Gardening friend S has an enormous garden that includes edibles and other plants. When she sent me glorious photos of a number of very healthy specimens that have been luxuriating in a winter sun, I knew they must be shared with you.
From the Rutaceae family comes the Correa Alba.
The details of this common local shrub can be read here. It is a plant which flowers through winter with small white flowers. It grows well in free draining soils, in full sun or part shade. This bush can be pruned for topiary purposes, but S lets her Correa Alba grow freely and unrestrained. These bushes provide a wonderful safe habitat for small native birds to enter and forage for insects that also value safety from larger predators – alas for the insects, the birds get the best of this situation. In Tasmania Correa alba is commonly found growing on exposed rocky and sandy areas on the north and east coasts, when not in local gardens. Apparently wombats have been known to eat the leaves and roots so I wonder if any wander onto S’s property for a feed. According to Wikipedia ‘The 1889 book “The Useful Native Plants of Australia” records that common names included ” Cape Barren Tea” in Tasmania, and that “The leaves of this plant have been used by the sealers on the islands in Bass’s Straits as a substitute for tea”.’ S take note – I will visit you one day hoping for a cuppa!
S also grows another plant from the same family, a Correa lawrenceana
The Correa lawrenceana, named after the short-lived Tasmanian botanist R. Lawrence, is taller than it’s Alba cousin, and prefers to grow in moister soil. The flower shape is very different with it’s gorgeous long bell form, a feature which is attractive to honey eating birds. The delicate red colour blushes increasingly strongly as it moves towards the flower’s opening edges. If you want this plant in your garden more details can be read here.