Winter Colour

Winter Colour

By Susan Burdett
02 Aug 2018
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grevillea species

Article written by Heather Davies, Wodonga TAFE student

It’s that time of year when the colour of autumn leaves are but a memory and the colour of spring blossom is yet to appear. Even our blue sky is cloaked in a cover of grey clouds. In our climate zone of four distinct seasons, winter can be rather dull and drab - but help is at hand. When deciduous trees are bare of foliage and the roses have lost their blooms, the native Australian plants come right on to centre stage. 

The Grevillea plants and Eremophila (Emu Bush) plants in my garden are growing significantly in height and width as they show off their colourful variety of flowers for all to see. These are plants I planted just last spring, upon our arrival in Wodonga, and they have been flowering ever since. These plants had a definite growth spurt in autumn and as soon as one set of blooms finish, the next begin. Even in mid-winter, the birds and bees are in the garden attracted by the nectar-laden blooms. Just this past week there have been silver eyes, blue wrens and eastern spinebills hopping happily as they feed upon the plants. These plants are so versatile and enormously attractive to native birds, as they provide a nectar feast for spinebills and other honeyeaters as well as excellent nest sites and cover for the smaller birds.

There is an enormous range within the Grevillea and Eremophila genera. Ground covers, shrubs and trees have all manner of flower and foliage types. There are over 300 species of Grevillea in Australia and about 50 subspecies, which are generally grafted onto Grevillea robusta rootstock to allow Western Australian species a better chance of survival in the more humid eastern state conditions. Flowers may vary in shape from pendant clusters, one-sided toothbrush types or cylindrical flower heads. There are over 200 species of Eremophila. Its foliage is often waxy or covered in grey hairs as an adaptation to its naturally harsh and arid environment. The flower type of the Eremophila is a rather uniform tubular structure but its colour and detail is varied. Flower colours vary from reds to yellow, cream and purple and are frequently speckled in pattern. Good drainage and dry, sunny positions are essential for the successful growth and flower production of Grevillea and Eremophila.

Diary

Jindera's 150th Anniversary of Settlement Celebrations will include four open gardens. Mark your calendar now for Saturday 29 September 2018 when four local gardens will be open from 1pm to 4pm. The gardens at Wattle Park, Drumwood, and two gardens at Granite Hill will be open and entry is by gold coin donation. The village of Jindera will be a hive of activity on the 29/30 September with street parades, entertainment, market stalls and many other forms of entertainment.

Photo: Grevillea “Looby Lou”. A hybrid plant which grows to 50cm high and 150cm wide so is a good garden space-filler. In a sunny position it flowers continually starting as a greenish-yellow bloom with a red tip and gradually changes till the whole flower is completely red.