Soaking up spring floral delights

Indian Hawthorn requires little pruning and makes a beautiful hedge.

By Beatrice Hawkins

I’m here to tell you that I love the proliferation of spring flowers and blossoms that are around at the moment just in case you hadn’t picked up on that fact!

The beautiful white double ’May’ bush, spiraea cantoniensis that flowers here in August/September, is putting on a beautiful show in many gardens and some variegated flowering peach trees in a garden in Himyar Drive have been looking fantastic for some time now.

I am amazed at how long they have been flowering. Wisteria is everywhere and there are some really beautiful sprays hanging over a fence in Acacia street that I drive past fairly regularly. Beautiful displays of the thornless yellow banksia rose cover many archways in town gardens.

The first place I remember this rampant climber was seeing it growing over the front verandah of my grandparents house in Mudgee. Last time I was in Mudgee a few years back it was still there and flourishing.

The lovely pink roses, maybe ’Jane McGrath’?, surrounded by lavender at the Rose City corner of Palmerin and Fitzroy streets look terrific.

There is colour and beauty everywhere in gardens around town so the garden competition that is to be judged on Monday 4 October should provide a challenge for the judge this year.

If you haven’t entered yet, go pick up a schedule and entry form from Bryson’s in Palmerin street and check out which category you can enter. Entries close on Friday 1 October at 5pm.

Another sight I have been enjoying is the Indian Hawthorn, Rhaphiolepis indica, that are flowering in many front yards. It is a lovely thing at this time of year absolutely covered in the little white through to pink, cup shaped blossoms.

I was surprised to read that it is considered an environmental weed in New South Wales and Queensland and a ’sleeper weed’ in other parts of Australia. I knew the English Hawthorn was a pest and readily spread by birds eating the attractive red berries.

It was initially used as a hedge plant on farms in Australia by some of our early English settlers just as it had been in England. Unfortunately it took to our conditions very readily and became a nuisance.

I believe that the idea of using it as natural barriers on fence lines is being revived on smaller acreages, particularly in Victoria.

The Indian Hawthorn is usually only a small to medium shrub that requires little pruning, makes a beautiful hedge with its tough green leaves all year round and a beautiful display of blossoms in spring and summer.

They like full sun and well drained fertile soil and grow naturally to a nicely rounded shape but can be pruned into a good hedge or even pruned as a topiary. Pruning the hedge, or tip pruning your shrub, in autumn will maximise the flowers in spring and summer.

It will however, grow to about four metres given the right conditions and I have seen photos of beautiful standardised specimens with a lovely canopy of blossoms.

The first of my red peony poppies came out over the weekend and are really something. I hope some of the pink seed I scattered has also germinated and that I will have some lovely pink ones to enjoy shortly.

I also scattered some seed from white, purple and almost black varieties, but don’t hold out much hope for those as they are not as vigorous as the red and pink ones. I tried unsuccessfully last year. As they don’t handle transplanting well I spread the seed where I wanted them to be and hoped!

I’ll let you know if I have a win!

I visited the lovely garden of a friend last week that was the home of the beautiful freesias that were pictured a few weeks ago.

Freesias in all shades were not the only colour to enjoy as there were many beautiful ranunculas, double snapdragons, new to me and are really lovely, and many other wonderful annuals.

There was an echium almost ready to brighten the corner with their blue spikes. In another spot was the best gerbera I have ever seen.. 10 spikes of enormous double flowers on the one plant!

I hope the season holds and that there will be a great range of flowers and vegetables, pot plants, hanging baskets and flower arrangements, natives shrubs, flowers and orchids for display for the Spring Flower Show in St Mary’s Hall on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 October.

If you are looking to see a great display of roses before the spring show, the St. Mark’s Women’s Guild Rose Festival will be held in the Parish Hall in Grafton Street on Friday 8 October. Entries will be received in your own container between 8.30am and 10.30am.

Schedules are available from the Parish Office.

Doors will open to the public from 1pm for display, the presentation of prizes, afternoon tea and entertainment.