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Jackie French reviews Australian Plants for Canberra Region gardens You can't just plant half a dozen grevilleas, a thryptomene and a banskia and call it a native garden.
Well, you can, but it my end of messy, scraggly or even deceased. For true native garden glory you need to know which plants suit your area. Australia may be one nation on one continent, but it is a multitude of plant communities. The plants in this book all actually grow in Canberra gardens they are survivors and the ones you buy at the various native plant sales held by the society will have been bred here too. No climate shock. The book contains all you'd expect and more: designing a garden, coping with climate change, where to buy plants, native gardening through the seasons, rehabilitating old gardens. But it is the plants themselves that make me want to head very, very early to the next sale (early because many, many others will be heading there too). I have promised myself I will not plant anything this winter not with our water supply so precarious just now but this book had page after page filled with plant mug shots. And I want at least a 10th of them. Now. How about Leptorhynchos squamatus, which sounds like a rare and large dinosaur but is also called yellow buttons(in our house anyway) and is a ground cover with yellow button blooms that dies back in winter, or Rhodanthe chloracephalia, an annual with nodding leaves and white, cream, bright pink or yellow papery flowers. Gorgeous in a rockery we have just the place and stunning en masse. The flowers last a long louis vuitton neverfull xl time on the stem and slowly and delicately fade. I'd also love a dwarf Acacia cognata with weeping narrow leaves and pale yellow flowers. Cultivars like 'Mini Cog' and 'Green Mist' range from 75 cm to 1.5 metres high. They should be perfect for a spot. And definitely Banksia spinulosa 'Birthday Candles' which I have seen in full flower at the Botanic Gardens and fell for with instant adoration. Only half a metre high, with fine foliage green on top and silvery below, upright orange yellow flowers candle like in fact B. spinulosa 'Honey Pots' is just as gorgeous 1.5 metres high, olive green leaves, upright cylindrical fake louis vuitton purses new york golden flowers with red styles. And I want a boronia. Please. One that survives as well as giving red flowers, but they do need moisture according to this book which explains my poor record with boronias dying in droughts. We also needs some croweas 'Poorinda Ecstasy', a metre or so of shrub with scented leaves and massed pink starry flowers in spring and autumn or Crowea exalata, a perfectly rounded shrub and a great mass of white to pink star like flowers. I also long for some Anigozanthus flavidus, or kangaroo paw, for which you do need advice to grow successfully. It needs to be in exactly the right spot and exactly the right soil, unless you live in its native habitat which isn't here. We are too shady for them to do well. And of course Grevillea 'Sunrise' with large apricot pink flowers, about half a metre high, or G. 'Mason's Hybrid' with long blooming apricot red louis vuitton kartenetui amazon flowers on a two metre bush. Or G. 'Nancy Otzen', scarlet and cream blooms (prune after flowering) that grows to 1.5 metres high. Or G. 'Lady O' with bright red spider flowers that, with water and pruning and the right spot, can bloom all year, 'Ruby Clusters' that has flowers as good as its name and also can flower year round. But enough of the gevilleas (one can never have enough grevilleas in the garden, but that is enough for now on the page). There is also Hakea 'Burrendong Beauty', a sprawling shrub with arching branches, so the book says (we haven't met yet but we will) and pink to red flowers needs pruning to keep it bushy. But there are also names unknown to most gardeners, except for native devotees: Pulteneas, Zieria are louis vuitton bags good quality (one of which grows naturally here the Araluen zieria but is frankly not inspiring except to the feral goats who eat them). Do you know your callistemons? bursaria, cassinia, pimelias, pomaderris, darwinia? If not, you need this book. Try baking fish on a bed of them. But until I read this book I hadn't thought of it as a potential pot plant. Perfect! Do not buy this book if you don't want to be lured into a gardening binge. But if your garden is bare and you need a little winter sunlight, this is all you need to become inspired. This week I am: not gardening again. With regret. I am getting planting withdrawal syndrome, the main symptom of which is a persistent perusal of catalogues and the temptation to buy far too much. But this year with the lack of time and possibly a lack of water that is safe to use where there are rare frogs in the garden, as we have here, it is unwise to buy anything at all. I may yet turn into a feral gardener, planting out the centres of bare round abouts or the tempting bare expanse above Parliament House, which would look far better as a mass of native strawflowers which kids could pick and press in memory of their visit to the legislative heart of our nation. watching Wild Whiskers wombat manage to get her head through the reinforcing mesh around the vegetable garden to haul out invading kikuya grass, which she loves and I hate. On second thoughts, I should just open the gate and let her in there to eat it all as there are no carrots or celery root or other vegetables that wombats love. Though it may take her a few days to find the gate. Other autumn foliage may turn gold, but none glow quite like medlar, except perhaps a ginkgo at its best. Thin leaves give better autumn/winter colours when they are going yellow (yellow mulberry leaves for example just look tatty, often with a tinge of brown) while the thicker ones seem best for reds. Jackie French's hummingbird cake recipe I suspect this cake only came into existence after pineapple began to be canned. Some time in the 1960s just about every recipe began to add crushed pineapple: into the stuffing for a roast chicken, into the Christmas trifle and the Chrissie pudding too. Hummingbird cake is supposed to come from the US, which makes sense as they have hummingbirds and we don't. But most of the US recipes don't add the banana that Australian hummingbird cake makers prefer, and use pecans instead of walnuts. Macadamias can be used instead and I prefer them. This cake is also the way I use up frozen surplus bananas.
Hummingbird cake is very, very moist, sweet and irresistible. As it can grow whiskers in a few days at room temperature,if you must keep it, put it in a sealed container in the fridge. Don't be intimidated: there are many ingredients in this cake, but the mixing takes about a minute, all in one bowl.
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