Thursday, August 19, 2010

What would we do without Wattles?

Acacia decora

Just as we begin to feel that winter is going to last forever, and we really can’t stand it any more, out they come in a blaze of glorious colour, reminding us that the cold, dry wind is indeed going to stop blowing in just a few more weeks time, and spring is truly on the way.
Their perfume is therapy in itself.
This particular plant was abuzz with honeybees, native bees, and little beetles, all after the dusting of pollen which covers the flowers.
The species is called “Pretty Wattle”, and I think it is one of the best wattles for gardens.
It is a drought-hardy, frost-hardy plant, and (unusually for a wattle which flowers spectacularly), it is long-lived.

Plants in the wild usually have two or three trunks, which are never more than approx 10cm diameter. They are said to respond well to coppicing, and I have grown this particular plant to try it out on. Once it has finished flowering it’s for the chop, as I’d like to see whether I can persuade it to be more shrub-like, with multiple stems.

Note that its branchlets are yellow. In this, it differs from the red-twigged form of A. decora which grows on sandstone soil, down Stanthorpe way. This plant is from seed taken just west of Toowoomba, on black soil.
Acacia decora is sometimes available in commercial nurseries, in the red-twigged form, but I prefer to grow the local variety - and would particularly recommend this one to anyone wanting a good wattle for black soil, as I think you could expect a longer life from this plant which is adapted to local conditions.

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