THERE is great excitement in the plant world here in Canberra.
On March 12, 2010 the then-Chief Minister Jon Stanhope announced the plant chosen as our centenary flower was to be a Correa.
A panel considered 250 suggestions from the community to finally choose Correa “Canberra Bells”.
The panel included representatives from the Australian National Botanic Gardens, The Australian Native Plant Society, Yarralumla Nursery and, most importantly, Peter Ollerenshaw, of Bywong Nursery.
Ollerenshaw is the breeder of this all-new hybrid Correa with the registered botanical name of appropriately Correa C100. This is a cross between two hardy correas, C. “Mannii” and C. “Federation Belle” that were known to grow well in this area.
Bywong Nursery has had for many years a special breeding program for new varieties and it was particularly appropriate that this new variety of Correa was bred locally.
In the last 12 months thousands of Correa “Canberra Bells” have been grown.
Now to the really exciting part of the story (yes, I still get excited about new plants) – Correa “Canberra Bells” is now available at the Yarralumla Nursery, in Banks Street, and other garden centres.
As can be seen from the photo, this will look really great grown in a bold group of three to five plants.
Planted now, they will be well and truly established and in full flower in Canberra gardens for our Centenary next year.
It is also appropriate that Yarralumla Nursery is involved with growing this plant in the local climate. Yarralumla Nursery has been one of the most important elements in the growth of our treed city since 1914.
NOW to some of the super features of Correa “Canberra Bells”. Stunning two-tone red and cream, bell-like flowers appear over a long period in late summer/autumn.
Naturally, it is drought resistant, hardy and frost tolerant, some of the advantages of having been bred locally.
For the Aussie bush garden or mixed with exotic shrubs it will look equally at home, growing to one metre tall with a similar spread. A lover of full sun, as with most Aussie plants, but will tolerate light shade.
Likewise, it tolerates periods of dryness, although naturally likes a regular watering, especially during the flowering period.
An ideal way of watering is by drip irrigation so the moisture soaks down to the root ball.
At the time of planting, water in with a seaweed, liquid-plant nutrient to encourage strong root development.
Apply this regularly for the first few months to get the plant off to a good start.
Correa “Canberra Bells” needs little attention except for a light prune after flowering.
WITH little rain in January, our gardens are starting to dry out.
Although plants have not been suffering from our usual bursts of heat at this time, we can be lulled into a false sense of security, so a few checks should be carried out.
Simply dig a few holes here and there to assess the level of moisture, it may be dry in the top few centimetres, but still moist at the root level.
On the other hand, like money in the bank, do not let the deposits, ie water level get too low before topping up.
I am at present turning on the drip system once a week for one hour.
Or when the temperatures rise over 30C, for two hours once a week, one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening to allow the water to soak to the roots.