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Canberra gardeners: advice needed

By CuriousCat - 10 September 2015 15

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Hey there, just wanting some advice on what to plant in my garden.

Firstly, I want to plant a hedge in an area that faces west. It’s shaded in the morning, gets hot sun in the afternoon (summer) and will sit between two giant oaks, which may provide some shelter. It’s fairly dry, sitting at the top of a slope, but I intend to put a dripper system along it. SO, my question is, what to plant?!

Second, along the side of my house, we have a 1.8m colourbond fence, south facing. Although it’s high, it doesn’t provide enough privacy into the garden. So, I’d like to grow something up it against it, and hopefully higher than the fence, that doesn’t take up too much space width wise.

The walkway is about 1.5 m wide and we need to keep about a metre wide walkway there. It catches the hot afternoon sun in summer, and is pretty shaded in winter. Again, can anyone recommend a plant to suit these conditions? Hopefully, something attractive, and not pittosporum.

Thanks in advance.

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15 Responses to
Canberra gardeners: advice needed
CuriousCat 7:46 pm 14 Sep 15

Thanks for all the replies. I’ve looked up the plants mentioned and I actually have Viburnum tinus and Photinia ‘Robusta’ growing as giant shrubs (decades old garden – previous owner did random planting all over the pace) in other areas of the garden – I just didn’t know their names. So yes, I agree actually, as hedges they would be good – but yes, Photinia stinks – I think it smells like mosquito repellent! Perhaps Viburnum is the way to go. As for the side of the house, there is no neighbour directly on the other side to worry about, as such. Along this fence is a large grassy area and footpath, and then on the other side, the houses there are further up the street, and look down into our garden and on to our deck, as does the footpath – just want a bit of privacy from that when we are on the deck. We could put up a screen of some sort, but was hoping for some greenery. I love tea tree, so maybe that could be a good way to go. There used to be a giant cotoneaster there, but it was removed to make way for the new fence… (awesome to attract beautiful birds to the garden, but giant weed and in the way)

Thanks again for all the suggestions!

rubaiyat 3:54 pm 14 Sep 15

…and 1.8m high and only 1.5m from the house and they need to keep at least a metre wide walkway.

Apple trees, particularly young trees, are not mushrooms and even when espaliered they have some width.

On the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice of December 21st, the sun will still be 12° north and the roots of the Apple tree will be permanently in shade and the sun almost but not quite vertical, so very little of an espaliered structure will be receiving sun.

I can’t see the sun reaching anything that close to the south side of a fence for six months of the year and when it does it won’t do it much good.

I don’t know if you noticed the mature date palms that were planted for some insane reason on the south side of the Belconnen Aquatic Centre. Despite their height, most of the bottom of the palms were in perpetual shade even in summer.

They died. Expensive and predictable.

Southmouth 12:15 pm 14 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

Southmouth said :

Espalier apples or plums on your colourbond fence

The fence is facing south.

Yep. I can read. I’ve done it myself. works great on a wire trellis 300mm from the fence. You realise that fruit trees are dormant in winter and thus need no sun? They get plenty of sun for the 6 months that matter.

wildturkeycanoe 8:54 pm 13 Sep 15

Whatever you do, do NOT plant Photinia. Not only doers it stink when flowering, that stink also aggravates allergies in people who suffer hay fever. There is so much of it in Canberra I am completely astounded it hasn’t been deemed a noxious weed. It isn’t native either and needs a lot of maintenance to keep it tidy as it grows very tall.
Be considerate to the neighbor and also don’t plant Pittosporium or “screen master”. That stuff drops little messy leaves all over the place, the house we rented long ago had neighboring shrubs along the fence and our yard always needed raking up of these little messy leaves.
Tea trees are at least native and evergreen, that’s my recommendation.

rubaiyat 7:53 am 12 Sep 15

Southmouth said :

Espalier apples or plums on your colourbond fence

The fence is facing south.

fabforty 6:48 pm 11 Sep 15

rijujacob said :

Try Photinia ‘Robusta’ . You’ll get it in most stores including bunnings. they are drought hardy and like slope as they need well drained soils. Suggestion is to go to any local nursery say, Willow Park nursery and talk to any horticulturist there.

Photinia stinks when in flower. Avoid…… avoid.

I can’t understand why anyone would want it near their house.

Maya123 5:45 pm 11 Sep 15

“Second, along the side of my house, we have a 1.8m colourbond fence, south facing. Although it’s high, it doesn’t provide enough privacy into the garden. So, I’d like to grow something up it against it, and hopefully higher than the fence”

My first though is, is there a neighbour on the other side of that fence? It would be neighbourly not to block their sun. Something I am always aware of and make a conscious effort not to do. A 1.8 metre high fence should give plenty of privacy. Most people are shorter than that. Is there some other reason?

miz 5:14 pm 11 Sep 15

Photinia flowers STINK and attract blowies!

Southmouth 4:28 pm 11 Sep 15

Espalier apples or plums on your colourbond fence

rubaiyat 2:04 pm 11 Sep 15

For the fence try a climbing fig, it is nice and flat, vigorous and tough. Nowhere as invasive as ivy.

rubaiyat 2:02 pm 11 Sep 15

Stick with what works in Canberra, not much does. Something I know from long experience with trying alternatives and watching neighbours replace their plants 3 times as well.

That is Photinia Robusta. A bit woody, but it is tough and grows to fill out the hedge very well. Give it lots of room, at least 1.5m wide, and do not stop trimming it. Lightly and often works well.

In the Yarra Valley recently I saw magnificent, fragrant Bay hedges and as my Bay Tree goes gang busters, this could be an alternative.

pajs 12:39 pm 11 Sep 15

Quick suggestions:
– for the first space, hazels play well with oaks and make decent hedging. Get a mix of types for pollination and you’ll get nuts too.
– think about a climber of some kind, on simple wire trellis, above the height of the fence. There are tough and deciduous climbers available (I’m just about to plant some hop rhizomes to do something similar). If you don’t need it to drop leaves, hardenbergia might work well.

rijujacob 12:04 pm 11 Sep 15

Try Photinia ‘Robusta’ . You’ll get it in most stores including bunnings. they are drought hardy and like slope as they need well drained soils. Suggestion is to go to any local nursery say, Willow Park nursery and talk to any horticulturist there.

tooltime 9:45 am 11 Sep 15

Grab a book called Grow What Where. It has a whole bunch of suitable plants for different scenarios. A great read…

miz 11:41 am 10 Sep 15

Viburnum tinus in both locations. Can be trimmed or left as an informal hedge, gets flowers and withstands frosts and drought.

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