New Anzac Hebe goes on parade

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“GARDEN”, from the French “jardin”, by definition in the dictionary is “a piece of ground for the cultivation of plants, herbs, fruit, flowers or vegetables or a rich well-cultivated tract of country”.

“Landscape” is defined as a “portion of land which the eye can comprehend in a single view, especially in its pictorial aspect”.

Gardens and landscape go hand in hand. The landscape designer could be considered the architect. The gardener is the one who implements and looks after it.

In today’s world of high-rise buildings and courtyards, gardens can be extremely small and still fit in with the concept of being a “garden”.

In Canberra, still considered by some as the garden city concept and others as the bush capital, the answer possibly lies somewhere in between.

Due to the foresight of Walter Burley Griffin, our landscape presents us with some wonderful vistas.

The “Otari Delight”... its pink buds opening up to white, set against deep green, shiny leaves.
One of great importance and considered the longest formal vista in the world is Anzac Parade. From the War Memorial across the lake to Old Parliament House, this vista is indeed impressive and a favourite photo shot with tourists.

But what is the significance of Anzac Parade and the associated plantings? Few folk from Canberra, let alone visitors, would be able to answer this question. The answer is the formal raised central garden beds are planted with Hebe, representing the NZ part of Anzac. Eucalyptus bicosata or Blue Gums each side of the parade represent the Australian part of Anzac.

While the War Memorial opened in 1941, the vista and garden beds were not opened until April 25, 1965 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Anzac Gallipoli landing.

Various varieties of Hebe have been planted over the years, some with limited success. This was mainly due to factors such as poor soil, poor drainage and inefficient irrigation systems. The last was Hebe “Autumn Glory”, which did not perform well here. Plus, it was supposed to flower at the same time as Anzac Day, however with our different climate to NZ it flowered much earlier.

The National Capital Authority decided action was needed to renovate the 28 beds in advance of the Centenary of Canberra on March 12, 2013 and more importantly for the Centenary of the Gallipoli landing in April, 2015.

A number of local horticultural professionals from Canberra and NZ chose six varieties of Hebe for trials.

As a result Hebe “Otari Delight” was selected. Aspects considered were durability for our local climate, maintenance requirements, and pest and disease resistance. It was decided to source the plants from Yarralumla Nursery, a logical decision to have them propagated in the climate in which they will grow.

Improvements to the irrigation, soil and drainage systems have now been completed and planting has commenced.

Once fully planted there will be 11,340 plants. Stage one is now complete with 10 beds north of Blamey Crescent. Stage two, of the 18 beds south of Blamey Crescent, will begin in September. The NCA should be congratulated in doing an excellent job in this heritage-listed project. The end result will be a magnificent display of Hebe “Orati Delight” with its pink buds opening up to white, set against deep green, shiny leaves.

Winter is on the way…

  • A SUGGESTION: shred fallen leaves with the mower, placing half directly onto garden beds and half onto the compost heap.
  • WHEN planting hedges dig a trench rather than individual holes. The roots will spread and develop much quicker. Water in with Maxicrop Plant Nutrient to encourage strong root growth.
  • CHECK out hardy, winter-flowering Camellia Sasanquas at your local garden centre. Great for hedges and honeyeaters just love the nectar.
  • DID you put your potted citrus plants under cover now the frosts are coming thick and fast? Cover citrus in the ground with hessian.
  • FOR an indoor winter flower display, pot up Cyclamen – now at garden centres. Plant out in the garden after flowering.

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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