Natives in the garden – part 2 of 3

Gardening friend S grows two different types of Hardenbergia; one with the purple flower and the other with a white flower.

Hardenbergia

Hardenbergia_white

Native to the eastern states of Australia the purple flowering plant (Hardenbergia violaceae)

is a plant that maintains itself with no effort from a gardener (I have one and only occasionally do I trim off some dead or dying climbing strands), can withstand dry conditions and flowers in winter. According to Gardening Nirvana,It was first described (as Glycine Violaceae) by the Dutch botanist George Voorhelm Schneevoogt in Icones Plantarum Rariorum in 1793 from cultivated plants that were thought to be from seeds collected in the Sydney area in the first few years of that settlement. Glycine is the genus of the related soy bean (Glycine max) and this plant was later combined with Hardenbergia, a name Bentham used in 1837 when describing Hardenbergia ovata. The name for the genus honours Franziska Countess von Hardenberg, sister of the Baron Karl von Hugel, a 19th century Austrian patron of botany who collected plants while on an expedition to Australia in 1833.’

S’s second plant offers a pure white flower and is called Hardenbergia Alba. More information about this variety can be read here.

A plant that attracts honey eaters into S’s garden is this Grevillea semperflorens, a hybrid that flowers continuously.

Grevillea semperflorens

About 360 Australian native species of Grevillea exist. They are tough, resilient plants taking many forms; from prostrate covering the ground types all the way up to tall trees. Grevillea flowers were a traditional favourite among Aborigines for their sweet nectar, which could be shaken onto the hand to enjoy, or into a coolamon with a little water to make a sweet drink. Note: drinking nectar direct from the flower is best avoided as some commonly cultivated grevillea species produce flowers containing toxic cyanide. If you are keen to learn more. join an active Grevillea Study Group within the Australian Native Plants Society. You may be surprised when you dig down on their website you will see a long list of special study groups dedicated to other Australian native plants; these might be useful to you.

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