Friday, September 13, 2013


Jacksonia scoparia
I wrote about this plant four years ago, so we don’t really need another blog about it. However, it’s looking so lovely that I couldn’t resist it, and perhaps it’s interesting to compare the present plant with its own self in the older photo.
I love these elegant plants, which light up the bush so reliably at this time every year with their little pea flowers.
Note the very obvious red "nectar guides". It is rather curious that they are red, as the most obvious insects using the plant are bees, both native and European. Bees can't see red, but love bright yellow flowers.  Perhaps they see something else in those red streaks, that human eyes miss.
I had some difficulty cultivating my row of them, in a narrow strip between the drive and the property boundary. Young dogwoods are rather whippy and blow about in the wind, so it took a long time for the trunks to become sturdy enough to stop injuring themselves on the fence.
I had to tie and pad them. I don’t like staking plants, as it allows them to grow too tall for the structural strength of their roots. If you look back at the older photo (use the white search box at the top left of this page) you will notice I have lost one of my row of dogwoods since then. It was always weaker than the others, but last year it had reached a level of sturdiness which I thought would let me remove its tie. It might have survived, but the site is at the top of a very windy hill and a storm took it out. This would probably not have happened if the weather had allowed it to sway gently on those roots for another few months, encouraging them develop the strength they needed.
A row of identical plants can be a garden design mistake. There is always the “Alas poor Yorick” element when the row develops a gap.
However, I do enjoy the remaining dogwoods, and look forward to the time when the gaps will be filled with the  a suitable climber.