Usually when customers come in to my nursery and say they want a nice, evergreen, flowering “specimen” tree in their garden, they usually don’t think of Australian native trees. But there are truely some lovely flowering native trees that are suited to our region’s climate, soils and conditions.
Firstly, the gum trees or eucalypts. Many of these are too big for most gardens but there are some selected cultivars that are more compact (4 to 7 metres) and which flower beautifully in the warmer months. These include the red flowering gum (Euc. ficifolia), of which there are several cultivars including
Summer Red and Summer Beauty. The Eucalyptus leucoxylon (Red flowering yellow gum) is frost and drought hardy but in its natural form may grow too big (12m) for normal gardens. There is a compact cultivar called Euky Dwarf that only grows to 5-6 metres. Finally there is the Little Snowman, a dwarf form of snow gum (Euc. pauciflora) which has very attractive smooth white bark and white flowers.
I’ve written before about my love of Grevillias as beautiful flowering shrubs that attract birds to our gardens. The silky oak (Grevillia robusta) is an attractive, upright tree (up to 15m high) that you see in lots of old gardens and parks across our region, and which get covered in yellow/orange flowers in the warm season. They are prone to frost damage when small so protect them for their first couple of winters.
Banksias too, are much loved as flowering shrubs but there are the heath banksia (Banksia ericifolia) and the silver banksia (Banksia marginata) that grow to small trees (5 to 6m) and which are suited to our region’s climate and soils.
Finally, the wattles! Quick growing, early spring flowering and many forms! Most popular in my region are the purple leaf Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana purpurea) which grows to about 8m but can be pruned to stay more compact, the Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) which grows tall to about
15m and the gossamer wattle (Acacia floribunda) which grows to about 7m and has a weeping shape.
Millthorpe Garden Nursery