I cleaned up our mixed border, which meant I could finally move on to the fun part: new plants!
The first place I hit up was Plants of Tasmania Nursery, to scout out interesting natives. Their website has a full list of plants they carry, plus descriptions and links to photos, which I found invaluable when figuring out which plants I wanted and what would work best for each spot. Most of Hobart sits on clayey dolerite or sandstone soil, but if the soil is conditioned right, I feel like it could grow most of the things I want it to grow.
Some advice I took away:
- Planting out in summer is typically fine in southern Tasmania, since we only get 10-15 days per year over 30° C. Just keep up with watering to let them establish.
- After digging a hole for the plant, water it in well or else the surrounding soil will suck the moisture out of the plant’s existing rootball.
- If using fertiliser, only use one that’s indicated for native plants because natives are sensitive to high levels of phosphorus.
Here’s all the newbies! Most of these new plants are Australian natives; the others – hebes, cordyline – are NZ hybrids. I’m pretty sure they’ll tolerate light frosts, which is the worst we ever get in this garden. (Now that I’ve said that, I look forward to the upcoming snowfall.)
1. Leptospermum grandiflorum – autumn tea tree, ‘Bicheno part-time pink’: bushy shrub to 3m; drought and shade tolerant; large white or pale pink tea-tree flowers in autumn; endemic to the east coast of Tasmania
2. Dianella tasmanica – blue flax lily, Tasman flax lily: strap-leaf plant to 50cm high with taller flowers; shade tolerant; blue and yellow flowers spring to summer, followed by edible purple berries
3. Correa reflexa – ‘Dazzler Range’: bushy shrub to 80cm with red stems; suited to most sites; pale green tubular flowers in autumn; variant from northern Tasmania
4. Astartea ‘Winter Pink’: delicately branched shrub; 80cm x 1m; tolerates part shade; clusters of small pink flowers from autumn to winter
5. Hebe ‘Waireka’ : compact shrub with variegated foliage; 1m x 1m; tolerates drought and part shade; violet-blue flowers in summer
6. Grevillea ‘Lemon Daze’: 1-1.5m x 1m shrub; drought tolerant once established, prefers sun; spidery yellow flowers from autumn through to spring
7. Cordyline ‘Electric Pink’: bright pink-purple strap-leaf shrub; 1.2m x 1m; coloured foliage year-round. (I thought these were a little tacky, but I saw a big healthy one marked down to $10 and couldn’t not take it home!)
8. Banksia marginata – silver banksia (transplant from front yard): can vary from shrub to small tree, but typically 2m x 2m; prefers sun but tolerates part shade; large yellow cone flowers in autumn
9. Hebe ‘Beverley Hills’ (transplant from front yard): compact green shrub; 1m x 1m; tolerates part shade; violet-white flowers in summer (December, in my garden)
As for how they’re placed in the garden:
These tiny new plants don’t look very exciting right now, but I look forward to seeing them grow and add to the mixed border. Most of the existing plants in the mixed border are spring bloomers, which is why I went so heavily on summer/autumn plants.
I did plant a couple of groundcovers (running postman and warrigal greens, which I also got from the native nursery) so we’ll see if they end up taking over. Anything that can choke out ivy gets a thumbs up from me. The fence also needs some covering up as well, but shhhh, I’m still not completely finished with eradicating the ivy in our mixed border. You should have seen the amount of green waste we took to the tip this weekend, hoo boy, it never ends.
Bonus: the gum tree in our yard is starting to bloom! My zoom lens takes pretty photos, I really ought to use it more.