The Australia Garden

John Wright, originally from Tasmania, is a journalist with a particular interest in indigenous Australian flora. He writes:-

“After interviewing Penny Streeter for a press article, I asked her if she would like me to suggest some Australian plants for her wallabies.

The idea for the ‘Australia Garden’ was born: Penny’s name for it.

I submitted a plan of how it might look and the idea behind it (once things grow a bit) is to give people a momentary feeling of what it’s like in the Australian bush.

I lived in Tasmania where I worked as Development Officer for the University of Tasmania as architect and landscape architect in charge of beautifying the grounds of its 250-acre Sandy Bay campus in Hobart, blending Australian plants with others from around the world.

Since moving to the UK in 2009, I have been researching plants from Australia’s coldest areas that British gardeners could safely plant in their gardens, helped by advice from growers and nurseries here who report their own experiences with them.

Hopefully, here they are. Some grow together in the wild, whether on New South Wales mountaintops or in cool Tasmanian rainforests, and are selected to brave English winters. All are sourced from British nurseries found thanks to the Royal Horticultural Society plant finder; an easy online place to look them up, as long as you know their often mad botanical names – Correa reflexa var. nummulariifolia anyone?

Don’t worry, they all have common names too: “G’day, call me a Roundleaf Correa!”

The beauty of the clearing they’ll be planted in (planned for April/May 2019, hopefully after the last frost) is that it is several worlds within one: a sunny well-drained bit for grevilleas, banksias, snow gums and acacias; shade for shade lovers; running water for dog lovers and damp areas for others. If ground conditions turn out to be plain terrible here and there when digging begins, the trees, shrubs and herbs will be delighted, unaccustomed as they are to a fuss.”

Emily Grey