Armidale gardening: Natives can make a cottage garden

Boronia crenulata: Known as “Pink Passion”, this small plant has pink flowers and will flower for many months. Native plants can be a great addition to a cottage garden.

Boronia crenulata: Known as “Pink Passion”, this small plant has pink flowers and will flower for many months. Native plants can be a great addition to a cottage garden.

Cottage gardens are a popular form of landscaping. They usually composed of a wide range of exotic annuals and perennials.

A well-established cottage garden containing these elements, growing at the front of the house, is a very eye-catching feature and often gives rise to favourable comments by passers-by.

Perhaps it is time to consider designing cottage gardens with native plants. Using small native shrubs and perennials avoids having to replant annually which is necessary if exotic annuals were grown.

There is a wide range of native plants suitable for cottage gardens and with a careful selection of varieties you will be guaranteed something in flower all year. Maintenance is low because once established, water usage will be very low and only light, occasional pruning will be required.

More time could be saved if the front lawn either all or part was given over to a native cottage garden, thus reducing the time spent mowing.

Dianellas are known as flax lillies and are clumping plants with strap-like leaves. A popular cultivar is “Little Jess”. This variety produces purple flowers in spring.

Boronia crenulata “Pink Passion” is a small, spreading plant with aniseed flavoured foliage. Flowers are pink with four petals. This hardy plant will flower for many months and would be an ideal foreground plant.

Crowea exalata is a close relative of “Pink Passion” and is a small shrub with aromatic foliage and pink flowers. This is another native species with a lengthy flowering period.

Ground covers are useful in the native cottage. They provide colour at ground level and form living mulch. One of the best is Eremophila “Kalbarri Carpet”. This dense ground cover produces masses of contrasting golden-yellow flowers.

Grevillea “Amethyst” is a small, rounded shrub with mauve flower clusters that are held, in large numbers, above the foliage in spring and summer with sporadic flowering at other times. An “Amethyst” in full flower is an eye-catching plant.

Correas are worth a place in the native cottage garden. They flower in autumn and winter, attract honeyeaters and come in a range of colours. A recent addition is “Autumn Blaze”, a cottage garden-sized plant with spectacular orange tubular blooms.

Brachyscome multifida, the cut-leaf daisy, is a mat-forming ground cover plant with a spread of one metre. Mauve, daisy flowers are present throughout the year with major flushes in spring and summer. The cut-leaf daisy would be an ideal edging plant in the native cottage garden.

A native cottage garden would bring a colourful, time saving addition to your domestic landscape.

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