On my local golf course a year or so ago I noticed a three metre high tree with bright yellow flowers that, after some weeks, were followed by attractively marked fruit. I broke a small piece off and asked a few knowledgeable locals what it was but no one knew. Finally I took the piece [...]

Native gardens & fire

A friend of mine told me that he recently cut out all of his native plants to reduce fire risks. He owns a country property in an area with high biodiversity value. His house and property were threatened by the bad bush-fires we had in Victoria recently. The same sentiments are expressed in this Canberra [...]

Australian National Botanical Gardens

Damien Eldridge sent me this link to the parlous state of Canberra’s Australian National Botanical Gardens. Jobs are being cut – 30% have disappeared over the past 20 years – and solvency is threatened by mounting water bills ($600,000 annually) and increased electricity charges. The claim is that the gardens are being poorly maintained.

These [...]

Australian native plants: Flannel flowers

Where I grew up in a less-than-distinguished part of Sydney’s north shore our house was built on rocky outcrops close to bushland. I remember my father being keen on retaining whatever native plants existed on what was really an otherwise desolate block – one thing he retained for years was a self-seeding clump of flannel [...]

Gardening with native Australian plants

I posted earlier than I’ve been having fun growing Australian native plants from seed. I grew some Kangaroo paws – they are dead easy. I then had a shot at some Blackboys (Xanthorrhoea). I planted 32 seeds and now have 20 seedlings about 8 cm high. These extraordinary plants are incredibly slow growing – [...]

In the wake of Australia Day

I had a quiet Saturday making yet another attempt to grow Kangaroo Paws from seed. A few years ago I did the whole thing carefully – first soaking the pots in bleach and cooking the seeding mix for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C to kill bugs – and had brilliant success with dozens of [...]