Friday, October 3, 2008

Apple dumplings

 Billardiera scandens
My new little apple dumpling plant is flowering already, and it has hardly begun to climb! I plan to keep it in a pot on my patio, where it can ramble about on the the trellis, without making too much of a nuisance of itself. The stems might ramble as far as 4 metres from the base, but are always very fine, and so pretty, with their strong copper colour.
In this country of enormous climbers, it is a relief to find a polite little plant like this - and it’s such a charmer!
The creamy green flowers remind me of 1920's ball gowns, with their handkerchief hems. Despite their colour, they are quite conspicuous, making the plant ornamental.They are rich in nectar, and can attract honeyeaters.
The “apple dumpling” fruits are said to be good to eat. I haven’t tried them, but the story goes that they are delicious when they go soft and yellowish, but completely revolting if tried before this.
The plants can grow in full sun, or in full shade. We see them in grasslands, under established eucalyptus trees, and in the edges of rainforests.
They like all sorts of soils, including heavy clay ones.
They are drought hardy, and can thrive under established eucalypts.

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