Spring has sprung and Wattle Day was celebrated on September 1.
At this time of the year both bushland and gardens become a blaze of yellow.
Many wattles began to flower in mid to late winter, while others burst into bloom in late spring and sometimes early summer. With a careful variety selection, you could have a long procession of wattle flowers for many months.
With more than 1000 species, there is a wattle for every horticultural situation. They range in size from ground covers to tall trees. The Northern Tablelands is home to over 60 species.
Wattle foliage is variable. Many have what appear to be leaves. Looks are deceiving as these “leaf-like” structures are modified leaf stems known as phyllodes that help to reduce water loss. A few wattles have “ferny-leaved” true leaves such as the well known Cootamundra wattle.
Flowers are held in clusters composed of a number of individual blooms.
Wattles are not demanding plants. Usually the only maintenance required is pruning after the flowers fade. At this time, cut off each branch behind the spent flowers. Pruning will maintain foliage density, improve flowering, and most importantly, pruning will prolong the life of wattles.
Small wattles suitable for local gardens are included below. Next time it will be the turn of taller species.
Acacia flexifolia, the bent-leaf wattle, is a herald of spring. This small wattle, reaching a height less than two metres, bursts into bloom mid-July or early August. The yellow flower heads are small but profuse andcan light up the garden in the cooler months.
Acacia dawsonii, the mitta mitta wattle, is a small shrub reaching a height just over a metre. Up to nine individual flowers are held in each globular cluster. Plants in flower stand out in the garden.
Acacia buxifolia, the box-leaved wattle, is another small species.There is a form with a purplish tinge to the foliage. The flower clusters are bright yellow and in spring are both profuse and conspicuous.
The box-leaved wattle is widespread. One of its strongholds is the Long Point Road near Hillgrove.