January 23, 2019

Caroline’s Garden Diaries : Thinking about Natives Again 21.2.13

It seems to be becoming a habit, searching for bench in garden on which to eat lunch. This time, I’m in downtown Sydney on my way to weekly music lesson that brings with it the enormous bonus of being in a building in the Royal Botanic Garden, so every week as well as training my ear, I get to see gardens.

Someone is selfishly lying on my favourite bench, have to wander round, and find another nice bench shaded by gum trees (Eucalpytus); I’m in the native plant garden.

Starts me thinking about why we grow so few Australian plants at home. I can think only of the gums and Callistemon (bottle brush), yet Joseph Banks, the famous botanist who came on Captain Cook’s explorations of Australia, was so impressed by the vegetation where they landed that he called it Botany Bay. So why don’t we grow these plants? We grow several, after all, from New Zealand which some would say has a less impressive native flora. Maybe climate plays a part? Maori name for NZ means “land of the long white cloud”, so NZ plants should feel at home in Britain.

Here’s a beautiful plant, Kunzia capitata, for example, that surely we’d love to grow. Picture comes from botanist friend Anne, who says there are several more Oz natives that should thrive at home. More research needed and maybe a little seed collecting before I return.


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  1. Bundy Mackintosh says:

    I just went to Caroline’s Garden Diaries, and found you were in Australia (last year) wondering whether you could plant the seeds here in England. I liked the plant – what have you done about that. I would like that I my garden too!

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