Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pretty Purple Wanderer

Hardenbergia violacea
Family: FABACEAEThis little climber is making splashes of purple in our local bush at the moment. It is a plant of our open forests, from rainforest edges to quite dry situations.
Its beauty and hardiness make it popular in gardens as well - though the plants we buy in Nurseries are more likely to have come from other parts of Australia. Hardenbergia is a widespread and variable plant, and nurseries offer a number of forms including a larger and more vigorous version of our local climber called “Happy Wanderer” and a popular little shrub called “Mini-ha-ha”. It is probably the case that varieties with narrower leaves are the most drought hardy.
The locals are very acceptable as garden specimens, and easy to grow from seed. Never very large plants, they are suitable for a light trellis, or can be allowed to climb through existing shrubs and small trees. An effective way to use them is to plant them beside a native hibiscus. The hibiscus has as open growth habit, so the Hardenbergia is always visible within it. It flowers earlier than the hibiscus, and adds to the length of that shrub’s season of beauty.
Hardenbergias are frost hardy, and prefer to grow in a sunny, well-drained spot.

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