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Native wildflowers for your garden

Mixed border, summer 2015

Last summer, despite the progress made in the mixed border, I felt pretty bored with my garden when midsummer rolled around and nothing was blooming. Since then, I planted a bunch of native wildflowers to hopefully add some colour and knit things together. Big surprise: these unusual plants look awesome in clumps and I want more of them.

Paper daisies

Paper daisy (Xerochrysum)

Back in September, I went bananas at Plants of Tasmania Nursery and got a bunch of natives (duh). The coloured bracts feel like stiff, delicate paper and each flowerhead lasts several weeks. They also grow fast and don’t care about dry weather. That does it, I’m adding more next year.

Dianella flower
Dianella fruit | Saltbush Avenue

Dianella / flax-lily (Dianella tasmanica)

They’re happy under gum trees, they look great in clusters and I never need to water them. Easiest plants to grow, ever. I bought these dianellas as tubestock, which took about 12-18 months to fill out. The flowers appear in mid-spring, followed by bright purple berries in early summer. (Apparently the berries are edible? If you squish one, though, the juice is a sickly dark green that looks unappealing.) The flower stalks don’t hold themselves upright — you can see this one leaning against the tree trunk — but that’s a minor complaint, no biggie.

Trigger plants

Trigger-plants (Stylidium armeria – extra-tufty tetraploid version!)

Trigger-plants are found all around Australia, and the name comes from inner snap-triggers that smother insects with pollen. They’re also semi-carnivorous, trapping tiny insects in their fine sticky hairs. COOL.

I’ve seen trigger-plants in the bush around Port Arthur, and I have a feeling that this species likes coastal, rocky soils that get inundated. These might not be long-lived in my garden, but the miniature tufts are cute and the pink flower spikes looked great in November. This is their second year here, which is encouraging, but I still give them a light watering every now and again. Gardens are great if you like doubtful experiments!


Mixed border

Tussock-grasses (Poa)

They’re not flowers, but they are good filler.

Pimelea 'Magenta Mist'

Pimelea / Riceflower (Pimelea ferruginea ‘Magenta Mist’)

This was a Bunnings impulse buy, which I planted in a location with summer sun and winter shade, and you can see why it’s such a popular cultivar. Will it live or die? Not sure, I’ll get back to you next summer. I have this suspicion that it’s not as hardy as a hebe, despite the matching leaves in perfect sets of four. Prove me wrong, little guy.

The second shot is what the flowers look like as soon as they fade, from magenta to a pleasant shade of lilac. A nice afterimage of themselves.


Crowea / Waxflower (Crowea exalata ‘Festival’)

Like the pimelea, this is a baby shrub, not a herbaceous plant. Bright green foliage, hot pink starry flowers buried within it. It currently sits in the spot where I dug out that eyesore of a juniper tree. I think I’m going to move this plant to a less-exposed location over winter since it seems to dislike hot, drying weather. But once it starts budding and flowering, it does so continuously.

Creeping boobialla

Myoporum / Creeping Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium ‘Purpurea’)

I planted three of these groundcovers to sprawl out through the mulch. They’re hardy, drought-resistant and the ‘Purpurea’ form takes on a deep purple tinge over time. In warm weather, they produce small white flowers. I can’t wait to see them grow and have more of a presence in the garden. If they can survive in my local Coles carpark I’m sure they can hack it in my yard.


Cat doesn’t see the point of fussing over native wildflowers. Cat likes their shade-providing qualities, but cat feels that any time in the garden would really be better spent on cat.

Have a great New Year and we’ll see you in 2016!

4 thoughts on “Native wildflowers for your garden”

  1. Thanks Steph for the plant inspo!
    I’m not particularly a green thumb – but this post has helped me come up with idea’s on how to manage our corner block full of sand and weeds 😉 Because it slopes down to the road creating a 1.5m decline slope – I was thinking of finding white cap stone rocks (found locally) with a mixture of Native ground cover’s and plants. We live in a super windy town in WA and live on top of a hill. We’ve already had some plant casualties to this nasty wind 🙁 so it’s a bit of a trial and error at the moment.

    I love the paper daisy’s idea – these are super hardy and cheap – cos you can plant by seed. Need to plant some of these 🙂

    thanks – best renovating wishes for 2016 hun xx !

    1. Happy New Year and best renovating wishes for you too, Melinda! x

      The rock garden plan sounds like a good one for those tough conditions. Do you get pigface (the groundcovering succulent) in WA? It goes into beast mode on dry sandy blocks around here. Causarinas/she-oaks are pretty hardy around beaches too, and trigger-plants would probably like the rock garden as well.

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  3. Can you tell me how your Pimelea is doing? Mine looking bit sad this summer, was gorgeous when I bought it last Spring. It hadn’t really grown to a bushy plant I was hoping it would. Would love to see an update of yours if it survived!

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