18 October 2010

Canberra plants (hedging)

| clp
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So googling – I discovered this discussion on RiotACT from April 2007 about plants the local ABC had suggested for Canberra. Unfortunately the link from the ABC no longer works.

We’re about to plant a hedge out the front and it has to deal with some shade (our street trees are Pin Oak).

Everyone seems to do Photinia but I’m not sure whether I want that or not.

Pittosporum seems to vary quite a lot.

Any other thoughts?

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SolarPowered10:25 pm 24 Oct 10

We are considering planting a hedge of Grevillea Poorinda Constance. The hedge needs to be about 2m tall and pretty dense due to privacy. Anyone have an opinion on whether this type of grevillea will work?

I wasn’t sure if you could go as a private person to the state one unless you were in a new suburb (we aren’t) so thats good to know

clp said :

I guess I’ll just check out the best options at Rodney’s (oh and great nursery suggestions would be appreciated – am I better off going to Yarralumla?)

We’re also going to plant some deciduous trees as its a fairly decent size garden front and back. What are your favourite canopy suggestions?

Go to the Yarralumla Nursery (the state one) they are really great. Good prices and very knowledgeable staff! I have been out and about looking for good hedge plants and liked the photinia, but wanted to be a little different and not as much pruning. They recommended great tube stock at 12 plants for $65 that will grow 1.5 x 1.8 (perfect for me!!!) and have gorgeous purple flowers.

Major added bonus, a lot of new suburbs have $250 credit for plants at Yarralumla, check with them to see if your eligible!!! I was 🙂

Rodneys has some great sales though! I got a fantastic Cherry Tree there (root stock) but for only $20!!! and it is already showing me a few pretty little cherries budding!!!!

I’m not falling for that trick

I have now heard of both photinias and virburnums smelling like dead meat. I think I will go the photinias though as the hedge won’t be near a path as we have one right by the kerb.

Please for the love of those people who suffer allergies don’t plant Photinia, they’re stinky, make me sneeze and somewhat resistant to sneaky applications of roundup.

It makes you roundup resistant?

There are not many topics that I feel qualified enough to comment on but this one is up my alley.

We have a 65 metre (yes, 65!) hedge of paradise blush camelias out the front of our place. (the exact same species as those outside the Crown Plaza). All planted at the same time 7 years ago (by us!), they range in size and health from spectacular to very dissapointing which is not a good look in a hedge. They vary in conditions from out in the open in a low garden bed to under a gum tree in a raised garden bed.

Sadly until they get a good hold on the ground they are problem children. Despite preparing the soil with proper camelia/azalea dirt,we have poured hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of seaweed solution, chelated iron, and slow release osmocote on them over the years. We have also tried three different spray/dripper systems and endlessly varied the watering frquency to find the best result. I even have a 44 gallon drum with syphon hose permanently set up in the front yard to administer their medicine.

I’m sure it will be spectacular in another 7 years but by then it will have robbed me of 14 years of leisure time!

If I had my time again, I would plant Viburnam.

All the ones Golden-Alpine recommends. And camellias are nice too, but often require TLC. Don’t get pittosporums, and I’m saying this as a kiwi that loves them in their native environment. They’re boring as hedges and are used by try-hard builders who don’t know anything about plants as an “architectural hedge”.

As for the camellias by the casino/Crowne Plaza, they ARE gorgeous. I just wish they would get someone to do some TLC on the section of the hedge that is currently dying off, and has been for the last couple of years. It might be some kind of fungus, because it hasn’t spread to the section that has a bit of a gap between it and the “sick” part. I hope it doesn’t go into the “too hard” basket — it’s the only thing attractive about that casino.

Thanks you’ve all been great help. I think we may do photinia after all as they are quick. I think I will do separate natives rather than hedge with them.

Now any thoughts on Goden Rain Tree? It was a suggested tree to plant.

Parkway Parker10:05 am 19 Oct 10

+ 1 for rosemary.

Thornless blackberries. Grows fast, will need training and pruning but has delicious fruit.

Give a thought to life expectancy too – the plants’ that is, not your own (although that may matter to you as well).

Some fast growing native species don’t live too long, and might last only 7 to 21 years depending on species and local site and climate conditions. On that basis, avoid westringia (including W. fruticosa), hakea and some grevilleas if you want a long-lasting hedge. Some people get more out of them, but they’re lucky. However, these groups of plants are valued because they are fast growing. just make sure you have a long-lived replacement coming up behind them if you want your screen to last.

Callistemons are longer lived and make excellent hedging plants if given the right love and attention. But be aware that the wrong variety can get straggly very quickly if you don’t look after it. We have two out the front – one has been left to roam free and grow straggly, and the other is a really good dense little bush from years of pruning after flowering.

Oh, and after you decide what variety you want – go to some of the local community markets like trash and treasure at Jamo (does woden still have markets?) and speak to some of the people there that sell plants. Chances are that someone will be able to order in what you are looking for and it will be cheaper then what you will pay at a retail nursery.

Rosemary grows well as a low hedge in Canberra, and it comes in useful for a lamb roast too…

Noooo not Pittosporum!!

If you don’t necessarily want something you need to shape and have a bit of width to play with, get some Snowy River Wattles Acacia boormanii and plant 1m apart. Strictly speaking more of a screen than a hedge, we have them along the front boundary. They grow to about 6-8ft with multi-stems from the base and only take about 2 seasons to reach 4-5ft in height and over 1m wide.

troll-sniffer11:06 pm 18 Oct 10

After much research mein freund went for cherry laurel. Another one to consider as you search the nurseries for good plants.

Golden-Alpine10:03 pm 18 Oct 10

Polygala Grandiflora

Mexican Orange Blossom

Viburnam Tinus Laurastinus

Leptospermum Rudolph

Grevillea Poorinda Constance

Westringia Fruitcosa

Westringia Wynyabby Gem

Actually googling it was quite interesting:

“The release of this attractive bottlebrush marks an important occasion for Australian and New Zealand Catholic communities: the pending canonisation of Mary MacKillop, regarded as Australia’s first Saint. The Order of St. Joseph, which Mary MacKillop helped to found in the late 1800s, has chosen an Austraflora selection to celebrate this remarkable event. Austraflora has licensed a select team of growers around Australia to participate in this project. The initial release will be in Autumn 2001, with the major release timed for spring 2001.”

So what happened in 2001 then? I thought her beatification was before that – was this last step just a long time coming?

Mary Mackillop Callistemon.

They’ll surely all be sold out after the weekend

I guess I’ll just check out the best options at Rodney’s (oh and great nursery suggestions would be appreciated – am I better off going to Yarralumla?)

We’re also going to plant some deciduous trees as its a fairly decent size garden front and back. What are your favourite canopy suggestions?

Photinia Robusta – grows thick and pretty fast, handles the drought, new growth is a stunning red colour, is relatively easier to prune than other varieties.

Comparing this to Pittosporum… I used to live in a house many years ago that had Pittosporum and Photinia. The Pittosporum was a bugger to work with. Sure, it was a dense green ‘wall’ but it was a lot more effort to trim. The foliage is ‘thicker’ and there are lots more leaves/shoots. In other words, you have to go over it many more times than Photinia and it tires you out faster.

Whatever hedge you go with, trim it narrower at the top / thicker at the bottom (i.e. like a letter A). This will allow more light to reach the lower foliage and hence you will avoid a ‘scraggy’ looking hedge with sparse branching/little foliage underneath. Also, trim a fair bit of new growth flat off the top each year while it is growing so you get a denser/thicker hedge (i.e. don’t let it shoot up to a tall height straight away).

While on the subject, check out this place for a cool hedge… http://maps.google.com.au/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Braddon,+Australian+Capital+Territory&sll=-25.335448,135.745076&sspn=37.591491,79.013672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Braddon+Australian+Capital+Territory&ll=-35.274866,149.140832&spn=0.001051,0.002411&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=-35.274866,149.140832&panoid=uPbCdjkr7mpEGY0aM-od8w&cbp=12,138.29,,0,5

Thanks for all the suggestions – never had to think about hedges until moved to Canberra. The photinias are looking nice at the moment but did hear they attracted blow flies (is that because of the “off meat smell” – never really smelt them before)?

+1 Viburnum – get Viburnum Tinus – copes with sun and shade frost, wind, the works. I have a row doing great about two metres from established ash trees which I struggle to get others things growing under. and can be either neatly clipped or let to ramble into a lovely, wide shrub. White flowers which are pink in bud. Tough but pretty, and a good screen.

Viburnum are what we have out the front of our place. A dense dark green shrub that grows (in our hedge) to about 1.5m. Nice, sweet smelling flowers in spring too.

Many, many people are allergic to the pollen from the Photinia (the common red and green Photina Robusta at least).

Pittosporum are quite good and there are several varieties particularly suited to hedging (James Sterling and Silver Sheen are two we use at the Built-Manor). I love the contrast of the fine, silvery leaves against the fine black bark.

Go Camelias – they are a tough plant, good in shade, grow well in Canberra, and will look beautiful when they flower. the casino hotel has a hedge of these – lovely. And it survives the drunk hoons and beer bottles etc.

Photinias are easy to grow, but one day they will get too big, and lots of people are allergic to the flowers.

la mente torbida4:40 pm 18 Oct 10

Everyone seems to do Photinia but I’m not sure whether I want that or not.

I affectionately call Photinia the ‘off meat plant’ because that’s what they smell like when they flower.

la mente torbida4:24 pm 18 Oct 10

I have a very successful native hedge growing underneath 70 foot high pin oaks. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the hedging plant at the moment. However, if you are really interested I can check it out overnight.

PS: it doesn’t flower but has attractive dark green/maroon foilage.

Alternatively, contact me through RA and I can give you the address as you can see it on google/street view

DeadlySchnauzer4:05 pm 18 Oct 10

Hakea salicifolia. Another native thats hardy in canberras bad clay soils. Not as pretty flower wise as the callistemons, but is much faster growing afaik.

clp – The answer is YES!

Our photinia hedge is bullet-proof, and easily survived the harshest conditions over the last five years with little to no additional water.

Are camellias too hard?

Mary Mackillop Callistemon. We planted about 30 along the back fence about a year ago close enough so they’re starting to hedge now. Lots of buds forming so should look stunning in a month or so.
The reason for MMck was they’re narrower that other varieties.

I used Callistemon sp (Bottlebrush) as they are native, look great, attract birds and are fairly hardy. Prune them back after they flower in Nov-Dec to maintain the shape and density.
Kings Park Special is a very good cultivar for this purpose.

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