New Garden? Try These Plant Combinations

Green Japanese Maple Foliage

Try this Plant Combination.

Here’s a recipe for a beautifully fragrant garden.

Many of you come in to see us and you’re starting from scratch. You’ve got a brand new open space with nothing in it  You would think that would be easy right? But sometimes it’s often harder to choose which plants go together when there’s a new space to fill.

Following on from the first article here on plant suggestions. Here’s another plant grouping  idea – These plants are classic and won’t date. They all work together beautifully and bonus! – If you like fragrant gardens, you’ll love this one. The flower colours in this plant group are all white with a splash of red.

 

Magnolia Little Gem –  Plant these and they’ll grow into small trees that will delight you with their intermittent, year round, large white flowers. You could Plant these down a fence line, or make a screening hedge. Little Gem’s rarely give you any trouble and are very easy to grow.

magnolia LIttle Gem Rock Dust

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gardenia – beautifully fragrant white flowers from late Sring all the way to late Autumn. This one grows a about 1m x 1m. Plant in full sun or part shade. Great to underplant as a low growing hedge underneath the Magnolia Little Gems

Gardenia Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese Star Jasmine – star shaped white flowers in late Spring and smaller flushes again in Summer and Autumn.  Use as a climber, or let ramble as a groundcover. Looks gread clipped into shape or hedged. This plant is well bahaved and easy to manage. Star Jasmine is quite a tough plant too, can cope well climbing up steel structures and handle the hot afternoon sun all while looking stunning.

Chinese star jasmine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini Agapanthus – Double Diamond

Agapanthus have been around forever. And there’s a good reason why. They’re tough as old boots and look really nice in the garden, especially in Summer time when they put on a lovely flower show. This one is a miniature agapanthus. Double diamond has ruffle like flowers and they only grow to 50cm. Foliage is small too. Great for a border, or ground cover.

Agapanthus double diamond

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prunus Nigra

Now add Prunus Nigra – (ornamental flowering plum) for a splash of deep plummy, burgundy colours. Work in odd numbers. If you’ve room for more, add 3!

Prunus nigra Flowering Plum in the Garden

 

 

 

 

 

OR add…

Japanese Maple

for a beautiful, graceful small tree. This one is the green Japanese Maple. It handles our weather beautifully, and is such a beauty in the garden. This one has foliage that emerges at green with hints of red in Spring time. Turns reddish in Autumn. Adds that extra bit of charm.

Green Japanese Maple Foliage

 

Small to Medium Shade Trees For Your Garden

Trees form the framework of your garden. They are so valuable for creating shade, especially in newly built suburbs, where lack of planning at the development stage has left little in the way of street trees. Time to get planting to get some shade at your place.   Here’s some suggestions for small to medium sized trees for your garden.

Magnolia Little gem – Dwarf form of Magnolia grandiflora, these deep green trees are beautiful year round. Flowers intermittently throughout the year down in the Southwest and can grow 4-7m tall. Excellent hedging or screening tree and responds really well to clipping.

Olives – Olives are perfect for this part of the world. They grow quickly and tolerate many conditions. They look lovely interplanted amongst other trees contrasting with shrubs and trees of varying shades of green.  Plus, you get olives

Claret Ash  – This one grows 6- 12m quickly. Foliage emerges in spring time a beautiful green colour. It then turns a beautiful claret colour in Autumn

Evergreen Ash – Small tree with glossy green foliage. Is evergreen, but really greens up and bushes out in the warmer months

Trident Maple – Grows 6-10m with a super interesting, 3 lobed, ivy shaped foliage. Colours up beautifully in Autumn. Bark has character too, it flakes and peels as it grows, leaving a splotchy appearance.

Chinese Pistachio – Can grow to 8m, this tree has a classic round shape and displays beautiful Autumn colours. Tolerates dry, sandy soils too.

Japanese Maple Green Japanese Maple is a graceful, small tree that grows 4-6m. Likes a bit of a sheltered spot, perhaps a courtyard, or a backyard that is protected, but in full sun/ part shade. The green Japanese Maples, start out green and then go on to have Autumn colours. The green Japanese Maple, out of all of the Japanese Maples in our experience, handles our hot, dry summers the best.

David’s Maple – an unusual Maple that has a distinct, striated bark that starts out red and turns into green and white.

Silver Birch Plant as a single tree, or in a copse of 3 or 5. Silver birches are a small to medium tree that look great all year round. The bark turns white and peels, as it ages, giving it real charm and character. The foliage, is small and dainty looking and is lovely fluttering in the breeze in Summer time.

 

 

 

Plant Super Stars – Try These When You’re Not Sure What to Plant

plants that love summer cycad revoluta

When you’re not sure what to plant.

Try these plants, if you have no idea where to begin.

Plant selection is subjective of course, do what you like – but sometimes when you’ve got a blank canvas,  the choice can be overwhelming. We love these plants for many reasons – they’re timeless, they match in well to lots of house styles and won’t date. Relatively low maintenance, these plants blend in well together. They can be used in formal garden styles or here and there in a not so formal way.   They stand up well on their own and can form a basic garden structure if you’re starting your garden from scratch or are thinking about doing some renovating.

Cycad revoluta

sago palm

They’re big and beautiful. Actually, even when they’re small and growing, they look great. Such a classic plant that goes well in formal, tropical and even native Aussie gardens. These guys get more handsome every year. They’re quite low maintenance too. Just clip the bottom fronds off as they grow to expose their slow growing trunk. Plant in pots as a feature, or blend them into the landscape in an informal way with taller palms or shrubs. They give the garden good form and depth with their deep green colour and structured shape. Grow them in full sun or even in shade. Provide Cycads with a nice rich, well drained soil and they’ll reward you with flushes of new growth a few times a year in the warmer months.

Port Wine Magnolia

Port Wine Magnolia

This shrub sells itself. It can act as a low key, but quite attractive shrub with it’s small, glossy foliage. It’s real beauty is in the unassuming little bud like flowers. In Spring, when the weather warms up, these little buds produce a gorgeous scent and has been described as bubble gum, or juicy fruit gum, banana and even rockmelon. Just one shrub will produce lots of flowers that you’ll smell on warm evenings drifting through the air. Port Wine Magnolias respond really well to tip pruning, as it encourages a dense growth habit. The little flowers do grow on older wood, so these can be used as a hedging plant – you can clip away without pruning off all of the flowers. It’s a moderate growing plant, great if you’re wanting a hedge that doesn’t need clipping so often. Likes full sun and also doesn’t mind some shade.

Nandina

Nandina Domestica foliage

This little shrub is such a beauty. We love this plant for its gorgeous texture and colour. In Winter, it tends to redden up, as well as retaining its beautiful multi-coloured foliage. Very low maintenance. It doesn’t grow very big at all. Plant and leave it. You’ll  never have to clip it as it retains it shape really well. Plant these near your Cycads and Port Wine magnolias. You can make a little hedge row out of them undeneath a more formal style hedge. Try a hedge of Port Wine Magnolia and plant these out in front. Would work for small front yards as well as along a fence line in the backyard.

Crepe Myrtle

lagerstroemia-crepe-myrtle

From here, if you’re looking for a taller element to add to your garden, try Crepe Myrtles. They come in shades of red to pink to white and grow on average 3-4m tall. They’re a multi-trunked large shrub or small tree and are really suited to our climate here in the Southwest. They’re in flower in Summer time at the hottest time of the year and are just stunning. They are a deciduous tree, so will lose their leaves in winter time. They do have attractive bark that makes up for this. Great to use here or there in the garden and are a small tree, ideal for small backyards or even the front.

Liriope

liriope-evergreen-giant-pots

If there’s one grass that we’re always recommending, it’s Liriope. Ideal for both full sun and deep shade, it’s such a pretty grass, that is quick growing and does a nice job as a groundcover. Little purple spike flowers add to its charm. Liriope don’t get overgrown like other native style grasses. While Dianella and Lomandras  have their merits, Liriope blends in a more subtle way and is lusher and greener and not as messy after flowering.

 

We have these plants in stock growing happily year round here in the Nursery. Contact us below if you’ve got any stock queries , or to check out stock levels.

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Which Plant is Best For Hedging?

Narrow Down your choices

Hedges are used in the garden mainly to form a backdrop, hide a fence or be the fence, and are a great way to add borders. So which plant to use and how many will you need you ask?  Well, it depends on how you want your hedge to behave.  Are you looking for a tidy hedge that is tightly knit, for a formal garden, with not a leaf out of place? or are you wanting to create a large wall for screening purposes? Do you want flowers? fragrance? There’s a heap of plants that you could use. Let us narrow down your choices. Here’s what we grow in the nursery.

Hedges to up to 1m

Formal and neat

  • Japanese Box –   Lovely light green, oval shaped foliage. Ties in with many landscape styles.
  • African Box – Quick to grow with small, tight knit foliage. Perfect to use for topiary shapes – you can clip into a swan or an elephant or whatever your creative self wishes.
  • English Box– Very robust, deep emerald green colour. Tolerates many soil types. Likes full sun and can grow in the shade. Good to use if you want a hedge that is both in the sun and shade.
  • Port Wine Magnolia – this shrub can grow 2-3m tall, but can be kept at around 1m quite nicely as it’s not the fastest of growers. Regular pruning encourages a dense habit and more flowers. The flowers produce the most divine scent, especially after a warm day. They flower mid stem not on terminals so you can cut and trim away without removing the beautifully fragrant bud like flowers

You’ll want to keep the flowers on these, so no need to clip so often

  • Gardenia Florida – grows to 1mx1m. Looks great planted in front of a larger, clipped hedge. Rarely needs pruning. Sweet smelling flowers bloom from spring to late autumn and even into winter
  • Gardenia Grandiflora Star –  No pruning needed, this little shrub only grows to 50cm x50cm. Lovely fragrant flowers from spring to late autumn.

Or use climbers as a hedge – a bit more clipping to keep it in shape, but you’ll get a low hedge quite quickly. 

  • Chinese Star Jasmine – let this grow rambling on the ground and then clip it into shape to create boundaries. This looks fantastic planted under pleached trees, neatly trimmed into shape. Or plant it in front of a higher hedge. Fragrant white star shaped flowers in spring and autumn.
  • Hibbertia scandens – native to the Southwest, this will normally climb, but can be clipped into a low growing hedge for borders.

Not So Formal

  • Agonis flexuosa nana– this has been around forever with good reason. Loved by landscapers all around the southwest and Perth, this plant is tough and looks good. Used as a backdrop for many styles of gardens.  Can grow around 1m – 1.2m
  • Nandina Dwarf  – lovely leafy little shrub. Keeps its shape nicely without any need for pruning. Wonderful colour in the foliage year round with lots of variation in colour. Greens, oranges, yellows and reds. Reddens up more in Winter time

Larger Screen style hedges 1.5m+

Formal and Neat

  • Syzygium Bush Christmas ( Lilly Pilly) Grows 4m+ and can be used to create a larger formal hedge. Quick growing with dense foliage. Little birdies love to hide and nest in the foliage. Red new growth precedes little purple fruits (edible) in Winter time, followed by sweet summer flowers. Read below on how to choose a Lilly Pilly
  • Viburnum Tinus– Classic shrub. You can’t go wrong with this. Bright white flowers in winter time. Classic hedging plant that is tough as old boots. Pick this one if you want your hedge to grow in the shade as well as the sun.
  • Viburnum Emerald Lustre or Viburnum Emerald Jewel –  Quick growing and quite vigorous, both of these are very tolerant of many soil conditions. They like full sun with some shade. Emerald lustre has big glossy leaves while the Emerald Jewel has smaller, greener foliage. Both have a cluster of fragrant flowers in Spring time. These are a good choice for those narrower sections down a fence line.
  • Murraya paniculata can grow to around 3m. Highly fragrant blossoms in the warmer months smell like citrus blossom. Attracts bees and butterflies. Nice looking shrub with lighter green foliage that’s been around for a long time. Makes a really lovely garden background.
  • Port Wine Magnolia – including this in with the larger shrubs as it can grow 2m+
  • Westringea – Tried and True, this Aussie native plant will grow just about anywhere. See it used in coastal plantings and you’ll see why it’s chosen. Small, dense foliage with tiny flowers, there’s a few varieties available. Try Lilac and Lace for a shrub that grows around 1.5m x 1.5m – or Wynyabbie Gem, also growing to 1.5m

Not so formal

 Casual and carefree, but does the job of a quick growing hedge or screen 

  • Photinia robusta – Quick growing. Red foliage. Big white flowers late winter through to spring. Can grow to around 5m
  • Hibiscus – Try Hibiscus cottonwood – you’ll probably see this grown everywhere. Especially in recent developed suburbs. Has pleasing colours, interesting heart shaped foliage, with yellow flowers throughout the year. And it grows very quickly. Can be grown on the coast and tolerates salty winds and still looks good. Good for a quick growing screen. There’s also Hawaiian Hibiscus varieties – Considered by some to be an old fashioned sort of plant. But if you’ve got an area that needs to be screened now, these can do the job in no time. Best grown in full sun, but will grow nicely in shady spots too, these are really tough plants that can look spectacular if given the right treatment. Feed them up in the warmer months and watch them bloom year round.
  • Callistemon Kings Park Special – this one’s a no brainer if you want a native screening plant. It’s quick growing, not fussy on soil type. Can tolerate boggy areas, but also will grow in sandy soil. Attracts birds and bees and is quite quick to grow. Waterwise once established.
  • Grevillea Robyn Gordon – and associated cultivars like Grevillea Superb , Grevillea Ned Kelly  , Grevillea loopy lou, Grevillea Coconut Ice are  quick growing and non fussy if left to grow and do their own thing. They’ll reward you with flowers most of the year and you’ll have birds and bees visiting your place in no time. They’ll respond to pruning once a year, which will make your hedge more attractive. Fertilise using native fertiliser

 How many plants will you need?

What kind of hedge do you want? For a formal, clipped hedge with no gaps at the bottom, space close together.  We generally go by the rule of planting 1 third spacing depending on the height you want to achieve.

Example – you want a hedge to grow to 1m, then space your plants around 30cm apart. You’re hedge will knit together quicker than plants spaced out further.

It does depend on the shrub you choose and which size plant you initially choose and of course, your budget.  So if you want a hedge that runs 10m at a height of 1metre, you'll want about 30 plants.

It’s not uncommon to get a phone call asking for replacement plants. You may want to consider getting a few extra to plant in other areas or in pots if you need to replace a for a hedge, where the customer has lost one or two.

So you like the look of Syzygiums  (Lilly Pillies)  How to choose a Lilly Pilly plant

A word of advice

It’s quite common for us to get a panicked phone call asking for replacement Syzygiums of a certain variety. There’s a tonne of varieties out there with bright shiny labels promising to be redder, or bushier, or have a quicker growth habit, or are psyllid resistant.  Sounds great. These are great plants. Customer buys their hedge. And after a year, customer notices they need to replace one or two. Or they want to extend their hedge. So they start ringing around, starting with the first place of purchase. No luck. That variety isn’t available, there’s a new variety in stock though…gah! Why isn’t the plant available any more?

You see, plants, just like other shiny, products need to be redeveloped, repackaged and marketed to keep consumers interested. This results in newer, plant varieties along with shiny labels presented mainly at big box stores. Growers grow them for a season, and move on to the next ‘better’ plant next year. Result? That Lilly Pilly plant is not available any more.

This is one reason why we stick to one type of Lilly Pilly – Syzygium Bush Christmas. Why? It’s a great plant. It’s handsome, reddens up beautifully in Winter, and also grows quickly.  Because it’s been around for a long time, it’s easy to get anywhere. We grow it every year. If we don’t have it, someone else most likely will. No need to worry.

Here’s another thing to consider when choosing your hedging plant

If you’re looking at variegated plants or  interesting foliage plants that ‘twist’ have an interesting leaf as they grow, you may want to reconsider if you’re wanting to achieve a uniform look. It all depends on how fussy you want to be though. You see, plants, through selective breeding can be developed to have a certain appearance and your variegated plants can revert back to being green. Not all, but maybe one in your hedge, or part of the plant. Or from that interesting twisted foliage to a normal leaf growth pattern.

It may not worry you, if you’re happy to let plants do their thing but just bear in mind that what you’re buying today, may change further down the track.

Now You’ve chosen. How to Plant Your Hedge.

Not going to bore you too much with how to plant, (too late??) here’s a few key points

  • Dig a trench and fill with soil amendments – clay, rockdust and compost . You’ll want nice nutrient rich soil for all those shrubs, planted close together competing for nutrients. Your hedge will grow quicker and look green and lush.
  • Don’t trust your eyes. Use a string line to get plants in a straight line.
  • It’s painful to do, but clip plants immediately after planting to promote bushy lateral growth.
  • Clip in an slight A-line pattern so plants get more light and therefore more uniform growth.
  • Use a string line to cut height once established.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avocado Trees For Your Backyard

Avocado Tree Hass

*For avocado varieties currently available go here >> avocado trees we grow

 


We have a good climate to grow avocados down here in Bunbury, Perth and the rest of the southwest. Avocados are in demand and there are many orchards in WA from up north Carnarvon way, down south to Manjimup and Pemberton – even as far as Albany. And there’s certainly a good supply of avocados in the markets but as you probably know, they can get a bit pricey, and they’re good, but just not a good as freshly picked off the tree – which is a good reason to want to grow your own supply of fresh avocados.

We get enquiries every day about avocados.   Avocado tree production is always at the top of the to do list.  So which tree is for you? Here’s a rundown on the Avocado trees we’re producing here. Right now we have waiting lists for avocados, we’re working hard to fill in commercial farm orders and usually have some available year round. Mostly Hass, but we will do the following whenever the opportunity presents itself – usually depending on when we can get cuttings (scion wood)

 

Farm Growers >>  Please contact us for availability of stock Give us a call or send an email for further information on availability as things change all the time.

Continue reading for planting information.

For info on how we planted out our avocado trees, go here

Hass (A)– most grown commercial variety because it transports so well. It turns black when ripe. Matures in April -August. Taste is really nice. Rich, nutty type taste. Everyone seems happy with Hass and is our most sought after Avocado for the backyard. However…there are other Avocados out there that are so yummy and flavoursome, and worth a try.

Pinkerton (A) – A smaller, dwarf Avocado tree. Fruit is similar to Hass, but with a smaller seed and a longer neck, ready to pick in winter time. Tree has a smaller spreading habit, is a consistent cropper and is also cold tolerant.

Fuerte (B)– a great cold tolerant variety which is also grown commercially as a pollinator to Hass. Fuerte is the most creamy, buttery avocado with a relatively small seed and a good amount of flesh. The tree itself grows quite tall.

Bacon (B)–  Fruit is green and thin skinned. Good pollinator for A types.  Fruit matures April-June. The tree itself is a spreading type of tree to about 4m. Gets to 10m if left unpruned.

Wurtz (A) A smaller, dwarf avocado tree with a spread out fruiting period – Jul-Dec.  Fruit is dark green, medium sized.

Reed (A)– a large round fruit with firm flesh, ready to pick around November- December. Really tasty and we look forward to when Reeds are in season.

Growing from Seed You can grow Avocados from seed easily enough and they do grow into a nice tree.

 We’ve got 2 that popped up in the vegie patch, most likely from Hass seeds that were turfed into the compost. They are really growing strong, and have tolerated several cold and windy winters and hot, summers without any protective shade-cloth structure. These guys are survivors, so we’re letting them stay for now – to see what kind of fruit they produce, but they’ll take a lot longer to fruit than a known, grafted variety – even up to 10 or so years or more –  and when they do finally fruit, there’s no guarantee that the fruit will be of a good size or eating quality.  The benefit of Grafted Avos are that they start producing after a few years in the ground and you’re getting a known fruit variety that you can look forward to.

By the way- getting an avocado seed to germinate is quite easy. Plant your seed in a pot and you’ll get a seedling in no time! Strangely enough, the internet seems to favour a method that involves toothpicks, and a glass of water – which sounds like fun thing to do on the kitchen sink, but not really necessary.

avocado treeAvocados make such a nice tree with their spreading branches – just waiting for a kid to climb

Choose a Spot

Avocados are subtropical, originating from Mexico and  Central America.  Despite these subtropical origins, they do grow quite well here down South, in Bunbury, Perth and there are commercial Avocado orchards all the way down Manjimup and Pemberton way.  What you want to do is recreate the micro climate from which they orginate,  as much as you can, which means choosing a warm protected spot, away from wind, frost, and direct sun with plenty of water.

Mature avocado trees like to be out in full sun, although judging by the leaf size, which is quite large, they look to have evolved to grow up from a shady, dappled light situation toward the sunlight.  You’ll need to protect your young trees from the sun as they can get sunburnt which can damage the young tree irreparably or cause the tree to struggle. You can paint the trunk with a waterbased white household paint to protect, or  plant out with a shade structure to protect from the frost and wind as well. There are cold tolerant varieties like Fuerte or Bacon, but most varieties will work, provided you give them a good start in life.

Drainage and Soil Planting Mix

Drainage is essential to an avocado tree.  They will not tolerate water logged soil, even for a couple of days. Avocados can develop root rot caused by the soil borne pathogen ‘phytopthera cinnamomi’ which is caused by wet conditions.   As they have small, shallow feeder roots, they must be kept moist, but not saturated. If your soil needs better drainage, plant it on a hillside, if accessible, or mound it up. Lucky for many of us on the coast, the sandy soil is very free draining. So we’re half way there. To keep those feeder roots moist, add to your existing sandy soil, organic matter, rock dust and clay to hold water as well as nutrient in around the root zone. These soil amendments are important as the biological activity associated with them helps to control these pathogenic microbes.  Mulch is essential to keep moisture in. Chose large, irregular shaped mulch material – which helps to keep water in the soil.  Avoid the finer, sawdusty type mulch. It actually tends to wick moisture out of the soil.

 Fun Fact Ahuacatl is how the Aztecs pronounced Avocado. It translates to testicles - from how the fruit hangs from the tree.

Planting Your Avocado

The Avocados we produce are grafted onto a seedling rootstock.  They’ll need a bit of attention and care. We recommend waiting until the weather warms up to plant out into the garden. Mid to Late Spring is good. We have a long period of warm weather to get them growing before our short winters. Until then, you can repot it if you like, being very careful not to disturb the roots and keep it in a warm spot, maybe in your patio area, where it receives shaded light and is protected from the wind.

Another Fun Fact  The Tree has origins from the time of Megafauna - who ate the large fruits as a tasty snack - and went on their way, dispersing the seed as they went! Which worked to the advantage of the Avocado - until these Mega fauna disappeared. Seems Avocados have had a lot of human intervention, since then to get them to this point in cultivation.

Food and Water

You’ll get good growth if your tree is consistently watered – work on getting a good planting mix as above so that the tree doesn’t dry out.  Especially on hot, windy days. To the planting mix suggested above, we use a controlled release fertliliser, given in the warmer months when the tree is actively growing.

Pollination – will you need two?

Avocados can be self pollinating – but – you’ll  always increase your yield if you have both an A and B variety. Here’s the rundown on Avo flowers – which seems to be kind of complicated at first glance, but hang in there.

When an avocado tree blooms, it produces a flower that is both male and female. That is, the flower has male bits that produce pollen, and female bits that receive the pollen – which then goes onto to become an avocado for you to eat.

Each flower lasts for about 2 days. When the flower opens, it opens as a female for a few hours, waiting to accept pollen from a male flower. It then closes….then opens again later as a male flower.

*Type As open as a female in the morning and male in the arvo of the second day.

*Type Bs open as female in the arvo on the first day and male in the morning of the second day

In cooler temps this pattern can vary, with flowers staying open for longer, allowing for greater chances of pollination, or not opening at all. There are many variables in temps in our Southwest region. Also consider that the Avocado tree produces lots of flowers at one time, their 2 day cycle can start at varying times, which can allow for overlap of open male and female flowers. It may be a good idea to increase your chances of pollen transfer by growing plants that attract insects like bees as well as flies and other insects .

So, yes your avocado can be self-pollinating and you can try growing one, and you’ll most likely get a good amount of fruit. You will though, like all other fruit, always increase your avocado yield if you have a pollinizer.

Good luck with your avos!

For info on how we planted out our Avocado Trees, have a read here

avocado orchard tree