Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some Spring-flowering Climbers.

Two of Australia’s most gardenworthy climbers are in flower at the moment. You can pick them out from the road, by their conspicuous whitish flowers.
One of them is the native Clematis glycinoides, shown at left.

The other is Wonga Vine Pandorea pandorana.
These plants are named for Pandora, the poor woman who, according to ancient Greek legend, is responsible for all the world’s troubles. She was given a box and told not to open it. Well, what would you do? She opened it of course, and out spilled the troubles, like seeds from the pods of the Pandorea vines. (They always blame the women, don’t they? I have always suspected that Eve was pressured!)
Wonga vines are popular garden plants. They are so attractive that some people are surprised at being told they are native!!!

They are robust woody twiners which have masses of small bell-flowers in spring. They come many colour forms throughout Australia.
Our locals have creamy-white flowers, and are some of the best. Even locally there are variations, with some being larger (as at right), and some having yellower throats (below).

Wonga vine’s natural environment ranges from rainforest to dry scrubs. It is frost hardy, very drought hardy, and happy in full sun, (though it grows better if the roots can be kept cool under mulch, or in shade). When it has nothing to climb on it forms a mad, tangled shrub, and we often see it in this form in paddocks, and places where the local rainforest has been cleared.
As with most Australian plants, wonga vine’s lifespan is not well-known, but you can count on at least 25 years and probably much longer.

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