Acacias, or winter beauties

Floristry, winter flowers

I was not expecting to post again so soon, but I find myself flat out, literally, largely immobilised with a tantrum chucking L5 disc.  The Iron Paw is pretty happy about having company, and despite the pain and discomfort, I’m relieved not to be at work.  (note to self: find new job…)

I very gently took myself down to my local shops to stock up on pills, and decided that I would get breakfast after.  Less standing for me, and besides, you’re not supposed to take these things on an empty stomach.  Looking at the view of bare branches beyond the car park, I found myself longing for the sight of a radiant wattle to lift my gloom.

The suburb I live in was developed well before the appreciation of native plants became more widespread.  Most of Canberra’s inner north is planted with European deciduous trees.  Don’t get me wrong, I love them, especially in summer during a heat wave.  But they make for a winter landscape that is less than cheering.

The wattles are just coming on now,  bringing their bright balls of loveliness into the coldest and bleakest time of year.  It’s now when they make the most impact, but actually, there  are more than 700 species of wattle so its possible to have a wattle blooming in every month of the year.  There are so many that I’m going to focus on species which also cut well for floristry, so you can enjoy them both inside and out.

A. baileyana, Cootamundra wattle: this is the only species that I have direct experience of using for floristry.  One self seeded in my former garden before I knew it was a weed here.  I’ve found the foliage to be long lasting, around two weeks.  I picked them in bud but they’ve not opened yet so I can’t make any comment about that yet.  It’s among the most popular of wattles, but unfortunately its also become rather weedy outside its natural range.

A. dealbata, Silver wattle: this is the species to plant instead of the Cootamundra wattle.  It is grown for the floristry trade.  As this can get to 8m they must have to pollard the heck out of it.

A. cultriformis, knife leaf wattle.  Spring flowering to a much more manageable size.  some sources say up 4 metres, while others say 2.5m. It  has grey, triangular shaped leaves, which do not look like knives to me…

I have also read that a. buxifolia, and A. floribunda are also grown for the floristry trade.  One source (Greig) says A. pubescens lasts well in a vase.  I wonder also about A. Myrtifolia, described as being upright with reddish stems and  lemon flowers over a long period in spring.

At this rate I am going to need a new garden.

NB: sorry for the lack of photos.  Still can’t wrangle why I can’t upload from the iPad.

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