I’ve had a recurring theme in my Green Thumb columns in recent months – HOT, DRY CONDITIONS! It just keeps coming doesn’t it and I, and most gardeners across our region, have been doing little else other than trying to keep plants, shrubs and trees alive in the nursery and garden.
I delivered a van load of plants to a new garden in Orange in recent days and seeing their garden plan has prompted me to focus this month on small, hardy but eye catching trees and shrubs that we can use to fill small spaces in the garden.
Firstly, a couple of Australian natives. The garden plan suggested a grafted, weeping Grevillea for a sunny, small garden bed near their front entrance. I sourced a standard, grafted form of Fanfare Grevillea which is actually a ground cover in its natural form, but this one was grafted onto a 1.5m stem and will be a beautiful weeping specimen tree with bird attracting red flowers in summer and autumn. Another grafted, weeping native that I have supplied to a range of gardens in the area is Acacia cognata Waterfall which has beautiful fine, bright green weeping foliage. A unique Australian native shrub that I’ve had great feedback from local gardeners about is Eremophila nivea which has fine, silver grey foliage, grows to about 1.5 high and wide and produces eyecatching purple pea like flowers that contrast beautifully with the foliage.
The new garden I referred to above has also sourced some new cultivars of crepe myrtles. Diamonds in the Dark crepe myrtles have only been available commercially for a few years and have distinctive, near black leaves. They grow to 2-3m high and come in a range of flower colours from white, to pink, red and purple. Crab apples come in a range of sizes with different foliage and flower colours. One that I regularly recommend is the Bechtel crab apple (Malus ioensis Plena) which is tough, grows to about 4-5m high and produces masses of pink buds/white flowers in spring. Finally, a small evergreen tree that is tough and has grey green small leaves that contrast nicely with surrounding trees, shrubs or lawns – an olive tree!
Millthorpe Garden Nursery