Strip show to lift the soul

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VISITORS to Canberra often comment to me about the endless dreariness of our nature strips, usually unmown and unkempt.

Nature strips to lift the soul… in Ebden Street, Ainslie.
Nature strip to lift the soul… in Ebden Street, Ainslie.
The householder’s lament is always: “It’s not our responsibility, it’s the Government’s”. But that’s not true.

While it is easy to make excuses, there are exceptions that lift the soul. I have illustrated here an example seen in Ebden Street, Ainslie demonstrating that, with careful plant selection and little, if any, watering, it can be done with no mowing.

FIRST published in 1979, the latest edition of “Australian Native Plants” (New Holland, 720 pages, rrp $99.95) is the ultimate plant finder.

imgsize.phpWritten by John W. Wrigley, with excellent photos by Murray Fagg, the book is now in its sixth edition and has enabled amateur gardeners and professional landscape architects to easily identify native plants.

Since that first edition, it has never been out of print and has been the book of choice for native plant lovers since it was first published.

This latest edition has been completely revised due, in part, to the hundreds of new species and cultivars now available. There has been a quiet revolution, not only here but worldwide, on how botanists classify plants.

Every plant is shown with a series of symbols to advise on the suitability for a particular purpose, ranging from their frost sensitivity to bird attracting and soil types. This advice is invaluable when considering plants for your own garden.

The first 100 pages provide all the advice you need on growing native plants, from soils to how to deal with pests and diseases.

Wrigley’s knowledge of Australian plants spans 50 years; he was curator at the Australian National Botanic Gardens from 1967 to 1981 and appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1983 for services to the study and cultivation of Australian flora. With Murray Fagg, he has written more than 13 books on Australian plants.

Fagg managed the Botanical Information Unit at the ANBG for more than 25 years and was on the executive of the Australian National Herbarium until his retirement in 2012. This was after an amazing 42 years with the Botanic Gardens.

The professionalism of Fagg’s photography is evident in this new edition, which is available from the ANBG bookshop.

A SPECTACULAR display of roses and potted plants, floral art plus the popular plant stall with all plants grown by members will feature at the Horticultural Society’s “Spring Exhibition and Rose Show” at the Wesley Church Centre, National Circuit, Forrest, noon-5pm, on Saturday, November 16 and 11.30am-3.45pm, on Sunday November 17. Free entry and free parking. More information at

THE CITY spring plant sale, which includes a range of seedlings, natives, shrubs, vegetables, flowers and trees prepared by horticulture students, will be held at CIT Bruce (entrance off Eade Street), 9am-4pm, on Saturday, November 16.


  • Get rid of saucers under outdoor containers that promote root rot. Lift the pots off the ground, even when on paving.
  • Apply Neutrog “Seamungus Crumble”, a crumble form of chook poo and seaweed especially for pots.
  • Plant Asters (Michaelmas daisies) now for autumn colour.
  • Prune Spiraea (May bush) by at least a quarter to a third 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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