Spring is almost with us and local gardens and bushland are glowing as the acacias or wattles are beginning to bloom.
We should repeat a couple of points about wattles mentioned in a previous article. Firstly some wattles have “ferny foliage” similar to the well known Cootamundra wattle.
Most have what appear to be leaves. These are modified leaf stems known as phyllodes. This adaptation helps to reduce water loss. Also pruning is important in maintaining healthy, free-flowering wattles. As the flowers fade, cut off each branch behind the spent blooms. This will encourage fresh growth, increase flowering and extend the life of the plants.
Previously we described some tall wattles. This time it is the turn of some wattles that develop into shrubs, usually reaching a maximum height of three metres.
Acacia amoena, the Boomerang wattle, is a two metre tall, erect shrub. The phyllodes are dark green, up to 70 millimetres long and 12 millimetres wide. Many wattles have a single gland on the margin of their phyllodes. The Boomerang wattle has two or three glands along the edge of the phyllodes. This is an unusual feature. Yellow flowers are held in globular clusters and appear in early spring.
The Boomerang wattle responds well to annual pruning and will develop into a dense, rounded shrub.
Acacia boormanii, Snowy River wattle, is a many-branched shrub reaching a height of three metres. The phyllodes are long, narrow and have a greyish colour. The golden flowers are held in clusters and put in an appearance in mid-spring. The grey foliage provides a contrast with the beautiful flowers. This handsome wattle sometimes suckers and this creates a colourful grove.
The Boomerang wattle has two or three glands along the edge of the phyllodes. This is an unusual feature.
As the common name indicates, this species comes from the Snowy River area in southern NSW and northern Victoria.
Acacia buxifolia, the box-leaf wattle, is an upright shrub that will reach a height of two metres. The phyllodes are almost oval in shape and they are thought to be similar in shape to the exotic box (buxus) hence the common name. Bright yellow flowers appear in early spring and continue to bloom for some weeks.
The box-leaf wattle is a local species and grows along the Long Point Road, near Hillgrove, east of Armidale and west along the Torryburn Road.
Acacia cultriformis is known as the knife-leaf wattle. This name refers to the bluish-green, triangular shaped phyllodes. The wattle is usually a tall, bushy shrub. Golden flowers are held in ball-shaped clusters that are carried during spring. Flowering is often so profuse that the branches are weighed down giving plants a pendulous appearance. Both foliage and flowers are attractive features.
Acacia cultriformis is one of many wattles that grow in the Warrumbungle National Park, near Coonabarabran.
An eye-catching hedge could be created by planting alternate Snowy River wattle and knife-leaf wattle.
These are a few shrubby wattles that will survive, thrive and bloom bounteously in local gardens.