Gardening with Neil Fisher
Just as we need to cover up for the long hot summer days ahead, so too does the garden.
The heat draws the moisture and dries the soil out to the detriment of the growing trees and shrubs. There are ways to avoid this, however. One is by mulching and the other, more attractive way is to ‘cover up’ with suitable ground hugging plants.
The following groundcovers all have specialised features to enable the plants to grow in those difficult positions in the garden.
And at the same time have very showy almost exquisite flowers. Some are able to be successfully grown in gardens of the coast or in the hot dry inland areas of Central Queensland.
Brachycombe multifida or Hawksbury River Daisy is one of my favourite little native daisies. It will only cover about a metre square, and is perfect as a garden edging plant, or positioned near landscape features such as old logs or rocks. Flowers are a delicate mauve daisy-type flower, with yellow centres.
Convolulus mauritanicus or the Trailing Morning Glory is a dense fast growing drought tolerant ground cover. Masses of lavender blue funnel type flowers appear from early spring to late autumn. Convolvulus low maintenance ground cover that prefers a sunny well-drained position and should only be pruned after flowering.
Goodenia ovata or Prostrate Hop is a fast growing hardy groundcover with bright green, fleshy leaves, spreading to approximately 1.5m across. Masses of showy bright yellow flowers occur most of the year. Goodenia is frost resistant and is a very useful understorey plant for established gardens.
Hibertia obtusifolia or Hoary Guinea Flower is a beautiful buttercup-yellow flowering groundcover native to Blackdown Tablelands. It is always one of the brightest little groundcovers during the warmest part of the year. For the best growth, it requires a sunny well-drained position without large quantities of water.
Myoporum parvifolium or Creeping Boobialla is a very vigorous groundcover that will even tolerate hot dry banks, with prostrate stems covered by tiny dark green leaves and attractive white or pink flowers.
Oenothera speciose or Evening Primrose is a vigorous and showy sprawling perennial. A mass floral display of bowl-shaped pink or white happens during the warmer months. Well known to western gardeners, as being able to survive and grow in the longest drought, and still produce flowers in a garden where everything else has been reduced to a dried arrangement.
Scaevola aemula Pink Perfection is a large-flowered pink form of the popular purple fan flower, Scaevola aemula. Masses of pink fan-shaped blooms appear throughout the year.
Pink Perfection is a dense evergreen groundcover with almost succulent medium green coarsely toothed leaves. It’s perfect for growing in rockeries and will establish quickly to at least 2 metres in diameter yet won’t take over the garden.
Scaevola albida or Fairy Fan Flower is a compact suckering groundcover for most soil types, as long as it isn’t too boggy. Masses of blue-to-mauve fan-shaped flowers will appear throughout the year. I have seen a specimen in a garden in Moura that could only be described as a mauve carpet, so heavy were the blooms. The Fairy Fan Flower is one of those native plants immortalised by May Gibbs classic of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
While many of these plants may not be available all year round in most local nurseries, they should be able to be ordered from specialist nurseries for this garden.
Late last month the Central Queensland’s gardening community lost a great friend and pioneer Horst Dargel. Horst was the co-founder of Fitzroy Nurseries that has operated in Pink Lily since 1953. Through Horst’s horticultural expertise Central Queensland gardeners were able to source and successfully grow many plant species for the first time.
Horst will be truly missed and to his family please accept our deepest condolences for your loss.