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  • Acanthus
    • mollis   CAG00063

      (Oyster plant, Bear's breeches)
      Height1m
      Width2m
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterL
      LightSun - Shade
      Acanthus mollis
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Rosettes of huge, glossy, dark green, sharply serrated leaves thrust from the soil with the onset of autumn rain. In spring sceptres of mauve and white shell like flowers stand sentry over the brooding mounds of foliage.
      Found throughout the Meditteranean it's at its best with no summer water but plenty of winter moisture and is tolerant of any soil that isn't waterlogged.

      Extremely architectural if given the space or as contrast to other boldly leaved plants such as Melianthus major.

      Representations of the leaves are commonly found in ancient roman architecture and are often still encountered in classical designs of today.

    • mollis ‘Hollard's Gold’   CAG01102

      (Golden bear's breeches)
      Height1m
      Width1.5m
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterL - M
      LightSun - L. Sh.
      Acanthus mollis ‘Hollard's Gold’
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      One of the most beautiful chartreuse leaved plants you could ever grow.

      Large, 60cm plus, sharply scalloped, red stemmed leaves form spectacular rosettes over Winter, from the centre of which emerge each Spring, sturdy, 1m tall stalks topped with large hooded pink and white flowers, enclosed in sharp leafy bracts.

      Both the leaves and flowers are excellent for cutting and the flowers remain interesting even when dried.

      Will happily go dormant over Summer if grown dry, my prefered option as it can then be grown in full sun for best colour and the curled golden leaves erupting from the bare earth each Autumn are a breath taking sight.

  • Agave
    • americana   CAG03139

      (Century plant)
      Height2.5m
      Width3m
      Flowering SeasonSummer
      WaterL
      LightSun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Too ubiquitous in the old field landscape for the collector this, one of the largest of the genus, still offers the same potential for grandiose design that it did to ambitious gardeners of the past, to which it remains a lasting testament of their labours.

      Two metre long, sharply pointed and toothed, blue-grey, sword-like leaves, gently curved and sometimes flopping which prevents too severe an effect, form a striking rosette that in time suckers to form a grand colony. These pups are quite soft and easily plucked when young to maintain solitude. After ten years or so a giant asparagus like flowerstalk bears clusters of upward facing greenish yellow flowers followed by egg like seed pods and small plantlets, after which the flowered rosette dies to be succeeded by offsets. Originally from Central America and found globally in warmer regions.

      At its boldest as individuals in stark surrounds, against flat walls of colour and/or mulched with crushed red brick for a marscape, or with enough space in colonies, with Bismarckia nobilis, Phoenix canariensis, Washingtonia robusta, Draceana draco and Yucca gigantea for a low input unirrigated landscape capable of complimenting even the most imposing architecture for centuries.

      Easily grown anywhere except maybe in a pond or the top of Mt Koskiuszko, will make a fine potted specimen too for a couple of decades though it won't reach flowering size.

    • vivipara var. marginata   CAG02018
      Height1.2m
      Width1.2m
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterL
      LightSun
      Agave vivipara var. marginata
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A quick growing variety, small enough for a large pot but large enough to make a statement, with a stiff almost harsh demeanour, useful for stark architectural style or high contrast with softer forms, especially so in groups.

      Sparse, slightly taller than spherical rosettes of very rigid, long, tapering, glaucous green leaves, generously edged with cream variegation, short, dark, marginal teeth and terminating in a short black spine.

      Spreads moderately by underground stolons and such colonies are particularly attractive but need appropriate space.

      Individual rosettes produce after many (10+) years a spectacular tree like inflorescence, the remains of which are often used in floral art, bearing thousands of erect, yellow green, tubular flowers, in tight clusters, which are much loved by nectar feeding birds and insects, and then rapidly decline and die to be succeeded by younger offsets or bulbils.

  • Anemopsis
    • californica   CAG02413

      (Yerba mansa)
      Height30cm
      Width80cm
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterH
      LightSun
      Anemopsis californica
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Rosettes of paddle shaped, waxy looking leaves, spicily fragrant when crushed, slowly form large colonies from which arise slender stemmed, pure white, cone centred flowers that stain red with age and vaguely resemble an Anemone or Echinacea.

      Both beautiful and seemingly delicate, it is native to seeps and springs in the deserts of the North American South West and is perfectly at home with blistering heat, frost, salinity and periodic drying out. Practically indestructible, "the" pond/dam plant for gardens where lesser aquatics fail and a beautiful addition to water gardens everywhere else. For shallow water or even a moist spot in the garden.

      Cut to ground level once the foliage has died back in autumn to make way for the new seasons growth..

      Not to be confused with Anemonopsis the delicate woodland plant.

  • Aspidistra
    • elatior   CAG03170

      (Cast iron plant)
      Height40cm
      Width30cm
      Flowering SeasonSummer
      WaterM - L
      LightShade
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      These are divisions from a plant I inherited from my grandmother who used it in pots in the dining room to frame the view of Geographe Bay, even more special is that your grandmother / great grandmother / great great grandmother grew it too. Renowned for its durability and tolerance of low light levels Aspidistra has been grown as a houseplant since at least the 19th century when even the wealthy considered windows an extravagance and homes were dimly lit.

      Broad, upright, lance shaped leaves emerge from rhizomes that slowly creep just below the soil surface, forming a loose knee high clump, dark and plasticky (this may be more an emotional response since they appear unchanging). From Taiwan and southern Japan. For where all other indoor plants have failed or for mass planting in the oppressing leaf litter beneath broad leafed evergreens (Ficus macrophylla) with Clivia (another plasticky plant) for a spot of colour.

      Easily grown in any well drained shady soil, tolerant of regular drying out dryness though arid winds and frost will mar the plastic effect.

      Beach houses may be less affordable today but Aspidistra elatior is still a cast iron plant.

  • Eucomis

    (Pineapple lily)
    Asparagaceae

    A generally good bunch of warm season bulbs from sub-tropical Africa which, apart form their moisture demands, are hardy and reliable, make excellent potted specimens and the flowers last for months in the vase.
    Their lush foliage makes them unsuited to drying exposed locations but with a little shelter they should thrive anywhere in Australia with perhaps the exception of the far north or the few areas with regular snow. Their bulbous nature makes them very tolerant of dry periods, by sacrificing their leaves to reduce moisture loss, in Perth an established clump should take several years to die without summer irrigation.

    Pineapple lily refers to the resemblance of the flowering stems to those of the Pineapple (Ananas comosus) which is a member of the Bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae), both are topped with a rosette of leaves.
    • ‘Oakhurst’   CAG01604
      Height80cm
      Width40cm
      Flowering SeasonSummer
      WaterM - H
      LightSun - L. Sh.
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A bulbous perennial with extravagant vase shaped rosettes of deep burgundy, strap-like leaves from which emerge a fat cylinders composed of several hundred, dusky pink, starry, six petalled flowers. The new shoots in spring add surreal flavour and dynamism to the garden when it is easy to have an over abundance of formless greenery.

      Darker than the forms of the more famous E. ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ that I've seen around, which I suspect are seedlings rather than clones.

      Easily grown in any moist, reasonably well drained soil. Colour depth is dependent on light intensity and it is fully sun hardy but expect some bronzing over the growing season. Winter deciduous.

    • ‘Reuben’   CAG02565
      Height80cm
      Width30cm
      Flowering SeasonSummer
      WaterM - H
      LightSun
      Eucomis ‘Reuben’
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A bronze leaved variety, more upright and sun tolerant than most. Erect columns of dusky plum-pink, six petalled, star-like flowers protrude from a luscious clumps of bronzed green, wavy margined, sword-like foliage from fleshy subterranean bulbs. Of perfect stature and form for the manicured border, without being too over the top with its subtle tones, or to compliment fine textured grasses. And it's an excellent cut flower to boot.

      Easily grown in any reasonably drained soil that doesn't dry out much in summer. Winter deciduous.

    • zambesiaca   CAG02817
      Height60cm
      Width40cm
      Flowering SeasonSummer
      WaterM - H
      LightSun - L. Sh.
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A vigorously clumping, winter deciduous, bulbous perennial with lush, bright green, strappy leaves, which rather than being plain are daintily spotted on the reverse, and thick columns of starry, white, six petalled flowers ideal for picking. Excellent for lighting up shady areas where dark foliage is too sombre or adding elegant pizzazz to gardens of delicate palette.

      Easily grown in any moderately well drained soil with some shade. It can loose its appealing paleness with too much sun.

      Not surprisingly it's native to regions around the Zambesi river in north southern Africa although it seems likely that this plant, long cultivated in Australia, is a vigorous form of E. comosa.

  • Foeniculum
    • vulgare ‘Purpureum’   CAG00973

      (Bronze fennel)
      Height1.8m
      Width60cm
      Flowering SeasonSummer
      WaterL
      LightFull Sun
      Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’
      for $3.00earn 15 points
      SEEDS

      Sultry mounds of feathered bronze-purple foliage rank Bronze fennel among the worlds best foliage plants and yet it's somehow rarely used here in gardens despite its love for our climate and sandy soil.

      A tough, clump forming perennial from coastal regions of the Mediterranean where the tender new leaves and seeds are used in a variety of ways for their strongly anise flavour. The low mounds of foliage slowly develop through spring to become towering stalks by mid summer, topped by flat heads of tiny acidic yellow flowers. This seasonal progression of form and scale adds that dimension missing from gardens of static evergreens, time. Cut it near to ground level with the onset of cooler autumn weather to repeat the performance with even more grandeur for the coming year.

      Thriving in sandy soils (it tolerates clay too) its deeply probing fleshy rootstock is well adapted to our mediterranean summers and once established needs no irrigation though a few drinks in early summer can extend its winter lushness if desired. Self seeds too into bare soil, if unwanted chop before seed set.

      Liberate it from the herb garden and mass plant it on the road verge or spice it up with Verbena bonariensis, Stipa gigantea, your favourite Bearded iris and an Agave americana or two for an irrigation free border to rival Great Dixter.

      Scratch into any sunny well drained soil in autumn. Each pack contains in excess of 50 seeds.

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