Friday, February 8, 2019

Devil’s Marbles

Eremophila debilis

Down south, this plant is known as Winter Apple - and that’s when it usually fruits.

However, like so many of our local native plants, Devil's Marbles is an opportunist. By means mysterious, it decides when its chance of producing a new generation is at its best, and this year it has chosen February. I would love to think that it "knows" rain is coming!

For those who would like to grow this useful and hardy ground cover plant, now is a good time to look for fruits on your properties and on roadsides.

The best technique is to plant one seed per small tube, in good-quality potting mix. Cover it to a depth equal to the diameter of the seed, and keep it damp until it germinates.  Some people say they have good results if the flesh is left on the seed, but I prefer to remove it. You can do this by sucking your seed clean. This is regarded as a bush tucker plant, and is quite safe. I leave it to you to decide whether you like the flavour, which I find quite acceptable (if unexciting) provided the fruit is very ripe.

Once the plants have reached a good size, they are can be planted straight into the garden.

To find a more detailed article about this plant, use the white Search box at top left.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Desert Jasmine

Jasminum didymum subsp lineare (Jasminum lineare)

Despite its name, this is a plant we see on the black soil of the Darling Downs. As the name suggests, it is very drought hardy indeed.

It can be distinguished by its triple leaves from Sweet Jasmine, Jasminum dianthifolium, a plant whose simple leaves look much the same. Sweet Jasmine is a low-growing plant that spreads by underground stems.

Desert Jasmine is a variable plant. In full sun, it grows as a shrub about 60cm tall.

If it finds itself close to suitable support, however, its stems will take to twining, and it becomes a small shrubby climber. This means that it may not grow quite as you expected.

If a shrub is what you want, a bit of discipline with the secateurs can keep it in order if it shows signs of turning into a climber. Otherwise it can be left to express its own creative nature among garden shrubs, on a trellis, or in revegetation or wildlife corridor planting.

Desert jasmine is a delight in the garden, because the tiny flowers have a strong jasmine fragrance.  Like all native jasmines, they attract native bees and other small insects.

The little soft black fruits are very appealing to birds.

Its favourite sites are those which provide it with partial shade.

It is frost hardy.