yourself, try using square tube stock pots which air prune the roots and stop the seedlings becoming root bound. 
When planted out, water crystals and slow release fertiliser should be placed in the hole with the seedling, it should then be watered in well.
Situation: Full sun or part shade in any type of soil.
I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley, native plant expert and horticulturist.

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