Category: Brian Roach

Perfect Plants for Shade

Brian Roach One of the great challenges for suburban gardening is finding plants that are happy in the shade. Many local gardens are in the shadows of our majestic gums, creating problems not only because of reduced sunlight but also with the root systems of large trees robbing the soil of moisture. Contrary to popular belief, there are many native plants that do well in shady spots, ranging from groundcovers to large shrubs and trees. A particularly good groundcover for these conditions is the prostrate form of Goodenia ovata. This plant is endemic to our local, coastal region and...

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Great Bush Tucker

Brian Roach It’s a wonderful thing that over the past decade or so, those of us from non-Indigenous backgrounds have become increasingly aware of the enormous wealth of knowledge possessed by the traditional guardians of our paradise on the planet. Recent catastrophic events have forced a rethink on how we manage the land in various respects, and this has obviously involved an increasing input by the First Nations People. There’s a wealth of great bush tucker but one of my favourites is a wonderful, low-growing plant that produces scrumptious berries around January/February. Its common name has a few variations,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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