Pittwater Life April 2018 Issue


Safety First: Reducing risk on Mona Vale Rd. We Will Remember: ANZAC Day. Tina Harrod: Island Life. 40 Years' Courtship: Careel Bay Tennis Club

Carissa is

the Star of

the desert

Autumn is the best time for

planting new shrubs and

creating new gardens. The soil

is still warm for new roots to

develop before the surge of

spring growth. After the rain it

is sometimes hard to remember

the hot dry summer months.

If you are planting a new

hedge, nothing can cope with the

summer heat and long dry spells

better than Carissa Desert Star.

This bright green shrub is ideal

for clipping into formal shapes,

or let it grow into its natural

shape. It is a dense, spreading

shrub with dark green glossy

leaves that hide the spines below.

Take care when pruning. The

fragrant, pure white, jasminelike,

star-shaped flowers are

scattered over the shrub from

spring to autumn, to be followed

by dark pink berries.

Alliums make spectacular pot plants

Carissa makes a perfect backdrop for

native border of grasses, interspersed

with alliums for colour. It is time now to

buy the bulbs of these wonderful plants.

Ornamental alliums are members of the

onion family.

This is a huge diverse family. There

varieties of every size from the tiny kitchen

garden chives, to the small-growing

burgundy Drumsticks, to the huge violet

Globe Master. The round balls of the flower

heads can be from 3cm to 30cm in diameter.

Once established they are very hardy and

drought tolerant; they appear as if by magic

through the grasses. Alliums are herbaceous

perennials that will die down through the

winter months. Once established they need

little attention and will multiply in number as

the seasons pass.

They can be grown in the garden or as

spectacular pot plants for patios or balcony

gardens, alliums are great in the veggie

garden to attract the bees or grow them to use

as long-lasting cut flowers to bring inside.

Garden Life

Great burgundy foliage

Dark burgundy foliage is hard to find for native gardens.

‘Breynia Ironstone’ is usually found as an understorey small

tree in coastal scrub or forest – breynias have wonderfully soft

weeping foliage.

You can trim them to shape and enjoy the new, red growth,

or train them up as a small standard shrub by pruning back the

lower branches. The dark foliage brightens up shaded areas but

for the best colour grow it in good light or sun. It will grow in

the wild to three metres but in domestic gardens it is a shrub of

1-2m tall and 1m wide.

The pale brown flowers are insignificant and are followed

by brown berries, giving it its common name of ‘Coffee Bush’.

There is also a variegated pink, white and green variety, breynia

nivosa rosea Snow Bush, that comes from the Pacific islands,

but this one is better in warm semi-shade as full sun will burn

the pale colours in the leaves. Breynias are hard to find, if you

can find one to buy you are lucky!

The Local Voice Since 1991

APRIL 2018 69

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