When landscaping a new area or adding to an established garden it’s a good idea to shop in all seasons, I love to shop for plants on a Sunday afternoon in the local nursery checking out what’s new and looking fabulous. The reason for this is while establishing my garden I will end up with a range of plants flowering in each season. If you plant your whole garden out in one season you will be naturally drawn to what’s looking good at the time of your visit. This could end up leaving your garden looking drab and without anything flowering in the rest of the seasons for the year.
What’s looking good right now? The fabulous Kunzea baxteri is looking sensational bearing rich red flowers to take our breath away. The flowering period is quite long ranging from spring to winter with the height of the flowering season in mid-winter when we need a little lift in the garden. The flowers resemble those of the Callistemon, Melaleuca and Leptospermum. It’s not surprising that they are all members of the Myrtaceae family as they share some similar characteristics. The Kunzea is commonly called ‘Scarlet Kunzea’ or ‘Tick bush’ an Australian native suited to our local region. If red flowers don’t tickle your fancy there are other species with fluffy white, yellow, pink and orange flowers. When planning to plant this evergreen shrub take into account the size as eventually it will grow to 3m high. Soft mid green foliage on long lengthy stems makes this plant a great screening plant when planted in rows or just a stand out accomplishment to any native garden theme. Good drainage and full sun are the essential needs to growing a healthy specimen. Kunzea sp is naturally distributed on the south coastal areas of Western Australia and grows happily in Victoria and is well suited to our climate. This is a really important factor when selecting plants for a native garden to ensure success and longevity always take into account what area or region a plant is indigenous too. What the Kunzea baxteri will do is bring some lovely bird life to your garden including parrots . Plants that are bird attractors are a real benefit to the garden providing shelter, food and nesting places for both birds and animals.
Kunzea baxteri ‘s common name’, tick bush’ comes from a relationship with birds and animals which have been found to seek shelter beneath the bush as the natural aroma and oils of the plant give relief from ticks and other parasites. It is not unusual to find such small animals sleeping beneath the tranquillity of the Kunzea. The new growth holds a number of components used in the distillery industry for essential oils. Tasmania boasts an essential oil market producing products from wild stocks of various Kunzea species and now a growing industry in therapeutic supplies. Perhaps a Sunday after trip not just to my local nursery but to Tasmania should be on the list?