I went out to Kuranga Native Nursery today at Mount Evelyn – about 40 km north-east of Melbourne. It is a scenic area not far from the Dandenong Ranges. Kuranga has a superb range of native plants, as well as friendly and helpful staff and a restaurant where you can have a decent glass of pinot. I am not an intelligent native plant shopper – I admit my irrationalities – I go for novel and extreme rather than sensible plants that have a reasonable chance of survival. Kuranga has induced me (the bastards!) into half a dozen attempts to try to grow Banksia coccinea. This in my view is one of the best native cut flowers in Australia – long-lasting and gorgeous coloring – see the photo above. The plants I have bought last for 6-12 months and then, almost overnight, turned up their heels. I welcome advice.
Today I bought some cycads, a compact form of the Flannel flower (a tricky wretch that likes to be kept moist but suffers from fungal problems), one of two native Australian rhododendrons (a vireya species R. lochiae) which tends to become ‘leggy’ (OK dummy, prune it) but which has great flowers – I have never seen an actual specimen of the other Australian vireya, R. notiale. Finally, I got some ferns Kuranga were selling cheap and a Davidson’s (bush-tucker plum) – my previous effort died during the Melbourne winter – I will give it more protection this winter.
I recommend Kuranga if you are in Melbourne and I am not being paid to advertise.