Pimelia Australian Plants Society Northern Tasmania Launceston
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Plant of the Month.

The Examiner newspaper and their garden scribe Les Hodge have developed a “Native Plant of the Month” which appears in Les’ garden page in the Saturday Examiner prior to our meeting on the third Tuesday each month. The article features a different native plant’ botanical details and is illustrated with a large coloured photo of the plant selected. It creates a lot of interest in plants that otherwise would not be so well known. On Les’ page he also gives our group invaluable publicity about our meeting the following Tuesday.
These are some of the Plant of the Month articles.

Click here to view 2010 'Plants of the Month'

Click here to view 2011 'Plants of the Month'

Click here to view 2012 'Plants of the Month'



The daisy family is the largest of all plant families with over 20000 species and includes tiny plants with almost microscopic flowers, through larger herbs and shrubs to medium-sized trees. Many members of the family are of commercial importance because of their horticultural value (e.g. Chrysanthemum, Aster and Dahlia), their use as foods (e.g. lettuce, artichokes, endives and chicory) or as sources of oils (e.g. sun flowers). Other members of the family are bad agricultural or environmental weeds, including thistles, capeweed, dandelions and boneseed.

Two scientific names are still used for the family; ‘Asteraceae” which comes from the genus Aster and “Compositae” which is not widely used these days but describes the structure of the daisy flower very well. When we look at a daisy flower we are actually looking at a flower head made up of tiny florets each of which produces a seed. In some species the seed is attached to a feathery pappus (thistle down) which helps seed dispersal by wind and makes some members of the family such effective weeds. It is worth looking closely at a daisy flower with a hand lens or microscope; if you break open the flower the florets are clearly visible.

Tasmania has many native species belonging to the Asteraceae, ranging from medium-size trees through shrubs to tiny but beautiful alpine rosette herbs. Many of these species make excellent garden plants and the variety of sizes, forms and colours means that a species can be found to suit most gardens.

A very colourful group are the paper daisies or everlastings, belonging to the genera Xerochrysum, Chrysocephalum, Helichrysum and, after a recent name change, Coronidium. They are all perennial or annual herbs which have colourful flower heads ranging in size from about 1cm in diameter to about 5cm in diameter. The most usual colour is golden (naturally enough, since chrysos is Greek for gold) although there are many species and varieties with white, pink and orange flowers.

The paper daisies are generally very hardy and will grow in most soil types with most preferring a sunny position. Some can be induced to flower twice in a season by cutting them back after the first flowers wilt. Many species will self-seed in the garden (without becoming weedy) and others are best propagated by division or from cuttings. Coronidium ( until recently Helichrysum) scorpioides , curling everlasting, with a single goldenflower head about 2cm across on each stem, forms clumps quite quickly by suckering (see photo).

The paper daisies are wonderful garden plants and provide a brilliant display of colour for considerable periods during spring and summer.



The Correas are a small, but diverse group of plants. From those of wonderfully glossy dark green leaves and pale green tubular flowers, through shades of pink, to the White Correa of silver-green, hirsute leaves and white star-like flowers. Some enjoy full sun, while others prefer the shadier spots in your garden. There’s a Correa for everyone!

The Correa genus was covered in this column last year, but Correa alba deserves closer observation.

The plant’s name is derived from...Correa...after the Portuguese botanist José Francisco Correa de Serra, and alba... from the Latin albus white, referring of course to the flower colour.

The White Correa is a versatile shrub suited to a number of garden styles. It is equally at home in a native garden or as a backdrop to a border in a cottage garden. Why not try it in a native cottage garden? It can be used in formal gardens and is absolutely in its element in the coastal garden.

For use in the formal garden, plant them in a row bordering a path or driveway and trim to maintain a neat hedge, or trim individual plants into ‘balls’ as an alternative to more traditional topiary species.

Its beautiful, grey-green leaves are small (up to 4cm) oval to almost round, with an underside of rusty appearance and a dense covering of soft matted hairs. It produces a mass of small starry, white blooms in winter, with some flowering occurring throughout the year.

The blooms of C. alba differ from others of the genus, which are typically bell-shaped with flowers of red, green or yellow, or a combination of these. This Correa’s white (rarely soft pink) petals spread widely to form a star-like appearance. A lovely addition to a courtyard used for evening meals & entertaining, its white flowers becoming luminous in the moonlight.

Of the Rutaceae family, relatives include boronias, eriostemon and citrus, this evergreen shrub grows to a height of 1.5 metres with a spread of about 1metre. A prostrate form has been sited in the hills of Trevallyn, which makes for an appealing groundcover scrambling over a rockery.

Indigenous to the sea coasts of south eastern states of Australia, this bird attracting beauty prefers well drained soil and a full sun position, but will still flower well with some shade. Also suitable for raised planter beds, pots and other containers.

C. alba is tolerant of drought, frost and coastal conditions and is a good choice when considering fire retardant qualities.

A useful plant for binding soil on a bank or as a low screen providing shelter from salt-laden strong winds by the seaside. Early settlers apparently used the leaves as a tea substitute.

Prune lightly after flowering to maintain a tight, bushy habit. If you wish to fertilise, remember a low phosphorus, slow release fertiliser is suitable for natives...available at most nurseries and garden centers in granular form.
Propagation is relatively easy from softwood cuttings - those from the current season’s growth.

You’ll find the very hardy and versatile White Correa at your local native nursery.



The star in the garden right now is the Crowea! While our favourites of spring and summer are fading, this little beauty is steeling the show!

One in a small genus of only three species, Crowea exalata is of the Rutaceae family and very closely related to Eriostemon. Boronia is another relative. C. exalata and Crowea saligna, the other showy species in the genera, are the parents of some very attractive cultivars including prostrate or low growing forms, fine-leaved and white or larger flowered forms.

The name Crowea is derived from the 18th and 19th century surgeon and botanist, James Crowe, and exalata meaning without wings, refers to the ridgeless stems - not a definitive characteristic.

Crowea exalata performs very well in northern Tasmania, providing year-round interest in the garden. It bears a profusion of pale to deep pink, star-shaped flowers for most of the year, while it’s fresh aromatic foliage consists of narrow, leathery but smooth leaves.

Growing to a height of up to 70cm & spreading up to a meter, this dainty, evergreen rounded shrub is a must for any garden.

It is endemic to Australia, occurring naturally in the southeastern states, mainly in the understory of open forests and woodlands in mountain regions.

A very tough little shurb, it is tolerant of heat, drought and frost once established. It prefers cool conditions and grows particularly well in light dappled shade. However, it’s able to withstand full sun and periods of drought with reasonable moisture levels, good drainage and adequate organic mulch to reduce soil temperature. In fire situations, it resists burning, but recovers well if it is burnt.
This hardy, very decorative native has many uses in the garden. Include it in your cottage garden under a copse of silver birch, or in your waterwise garden, alongside other drought tolerant native and exotic favourites, such as Brachyscome.
Perfect for pots - use them either side of a path, enticing visitors to venture forth and discover what lies at the other end. What about dotted through a rockery, lined up along a border or planted en masse under an avenue or copse of small gum trees?

An outstanding cut flower, it has a very long vase life. This plant is easy to propagate. Using the current season’s growth, cuttings strike readily in about six to eight weeks. This easy care small shrub maintains its compact form with occasional light pruning, especially at winter’s end.



Many gardens are visually appealing, but get out in the garden, close your eyes and feel your other senses take over. A sensory garden is designed to appeal to all the senses: touch, taste, sight smell and hearing.

Having proven therapeutic value, sensory gardens can provide lovely places to relax, meditate, reflect, talk or just contemplate...contributing to our overall wellbeing. They can also provide the elderly and people with disabilities opportunities to enjoy nature in a safe environment.

With only a little effort, you can create sensory bliss in your garden!

Design and planting ideas. A soothing effect can be created with enticing scents, flowers and a variety of textures, shapes and shades of green - green being such a soothing colour.

Include herbs that can be smelt or eaten, brightly coloured shrubs and perennials along with native grasses with interesting flower heads.

Provide year round fragrance in the garden by selecting a combination of plants which produce scented blooms at different times of the year. Bird-attracting species are a must, for the song generated in the garden can bring pure joy!

Here are some suggestions for your sensory garden. Dusty daisy bush (Olearia phlogopappa) has masses of strongly scented flower heads (white, pink, blue or mauve) in spring; and the Bulbine lily, Bulbine bulbosa, for spring through summer. A perennial lily with very attractive yellow flower stems above its long fleshy leaves, which are a great chive substitute.

Geraniums, prostanthera (native mint bush), and many herbs provide fragrant foliage and are a sensory delight when brushing past or walking on them. Let them ramble a little over and amongst pathways to get the full effect.

Prostanthera rotundifolia, the Roundleaf mint bush, grows to about two meters, has wonderful lilac to purple flowers (attracting birds) and mint scented foliage. Perfect for a sheltered, moist position.

Leptospermum petersonii, one of the lemon-scented tea trees, releases a beautiful aroma when the leaves are crushed and has lovely delicate white flowers (with hints of pink and green) and bright, green foliage.

The native geranium, Pelargonium australe, has that fantastic geranium scented foliage, but also provides colour in a winter garden. Very hardy with pink flowers and foliage which changes colour with the seasons.

Leaves that rustle in the breeze are another stimulating addition to a sensory garden, appealing to our sense of hearing. Trees such as the Black she oak (Allocasuarina littoralis), which can be tip-pruned early to ensure a tighter, more compact habit, and the light and airy Acacia cognata varieties. Plant them along pathways for visitors to skim as they walk by.

Vary the texture of foliage, stems and fruit from rough, such as the Black she oak fruit, to the smooth bark of gum trees such as new varieties of Eucalyptus sp., more suited in size to our gardens. Vary lower growing texture with the sharp foliage of Lomandra and Diplarrena, to the soft, velvety leaves of Plectranthus, lamb’s ears.

Include edible plants such as herbs and some vegetables in your garden. Rosemary provides year round interest, while the favourite combination of cherry tomatoes and basil are easy to grow and a real treat in summer! Compliment these with natives such as species of Dianella, which have edible fruit, are very drought tolerant and adaptable to a range of conditions. For edible flowers, try Viola hederaceae, the Wild violet, or Wahlenbergia sp. (Bluebells). Why not include them in a salad?

Provide interest when selecting ground surfacing materials. Gravel for paths varies the texture from smooth hard surfaces used around seating, or a water feature.

Always consider the health and safety of those using your garden, especially in children’s gardens. Avoid toxic plants as well as those that aggravate allergies or have sharp prickles and thorns.

After a some planning and a little effort , it’s time to sit back and savour your surroundings...with ALL your senses!



Correa baeuerlenii, the Chef’s hat correa, is a must for the winter garden. Providing year round interest with it's glossy deep green foliage held on attractive stems that are red almost to the base, this plant peaks during the colder months.

Slender, bell-shaped greenish yellow blooms adorn the red stems, and while these enchanting flowers appear intermittently throughout the year, they are more profuse from autumn to late winter.

Its common name is derived from the unique calyx in the shape of a chef’s hat.

With a height and spread of up to one and a half meters, once established, this evergreen small to medium shrub tolerates the odd dry spell, coastal conditions and some frost. This is one of the hardiest Correas for use in the garden.

Of the Rutaceae family (along with oranges and lemons), it’s endemic to NSW but is suitable for other southern states of Australia...doing really well down here in Tassie.

Plant it in a protected position with some shade and well-composted, free-draining soil - it doesn't like to have wet feet for too long.

A light prune after flowering will maintain a lovely dense habit. It’s easily propagated from cuttings.

Aside from its ornamental value, the beauty in its foliage, flowers and form, Chef’s hat correa can provide other functions in garden design.

It can be used for both informal and formal low hedging, clipping regularly to achieve the latter. Use it in front of the native mint if taller screening is required.

A lovely addition to a driveway, or for framing a pool fence, vegie garden or private terrace.

An appropriate medium-sized framework plant due to its evergreen reliability, maintaining appeal throughout the year and over its long life.

Employ it to define the shape of your garden, or in a large garden, plant en masse under a specimen tree surrounded by native violets.

Suitable as a cut flower and for containers, be careful not to overwater.

Honey eating birds love this Correa as much as I do, so plant in a position where you can enjoy the spectacle!



Mid-winter, and a little cheer in the garden is certainly welcome. It might be the warming sun on your back as you toil away in the patch, or the heady aroma from the coriander you’re gathering for tonight’s Thai curry. But while many gardens are looking a little bare at this time of year, nothing beats a spot of colour in the winter garden - be it flowers or foliage. I’m not talking bold and brashy, subtlety is key.

The grevilleas in my garden all possess the more delicate spider-like flowers...they’re just divine and they’re about to burst!

Grevillea longistyla, displays delicious coral pink flowers and fine, slender deep green foliage. Graceful and quick-growing to about three meters, a great screening option, it is frost and drought tolerant once established.

G.‘Lemon Supreme’, with masses of small, but spectacular yellow blooms borne in winter through to spring. Growing to 1.5 by 1.5 meters, it can be used for informal hedging, is drought tolerant once established and is very attractive to birds.
G. rosmarinifolia, flowering now and into spring, grows to about 2 meters, has clusters of red spider like flowers, narrow, pointy leaves and can be pruned to produce a formal hedge.

Another worthy Grevillea is the terrific Tasmanian G. australis, a bushy species with sharp, dark green leaves and clusters of small, white spider flowers. The strong honey scent is very attractive to birds. Another wonderful addition to the garden in winter.

Prune grevilleas lightly after flowering to encourage a dense habit and be wary if you have sensitive skin as they may cause skin irritation.

Banksia marginata has a variable habit, from large shrub to small tree, so specimens should be chosen carefully from your local nursery. It has dull green leaves with a beautiful silvery underside and large, pale yellow flowers in cylindrical spikes from summer to winter. Prune to shape if necessary.
Ahhhh, the correas...pick a correa, any correa!

Eucalyptus ‘Silver Princess’, the gorgeous ornamental weeping gum, has a striking white trunk and very conspicuous deep pink flowers in winter and spring, followed by large, white, urn-shaped gumnuts. Provides year round interest.

Pelargonium australe, the native geranium provides colour and scent to the winter garden. Very attractive foliage changing colours with the seasons. Hardy, suited to most soils and positions...think it’s those pesky wallabies, or could it be paddy melons nibbling away on mine?

Indigofera australis, an open, medium shrub of bluish-green foliage, is covered in masses of sprays of pinkish-purple, pea-like flowers from winter to summer. Prefers a well drained to dry location in semi-shade. Blue dye can be extracted from the flowers.

Crowea’s too are providing colour in my garden now...I’m particularly loving C. exalata and C. ‘Poorinda Ecstasy’.

The common heath, Epacris impressa, is flowering profusely throughout our natural environment. It’s also a great one for the garden...just clip it after flowering to maintain a tight, compact form.

Brachyscome multifida, a delightful, low-spreading groundcover with mauve daisy flowers and fine, deep green foliage. It adds colour practically year round to cottage style and native gardens, borders, pots and hanging baskets. Other forms have white or even yellow flowers - B. ‘Lemon Twist.

Many of the wattles flower from late winter through to spring, some new varieties provide great interest with their wonderfully weeping foliage (eg. Acacia cognata varieties), but of particular interest is Acacia aphylla. A striking upright small-medium shrub with intricately interlocked bluish-grey spiny branches, producing golden yellow flower-balls from late winter to early spring. Great for hedging or screening and attracting birds...providing much needed protection for small birds.
Hardenbergia violacea, the happy wanderer, is an evergreen climber useful as hedging, groundcover or in pots. Fast growing and fire retardant, its profusion of pea shaped flowers is a winter highlight.

Some of the paper daisies persist too if enjoying a sunny aspect, as does yellow buttons, Crysocephalum apiculatum.

Grasses too, add interest to a winter garden, some remain green throughout, such as Lomandras ‘Lime Wave’ and ‘Tanika’. Others change to a golden hue with wonderful seed heads rising high above the foliage. Themeda triandra, is one favourite, the Kangaroo grass. Cut to the ground at the end of winter to enhance the flush of new growth in spring.

Now’s the time to start planning, so that next winter is a wonder in your garden!



One of my garden favourites at this time of year (yes, I have many) is the Lomandra, of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family. Valued for its foliage in particular, it comes in many forms and in shades of blue-grey to lime green and anything in between. These tufted grasses add a wonderful lightness to the winter garden and provide interest, texture and movement year round.

The species L. confertifolia has beautiful, bright green, fine foliage. Its yellow flowers are often hidden amongst these linear leaves. It’s very hardy and enjoys full sun or part shade and is a spectacular sight when planted en masse.
There are several subspecies and many varieties of L. confertifolia, including ‘Seascape’ and ‘Silver Grace’. Both with blue-grey foliage, a weeping habit and small yellow blooms. The latter is smaller and more suited our locale, tolerating frost, drought as well as coastal conditions.

Lomandra longifolia occurs naturally throughout Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Variable, reaching 70 cm high with strap like leaves, it grows in almost any soil and aspect.

My favourite Lomandras however, for their bright, lime green and elegant foliage, are L. cylindrica ‘Lime Wave’ and L. longifolia ‘Tanika’.

Lomandra ‘Lime Wave’ is stunning with its weeping, fine foliage to about 70 cm. Yellow flowers appear during spring and summer.

Lomandra longifolia ‘Tanika’, evergreen and practically indestructible, is a really tough and reliable plant in the landscape. Growing to about 60 cm, it has an abundance of flowers in spring.

Both have a very low water requirements once established, are extremely frost hardy, drought tolerant and perform best in sun or light shade with well drained soil. Occasionally cut back near to ground level to initiate fresh growth.
Outstanding in the garden as well as in containers. Position along paths or driveways; useful for accent planting in borders, under a light canopy, en masse or cascading over low walls. Plant in pots on your deck or balcony and become mesmerized by its fine foliage floating in the breeze.



A clumping, evergreen perennial, the Native flag iris is so named for its lovely, long iris-like flower stems. White with yellow centers, they persist above strappy, erect green foliage from spring to summer. Of the Iridaceae family, clumps can reach 60 cm in height and a diameter of about 30 cm.

Endemic to Australia and found naturally in Victoria, New South Wales and here in Tassie, where it’s widespread and particularly prominent after fire. The Native flag iris tolerates periods of drought, frost and performs well in full sun or partly shady conditions in most soils. Propagation is by division or from seed. Another low maintenance treasure, trim off unsightly dead leaves and remove dead flower stems.

Useful for revegetation projects and the ornamental garden alike. Try it in your coastal garden, rockery or even a container.

An evergreen substitute for exotic iris’s in your cottage garden, providing architectural interest year round.

Create wonderful foliage effect in combination with grasses and succulents.
On top of all that, the Native flag iris attracts insect-eating birds to your garden. What could be better?



Telopea” is derived from the Greek “seen from afar”, and is probably the most widely recognised wildflower in Australia. The Waratah is a member of the Proteaceae family and a small endemic genus of only 5 species, all of which are in cultivation. The Waratah is confined to NSW, VIC, and Tas.

Propagated from seed, or cuttings if cultivars, Waratahs are highly ornamental with brilliant red and sometimes white and yellow flowers.

Plant in free draining soil or on a mound, 1 – 3 feet high, with a NE aspect sheltered from westerly winds, in full sun or dappled shade. Cover the root area with a thick layer of mulch, taking care to keep the mulch clear of the stem. Water in well and continue to water weekly throughout summer, particularly if conditions are hot and windy. Water monthly in winter if little rain. Fertilise with low Phosphorous fertiliser in spring and autumn and prune back by half after flowering.
Telopea speciosissima is the NSW Waratah. Growing to about 3x1.5 meters, with red flowers in spring in large terminal inflorescences up to 15cm in diameter and surrounded by large red bracts. It is of course the floral emblem of NSW and has been in cultivation since the first years of European settlement. T. speciosissima and T. oreades also have white forms.

The Monga Waratah, Telopea mongaensis, is hardy, tolerates well drained acid soils and grows to about 3 meters. It is multi-stemmed, and has 10cm flowers in terminal clusters in spring. Found in NSW. It has a lignotuber so can regenerate after fire.

Telopea ‘Braidwood Brilliant; is a hybrid of T. speciosissima and T. mongaensis found in cool wet forests of Braidwood in NSW.

Telopea oreades is the Gippsland Waratah, similar to T. mongaensis, but often taller with larger leaves.

Telopea “Shady Lady” is a hardy cultivar of T. speciosissima, flowers are not as large, but it blooms for a longer period, and is a popular cut flower.

Telopea truncata the Tasmanian Waratah. It is an upright shrub to 3 meters, potentially reaching 10 meters in the wild. It has a lignotuber and may be multi-stemmed. Leaves are deep green, narrow oblanceolate, up to 10cm long, occasionally lobed. Young branches and unopened flowers are often covered with brownish hairs. 10 – 20 flowers usually red, occur at the end of erect stems. A white form is occasionally seen and a yellow form from the Mt. Wellington range has been brought into cultivation in Tasmania. Flowering is from November to February. A good plant for gardens in cooler climates for example, it has been grown in France, northern Spain, Vancouver and the UK. Propagation is from seed, germination 4-6 weeks. No pre treatment is necessary, but it requires good drainage, ample moisture and soil with some clay is helpful. Prune after flowering.



Ahhhh, the lovely Forest candles - its scent alone is intoxicating! I discovered this dainty little number last year when I visited a local native plant nursery. Falling under its spell, I’ve been nurturing it in a pot ever since...just waiting to create that perfect spot for it in my developing country garden.

Stackhousia monogyna, of the Stackhousiaceae family derives it’s name from botanist John Stackhouse, and monogyna, meaning having a single carpel (female flower structure) - a misnomer as there are three.

A herbaceous perennial found across Australia, except NT, it is widespread from coastal and alpine areas, in heath and grasslands to open forests and woodlands.

Growing to around 40cm, it consists of many unbranched leafy stems which terminate in wonderful clusters of delicate creamy-white starlike flowers with tiny yellow centres, opening from a pinkish bud. Blooms appear from spring through to early summer.

Propagation is from cuttings of newly emerging growth at the base of the plant.

Useful in small gardens, cottage gardens, rockeries, night gardens and butterfly gardens. Butterflies are attracted by the perfume of the flowers and they feed on its rich nectar.

Forest candles is low maintenance yet needs a little TLC when considering site selection. It tolerates frost and coastal exposure, but prefers moist, well drained soil and protection from hot sun.

Try it in those moist, shady spots in your garden. Position next to a sitting area and inhale the sweet scent.

The perfume is especially noticeable at night. Combine this with its white flowers which appear luminous at night and it’s candle-like appearance...I’d say it’s perfect for that comfy chair on the terrace where you like to relax in the evening!