Huggable beauty of bark

One could hug Prunus serrula for its bark.

WHILE I have been recommending blossom trees galore, it is easy to overlook the beautiful bark of trees.

I can literally hug many of these trees, as an example illustrated here (below) is the bark of Prunus serrula (syn. P. tibetica). The red-brown, mahogany-like shiny new bark in spring is the main feature rather than the flowers.

One could hug Prunus serrula for its bark.

Although, the single, white flowers appear in profusion in spring. The distinctive bark of other trees include the autumn flowering Lagerstroemia indica or Crepe Myrtle.

Its cinnamon-coloured bark appears as it sheds when the new bark grows in spring, similar to a snake shedding its skin.

Let us not forget the incredible range of eucalypts and, also illustrated here (below), the Angophora floribunda, a close relation of eucalypts. Angophora costata has smooth, attractive bark. These trees can be seen on the corner of Liversidge Street and Balmain Crescent in Acton, planted back in 1920.

The colourful, flaky bark of Angophora.

CONTINUING on the tree theme, is the target to plant one million for Planet Ark’s National Tree Day on Sunday, July 31. Here, join the Friends of Mount Majura for a community planting event with the planting of local trees and shrubs in the Mount Majura Nature Reserve. Meet at the Majura Paddock behind Rivett Street in Hackett. Car parking is at the Nature Reserve entrance in Antill Street. Start time is 1pm, although I suggest you arrive earlier for a barbecue and warm drinks, and finishes about 3pm.

The Mount Majura Mountain Scouts are providing a thank-you barbecue at the conclusion. Bring your own shovels, trowels and/or mattock if you have them (and label them with your phone number) plus a bucket. Naturally, come with garden gloves, sensible shoes and appropriate clothing.

More information at 6247 7515

DURING our open garden at home a few weeks ago, a number of folk were fascinated by a dwarf holly. I had to admit that I had lost the correct name as it was planted many years ago and said that I would give you the name here. It has been positively identified by the Royal Horticultural Society in England as Ilex aquifolium “Angustifolia”. Yes, I did send a sample to the UK after finding difficulty getting it identified here. After 10 years, it is just one-metre tall with miniature, rich-green holly leaves.

The dwarf holly in Cedric's garden.

MOST folk are familiar with Yarralumla Nursery, but may not know they now sell super-advanced trees direct to the public. These, until recently they were available only to landscape contractors, builders and developers etcetera. Now there is a large selection available at the retail nursery in Banks Street.

If you want instant shading for your home or have a new home on a block with not a tree or shrub, check these out. It will certainly save you waiting 10 years to see major green elements in your garden.

WINNER of the “Continuous Container Gardens” book is Elizabeth Barker of Ngunnawal.

Time to get ready…

GET ready – spring is coming sooner than you think, in just four weeks!

  • Consider coring the lawn whilst the ground is soft (easier on the machines). Top dress with washed river sand, which will trickle into the cored holes and improve aeration. Water the whole area with Multicrop “Ground Breaker” to deal with clay and other heavy soils.

  • Feed spring flowering bulbs with a high potassium plant food to encourage more flowers. Your local garden centre will advise you on the most appropriate food.

  • Water plants close to the home under eaves where the recent rain did not penetrate. You still need to water plants in containers regularly.

  • Cut down ornamental grasses that were left for winter interest.

  • Prune Buddleia or Butterfly Bush very hard or it will get away on you. I prune my three-metre-high buddleias to one metre.

“Bread feeds the body, but flowers feed the soul”. Some of each is great!

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