Thursday, September 4, 2008

A good local native for hedges.

Hedge Orangebark
Denhamia bilocularis (Maytenus bilocularis)
Spring brings us flushes of pretty new leaves on many native trees and shrubs. This wild plant was responding beautifully to some heavy pruning (implemented by the cows over the fence).
It  has been suggested as a good native replacement for those photinia hedges we see springing up all over the place because of its equally pretty show of red leaves.
It won’t grow as fast as a photinia, but once established, a slower-growing plant does have a considerable advantage as a hedge, in that it is more easily kept to a neat shape.
Hedge orangebark will, if left alone, eventually become a small tree, and can grow as an understory plant. However, it makes such a good dense screen if grown in full sun and kept pruned, that this may be the best way of using it in a garden.
It has the additional attractive feature of yellow, bird-attracting seed capsules in late summer.
Faster growth would certainly be achieved with watering and fertilising - but like so many of our local natives, this plant can survive and look good through the heaviest drought, with no watering ever again, after its first few months in the ground.

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