Tom Karwin, On Gardening | Vegetation from down under – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Care for your garden

Our focus on the present planting year proceeds with an overview of Australian vegetation that are native to that little island continent. We could believe of Australia as typically desert or semi-arid, but northern parts of the country have a tropical weather, its southern coastal location has a humid subtropical local weather in the east and Mediterranean (or “summer-dry”) weather in the west. That latter area on the southwest coast, with Perth as its greatest town, is property to crops that mature simply in coastal California and are popular in the gardens of the Monterey Bay place.

Australian plants that are ideal for Monterey Bay area landscapes arrive in a broad assortment of sorts and with appealing foliage and at times unconventional blossoms. They absolutely qualify as “exotics” that are appropriate with and complementary to California native vegetation.

My yard is arranged thematically with an emphasis on Mediterranean local weather locations, most well-liked due to the fact of their drought tolerance as very well as their attractiveness and relieve of upkeep. Offered this solution to landscaping, my back garden features an spot devoted to Australian crops. Right here are illustrations of these vegetation:

River Wattle (Acacia cognata ‘Cousin Itt’). This shrub grows 2 feet tall and up to 6 ft large. “Cousin Itt” is a dwarf wide range the species can reach 20 x 20 feet, or more. This plant produces pale-yellow flowers in the spring, but it is valued for its narrow, pendulous evergreen foliage.

Blue Hibiscus (Alyogyne huegelii ‘Santa Cruz’). Escalating 8 toes x 8 toes, this evergreen shrub’s prevalent identify is puzzling, because its beautiful blossoms are purple and it’s not a hibiscus, even though it is another member of the Mallow household. It rewards from seasonal pruning to keep a compact form

Candle Cranberry (Astroloma foliosum). This pine-like shrub grows to 4 feet superior and in the spring provides tubular shiny purple flowers with a striking eco-friendly and black idea. A specimen in the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum caught my awareness, and I was equipped to add it to my yard not long ago.

Grass Palm (Cordyline ‘Festival Grass Burgundy’). This 3-foot higher grass plant has extensive strappy, shiny ruby/burgundy leaves cascading to create a satisfying fountain outcome. It has compact, star-shaped blush pink bouquets in the spring and summertime, but its foliage is the primary attraction.

Woolly Grevillea (Grevillia lanigera ‘Coastal Gem’). The abnormal pinkish-crimson and cream bouquets of this minimal-increasing shrub (1 foot tall by 5 feet wide) show up abundantly from wintertime to late spring. Its leaves are a bit woolly, and its blossoms encourage some to call it Spider Flower.

Purple Vine Lilac (Hardenbergia violacea ‘Happy Wanderer’). The twining stems of this evergreen vine can attain 16 toes in peak, specified guidance. It is pinkish-purple bouquets have a chartreuse spot in their facilities, blossoming in the wintertime to early spring. I experienced to prune this plant seriously in preparation for residence painting, and it is now growing back fast.

Cape Arid Climber (Kennedia beckxiana ‘Flamboyant’). Another plant with unconventional blossoms, this evergreen climbing vine has pea-form bouquets of a variety of colours from pink to dim crimson and yellow to black. My specimen has big, orange-purple bouquets with a showy significant lime-inexperienced central place. This is a vigorous grower that is twined on a stair railing.

Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana ‘Snowbells’). A dependable climber that twines through fences or trellises, relatively than “blanketing” adjacent shrubs. My specimen creates a generous display of creamy white bouquets. Other versions incorporate ‘Golden Showers’ with yellow-bronze flowers (recently added to my backyard) and ‘Pink Supreme’).

Progress your gardening know-how

A good way to learn a lot more about Australian plant is to check out the Arboretum & Botanic Garden at UCSC ( The expansive Australian Rock Backyard, the merchandise of substantial and ongoing advancement showcases numerous lesser crops that are well-suited for normal house gardens.

The Arboretum’s Koala Blooms plant introduction method capabilities Australian crops of unique desirability for house gardens. For facts about these crops, visit These picks are often readily available in Norrie’s, the Arboretum’s backyard garden keep.

Enrich your gardening times

Australian vegetation are excellent performers and attention-grabbing additions to property gardens. If you are experience horticulturally adventuresome without a drive for travel, take a look at the crops Down Below.

Get pleasure from your garden!

Tom Karwin is past president of Friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Monterey Bay Space Cactus & Succulent Modern society, and Monterey Bay Iris Society, and a Lifetime UC Learn Gardener (Certified 1999–2009). He is now a board member and yard coach for the Santa Cruz Hostel Culture. To watch every day photos from his garden, To look for an archive of earlier On Gardening columns, pay a visit to Contact him with comments or thoughts at

Supply backlink

You May Also Like