Category: Brian Roach

Christmas Bells – The Perfect Plant this Season

Brian Roach If it wasn’t for the Waratah, I’m sure our state floral emblem would be the equally iconic Christmas Bells (Blandfordia grandiflora/nobilis). There’s little wonder this plant was given its common name long ago because these delightful gems in our local bushland usually produce their stunning flowers over the festive season. The bells can vary in colour from yellow, orange or red with usually a combination of colours being the norm. But finding these gems in the bush is not an easy task. They need very specific conditions to flourish and do not compete well with other nearby...

Read More

Applause for Paws

Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos) is certainly one of the better-known native plant species within the broader gardening community. Although there are many varieties around these days, they all come from only eleven species that are endemic to Western Australia. That being said, very few of those eleven species can be successfully grown over here on the eastern side of the continent. Our wet summers with high humidity are in stark contrast to the dry summers in the west with fungal problems often besetting the WA beauties when grown over here. The tell-tale sign of trouble is ‘Ink Disease’ with black...

Read More

Fabulous Flannel Flowers

A truly iconic native plant in its area of natural distribution between Ulladulla on the South Coast of NSW and Southern Queensland is the Flannel Flower (Actinotus helianthi). Growing primarily on coastal heaths and in woodlands, it can produce a stunning, massed display with its large, star-shaped white flowers from early spring to late summer. Occasional flowers at other times of the year are not unusual. Close examination of the soft, downy petals reveals green tips.  And no, it’s not a member of the daisy family as one might expect, but rather of the carrot family. Crush and smell...

Read More

Wonderful Wattles

Just what would we do without our wonderful wattles? The drive along the M1 in late winter or early spring simply wouldn’t be the same. But sadly, even the more experienced gardeners tend to shy away from putting a wattle in the garden. There are three very questionable myths behind that reluctance. They get too big, they’re short-lived and they aggravate asthma. But there are some fantastic smaller wattles. Their life span can be greatly extended by judicious pruning and while wattles often get the blame, the inland grasses are seeding around the same time as many wattles are...

Read More

Dwarf NSW Christmas Bush

Perhaps one of the more iconic Australian native plants, at least on the Australia’s East Coast, is the NSW Christmas Bush, Ceratopetalum gummiferum. Few things are more synonymous with the festive season than sprays of the bright red foliage of this wonderful plant. Yes, it is the foliage of the plant that provides the red colour. After the white or cream flowers begin to fall away around the end of October, it’s the calyx or leaves at the base of each flower that turn a bright red. I dare say Europeans have been adorning the Christmas Day table with...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2

 Be sure to check out Sydney Observer on Instagram: