Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wonga Vines

Pandorea pandorana

Wonga vine is making a splash around the ridges at the moment. with its usual extravagant spring flowering.

A good many cultivars of this species sell in the nurseries. Their flower and leaf size varies, as does the length of flowering time. The flower colours range from yellow to white, with all shades of cream in between. Internally, they have red-streaked throats of varying intensity, and in some of them the internal red seems to have run in the wash, tinting the outside of the bell-shaped flower with pink.

However, it’s hard to beat the local native variety which can simply be grown from local seed. Its blossoms are almost pure white, with richly streaked throats.It flowers very heavily, with long-lasting flowers. 

The plants buzz with insects on every sunny winter’s day, and the little birds pursue them from their hiding-places in the dense tangle of the foliage.
These are rainforesty-looking vines, but it grow in our drier vine thickets, so are both drought and frost hardy (though very young ones appreciate a bit of coddling). They will climb trees (and trellises), but if they have nothing to climb they form mad, tangled shrubs. We often see them in this form in paddocks, where they provide excellent wildlife shelterLittle plants grown from seed have lacy, delicate-looking leaves with tiny, tooth-edged leaflets. They differ so strongly from those of older plants that they are easily taken for some quite different species. They are rather slow-growing in their first few years, so need to be placed somewhere in the garden where they can be given time to reach their full beauty.
A really good old wonga vine should be a local icon, the glory of every mature garden in our district!

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