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Six Plants for a Very Small Garden

Chris Larkin

This was the topic for a recent meeting of the Garden Design Study Group in Melbourne and it elicited some quite different responses.

Diana Snape and Colin Turner wanted to select plants to paint a picture - plants that would work together or had natural associations. Diana decided to go largely indigenous selecting a small eucalypt like a (yellow) Eucalyptus leucoxylon or a Bursaria spinosa, Acacia acinacea, local Correa reflexa, a grass like Themeda (kangaroo grass), Lomandra filiformis or L. filiformis ssp. coriacea, white Brachyscome multifida and Epacris impressa. Colin on the other hand was thinking how well some plants worked together like Lomandra confertifolia ssp. rubiginosa and Chrysocephalum ramosissima and how Archyrhodomyrtus beckleri combined well with Leionema elatius ssp. beckleri, Viola banksii and Cryptandra amara dwarf.

Margaret James had her thoughts high-jacked by the recent Fred Rogers seminar on acacias and just couldn't go beyond mentioning them: Acacia iteaphylla, A.leprosa 'Scarlet Blaze', A.amblygona, A.lasiocarpa, A.glaucoptera prostrate, A.paradoxa. (Paul Thompson did postulate at the seminar that you could design a garden purely using acacias!)

Peter and Wilma Garnham should be expert in this area since moving where they only have a very small garden - yet unseen by the group. Their selections were: Crowea exalata fine leaf, "Baeckea virgata" dwarf, Correa alba and C. reflexa prostrate, Lomandra confertifolia ssp. rubignosa, Dianella caerulea 'Cassa Blue', Thelionema umbellatum.

Joan Barrett listed the following: Philotheca verrucosus, Cryptandra amara small, Tetratheca ciliata or T.thymifolia, a boronia like B. thymifolia, B.spathulata, B.scabra, B.rigens; ferns like Asplenium attenuatum; tufted perennial herbs like arthropodiums.

Some plants for a very small garden
Acacia amblygona
Acacia amblygona
Prostrate form
Chorizema cordatum
Chorizema cordatum
Heart-leaf flame pea
Bursaria spinosa
Bursaria spinosa
Philotheca verrucosus 'double form'
Philotheca verrucosus
Double form
Photos: Brian Walters
Note: Photos of a number of other plants mentioned in this article can be found in the ASGAP Photo Gallery

Bev Fox picked some of her favourite, most reliable plants: Hibbertia pedunculata and H. vestita tall form, Brachyscome multifida, Lomandra species, Philotheca verrucosus double, Libertia paniculata, Dampiera species.

Brian Snape seemed seduced by colour and this is his selection: Chorizema cordatum, Leionema 'Green Screen' (possibly L.lamprophyllum x L.elatius), Correa pulchella salmon form, Lechenaultia formosa orange, Anigozanthos humilis and 'Joey Paws'.

And lastly my selections where I tried to select resilient plants across a spectrum: Hibbertia pedunculata, Grevillea dimorpha fine leaf, Banksia spinulosa dwarf ('Golden Candles'), Correa reflexa squat bells, Crowea exalata form, Orthrosanthus laxus.

From the newsletter of ASGAP's Garden Design Study Group, October 2006.

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Australian Plants online - 2006
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants