Pittwater Life March 2018 Issue


Bayview Bust-Up. Running with the Rat Pack. Tom Burlinson. Check out our new website!

The dangers of planting

around boundary fences

Be careful when you plant

trees or shrubs against

boundary fences. Innocentlooking

plants can become a

nightmare 10 years down the


If you plant trees or shrubs,

check the height and girth of

the trunk that they will reach

when fully grown – they may

get too big and knock the

fence over.

Don’t always believe the

labels on “indoor plants” –

these are dimensions if the

plants stay in small pots. The

innocent China Doll is labelled

as 1.5m! It will grow more than

20m high when planted in the


Many hedging plants – murrayas,

lilypilies, waterhousias…

even sasanquas – if left

untrimmed will grow into fullsized

trees. Make sure that the

branches will not overhang your

neighbour’s gutters and that as

the tree grows it will not push

the fence or allow the roots to

invade and damage pipes, pushing

up paving. This could cost

you money to repair.

Palms can cause more trouble

than they are worth. The fronds

are heavy and damage gardens

underneath when they fall.

Creepers that look pretty

when they flower can become

invasive as they find their way

between the timber palings and

sucker on the other side. Jasmine

and the orange pyrostegia

are notorious for this.

If your plants go over the

fence tell your neighbour

nicely that they can hand the

offending foliage back to you

and you will put it in your

green bin. This should avoid

the frustration of foliage being

thrown back at you.

Privacy is important to all of

us, but don’t take your neighbour’s




in the dark

Diamonds in the Dark are a revolutionary new breed of

Crepe myrtles. The darkest purple leaves dress the bare

winter branches in early spring and are followed by a dazzling

display of colour from early summer to autumn.

Scarlet, deep crimson, hot pink, the palest pink or white

sprays of crinkled flowers look stunning against the almost

black leaves. Now you don’t need to envy the purple-leaved

prunus trees that do so well in colder climates, but won’t survive

our tempestuous weather and heatwave days.

You can have summer shade and winter sun when the leaves

fall as the temperature cools with these dazzling newcomers.

Crepe Myrtles, largerstroemias, prefer an acid soil that is

well drained but will grow in any garden soil. Water them well

when first planted but once established they are hardy, undemanding


The Diamonds in the Dark are small trees, ideal for large

pots or specimen trees. They can be mass-planted for hedging

or trimmed to fence height for privacy. They will grow just

three metres tall and two metres wide if they are not cut. Prune

them in late winter, before the stunning new growth appears,

to thicken the plant.

The flowers appear in the new season’s wood. Feed in spring

and early summer with Kahoona or a complete fertiliser.

Garden Life

African Tulip

tree has a

sinister secret

The huge scarlet goblets of the

African Tulip Tree (Spathodia

campanulata) flowers are glowing

against the summer skies. These

exquisitely beautiful rainforest

trees are almost classed as a noxious

weed in northern Queensland, but in Sydney the cooler

climate makes them a spectacular garden tree if you have room.

There are these trees in Pittwater that I have watched grow for

the past 30 years and they have never caused a problem. It is too

cold for the seed to become invasive. However there is a sinister

problem that they are responsible for. The huge flowers attract the

birds, bats and bees. As the nectar of the older flowers ferments

it is poisonous to Australian native bees and kills them. These are

the bees that we all try to attract to our gardens as pollinators,

think before you plant one of these spectacular trees.

The Local Voice Since 1991

MARCH 2018 69

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