Our Australian Front Garden

Our garden not only incorporates memories of people but also represents all of the continents of our planet. I like to think of it an anti-racist garden. Mixed plantings create an exciting garden, just as our multicultural country brings cultural diversity and enriches our lives. Learning from one another, sharing ideas, plants, recipes and blogging, enhances rather than depletes our lives. It’s not just from stamp collecting that we can learn about other countries!

On our Western frontage two Eucalyptus Gum trees adorn the nature strip. A delicate Fuchsia Gum, some Banksias and Gums brave the southern nature strip with a Callistemon that sports bright red stamens covered with tiny yellow dots in spring. A pink Lilly Pilly and a white festooned Boobialla shrub hug the Southern fence line, all Australian trees, along with a large South African Allamanda covering part of the fence. Several Kniphofa, Red Hot Pokers, also from South Africa keep the Allamanda company.

A new bed in front of the western fence has Anigozanthos, Kangaroo Paw, a Western Australian, a tall graceful velvety flower, that emerges from strong strappy leaves that withstand the heat of the day. Dietes from South Africa, often chosen by councils as a roadside plant due to its drought tolerance, follows the fence line. An African blue Agapanthus, Iris from Asia Minor and Japan, also hardy, needing little water, fill the bed. Each plant has its unique beauty.

Stepping into our garden the stoic Australian plants that withstand the severe seasonal changes and the western sun thrive. The Kunzea inside the gateway bares delicate orange stamens, similar to the Callistemon, gives a soft tactile welcome in late spring into summer.

Several Eastern Australian Palm Trees help shade the plants below and provide a grand entrance. There are roses originating from China in amongst Salvia from Mexico and an Australian Grevillea. The Grevilleas have delicate, quaintly shaped flowers, some small and some large. Their remarkable shapes are ideal for drawing as well as cut flowers for the vase.

A Crabapple tree is growing in the SW corner as a showpiece next to a Japanese Mt. Fuji, double white flowering, peach tree. Both these trees need water, so pipe has been dug into the ground to enable deep watering in summer. Beneath them are Australian Correas, Grevillea, Japanese Liliums and ground cover.

A Feijoa from Brazil shades the southern side of the house with several Palms and a Japanese Acer. Underneath the trees the Clivia from Natal and Australian Bird’s Nest ferns lift their strappy leaves and fronds to the sky. Underneath these, there are some cheeky woodland Cyclamen that remind me of my years in Italy.

Patches of violets enjoy the shade. Violets are multi-cultural in themselves, being from Europe, Africa and Asia. To pick bunches in spring, bringing the perfume inside, is well worth the effort.  Next there is the South American Alstroemeria, the red variety, from my mother in law’s garden. These long stemmed, vibrant flowers are perfect in late spring into summer, when flowers are scarce. They make perfect cut flowers at Christmas time.

Another Australian orange/pink Grevillea, not only attracts the birds, but, flowers for most of the year. It is partnered by some Correa varieties, where they catch the sun. Together they attract the birds. Towards the house, in the shade, is a Chinese Oak Leafed Hydrangea and some Hellebores, winter roses.

Outside our bedroom window, the large Japanese Acer over shadows the European/Asian Lilly of the Valley and some Japanese Azaleas. IMG_1502Again the Alstroemeria make a colourful backdrop as they grow up into and beneath another Grevillea. A self- sown avocado, from the compost, has decided to grow next to the South American Brugmansia that is covered in white angel’s trumpets, reminding me of those that have passed on.

Gardening is another hobby that can be as complex as putting a jig saw together or writing a story. Things either hang together or they don’t!

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