The Australian Garden Update

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

An Australia Garden has now been planted at Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens. At the end of May 2019, almost 200 plants from the colder parts of south-eastern Australia were planted in The Dell. The quarter-acre clearing, partly surrounded by colourful spring-flowering rhododendrons, is at the top of a gully which runs down a slope catching plenty of sun. 

The Australian plants have been chosen not just for their hardiness but year-round flowering. Many of these newcomers come into flower the moment the spectacular multicoloured rhododendrons finish.

Visitors will soon see that the most prominent of them are the snow gums, eucalyptus trees from New South Wales mountains. Snow gums are used to cold winters, their charm comes from a multi-stemmed open habit and peeling bark.  

Like most of the Australian plants selected, they are relatively low-growing; some shrubs beneath them used to grow as companion plants with them in the wild. Down to the grasses, fallen twigs and leaves on the ground result in looking like a piece of Australian bushland whose unusual foliage and flower will provide a gentle contrast with its Northern Hemisphere surroundings.


Eucalyptus leaves

Eucalyptus leaves

Some species will be well-known to the British public: bottlebrushes, grevilleas, tree ferns, and banksias. Others will seem new to the scene, like flax lilies, alpine mint bushes (Prostanthera cuneata – brush past them or crush the leaves to smell mint). Prostrate correas with tiny bell-flowers, spiky hakeas, prettily small-flowered tea trees, and the endemic Tasmanian tree - a threatened species in the wild. Wally’s Wattle (Acacia pataczeckii) named after the forest ranger, Wally Pataczek, who discovered it in 1972, which will bring its own splash of bright yellow to Leonardslee’s spring.  

By John Wright