Now that summer’s almost here and my house is starting to cook during the day, I wanted a climbing plant to grow up the side of my house because the shade-giving African acacia is no more (although the stump keeps growing shoots and I keep lopping them off). My neighbours offered me a piece of wooden lattice that they no longer wanted. I’d just bought a piece (evil me) but there’s always room for more. Now I needed two locally native climbing plants to grow up the lattice. I already have Hardenbergia comptoniana starting to grow up my side fence (although it’s still very small) so I needed other ideas.
Ben from Nuts about Natives suggested some candidates:
- Australian Bluebell (Billardiera heterophylla)
- Coral Vine (Kennedia coccinea)
- Black Kennedia (Kennedia nigricans)
I decided on Black Kennedia, with its stunning black and yellow flowers. Ben doesn’t propagate it, but said Lullfitz Nursery in Waneroo would have it.
Unfortunately Lullfitz is no longer propagating Black Kennedia, but that didn’t stop me from stocking up on plants. I got the other two climbers Ben suggested and more besides. Lullfitz is a wholesaler, so their plants are cheap, but then they put old plants on special. Some of the plants I got were only $1 and $2. The Thick leaved Fan-flower was $1, to replace the one I caused to be decapitated – no dropping logs on this one! I planted it that day and now it’s covered in flowers. Stressed plants flower in an effort to reproduce one last time before death, but this scaevola should come good in my nice sandy garden. (They grow on the sand dunes of Perth’s beaches, so I won’t need to improve the sandy soil.)
I now have all these native plants (many of them are endemic to the area where I live):
- Red Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos rufus)
- Woollybush (Adenanthos sericeus)
- Climbing Australian Bluebell (Billardiera heterophylla)
- Scented Boronia (Boronia megastigma)
- Grey Cottonhead (Conostylis candicans )
- Flax Lily (Dianella revoluta)
- Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala)
- Mardja (Haemodorum spicatum)
- Snail Hakea (Hakea cristata)
- Native Wisteria (Hardenbergia comptoniana)
- Snakebush (Hemiandra pungens)
- Swan River Myrtle (Hypocalymma robustum)
- Granny Bonnets (Isotropis cuneifolia)
- Climbing Coral Vine (Kennedia coccinea)
- Red Bottlebrush (Kunzea baxteri)
- Cushion Bush (Leucophyta brownii)
- Purple Flag (Patersonia occidentalis)
- Pink pimelea which has just flowered for the first time. I don’t know the species, but it may be Pimelea ferruginea
- Thick leaved Fan-flower (Scaevola crassifolia)
- Blue Lace flower (Trachymene coerulea)
- Westringia dampieri I first saw this in the picnic area of John Forrest National Park and I thought it was Rosemary, despite its lack of smell. After acquiring my own, I saw it in Albany and knew it was growing naturally.
With all these plants I needed to clear some space for them. I’m going to rip out more lawn next to the current garden bed for more native plants. Soon there will be hardly any lawn to mow! I’m going to put in a pond as well and fence it off from bored dogs, see below.
First I ripped out more agapanthus and ferns. The multitude of roots makes for wearying work. The garden bed looks so different after almost four years of ferny green. The new plants will grow soon and return a better green for the cats to hide in and birds, reptiles and insects to enjoy (when the cats are asleep*). Already the insects love the new flowers full of nectar and leaves among which to hide from becoming dinner or hunt those hiding.
Despite hoping Sheeba the dog had better not dig in the new bed – she’s enjoyed that spot in the past – she’s still enjoying it.
I couldn’t believe what she’d done the day I came home and found two holes, with two plants uprooted and buried in the mounds beside them. The surrounding plants were carefully untouched, not even trodden on. She chose her targets and knew exactly what punishment to enact in retribution for her alpha leaving the pack alone all day long. I replanted both plants, but the calytrix, my favourite flower, is now dead. I planted it before winter and its roots were badly disturbed by Sheeba’s horticultural efforts. The Kennedia coccinea is still alive because it had only just been planted and the roots had not grown into the surrounding soil.
After the decrease in the bird life visiting my garden when the acacia was felled, the birds are starting to return. Doves forage in the grass and singing honeyeaters and wattle birds enjoy the Queensland Box tree (Lophostemon confertus) on the verge. A grey butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) has started visiting my garden. I’d never seen one until recently and I like to think I’m seeing the same bird every time. If I’m right, he seems to like my garden.
*I’m very happy that the cats, specifically Wicca the White Hunter, have stopped killing birds. With all his bells Wicca finds mice a better option. That’s fine with me. The other night I came home later than usual and only Ayesha and Kyah appeared for dinner. As they were finishing, Wicca jumped over the fence with take-out in his mouth – a still struggling mouse – quickly imbibed before Kyah could grab any.