GARDENING: Celebrating CQ’s lovely wattle varieties
I THOUGHT it would be appropriate today to write about a significant piece of Australian horticultural history.
Did you know that this Tuesday is National Wattle Day?
Wattle Day had humble beginnings in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1838 and culminated 150 years later in Canberra.
In 1988 Acacia pycnantha was officially proclaimed the Australian floral emblem and four years later the first of September was proclaimed as Wattle Day.
Not surprisingly it was sentiments of national pride, patriotism, environmental appreciation and what it meant to be a ‘decent’ Australian that characterised the Wattle Day movement in its formative years around the beginning of the 20th century.
This was around the time Australia attained nationhood through the federation of its six states, which occurred in 1901.
A drive around any part of Central Queensland over the past month would show the beauty of one of the most Australian of flowering plants.
While there are hundreds of different species of wattles in Queensland alone the following are some that are worth growing.
Acacia amblygona is a fast growing groundcover wattle was introduced into cultivation by former Rockhampton native plant enthusiast, Judge Pat Shanahan, and provides dense ground coverage and masses of bright golden flowers during spring, although it has been known to flower throughout the year.
The foliage can be a little prickly, but sometimes that can be beneficial in some garden areas, by keeping wayward dogs and children out of the garden!
Acacia aulacocarpa or Hickory Wattle is a large shrub to small tree with large glossy green leaves.
Pleasantly perfumed yellow lambs tail like appear during the warmer months of the year.
The Hickory Wattle is a useful plant in reforestation projects as it will assist in fixing nitrogen in poor soils.
Acacia Decora or Showy Wattle is a blue-leafed shrub 2-3m tall with bright yellow flowers. It is very hardy, drought resistant and moderately frost tolerant.
Acacia Decora would make a worthwhile addition to any waterwise garden.
Acacia fimbriata or Fringed Wattle is a medium to tall shrub growing to about 5m high with a graceful weeping habit.
This shrub will become covered in masses of yellow scented ball-like flowers during winter and spring.
Acacia gittinsii or Gittins Wattle is a shrub growing to 2-3m with a very attractive weeping habit and masses of bright golden ball-type flowers in late winter to spring.
Acacia holosericea or Velvet Wattle is an attractive silvery-foliaged shrub growing up to 5m high. Bright yellow lambs-tail flowers will cover the plant from early winter. It will require a warm well-drained position, and will respond to yearly pruning and shaping unlike most wattles.
Acacia macradenia or Zig Zag Wattle is a local native, decorative shrub with zigzagging branchlets, with weeping habit.
It grows to 3-4m in most soils and during late winter or early spring it will produce yellow flowers that will hang on the plant like bunches of grapes.
Acacia oshanesii or Irish Wattle named after one of Rockhampton’s’ first nurserymen, John O’Shanesy an Irishmen who was from County Kerry.
Pale yellow fragrant ball-type flowers that are edible appear throughout the year.
This Wattle forms a graceful shrub or small tree with dropping branches of attractive foliage. Acacia oshanesii has some interesting qualities firstly this Wattle is very unlikely to cause Hayfever as Acacia oshanesii’s pollen is very heavy and just falls to the ground.
It is this quality that creates the landscape feature with a carpet of flowers.
Acacia podalyriifolia or the Mount Morgan wattle provides a beautifully rounded dense shrub to small tree, with rounded silver foliage and mass clusters of golden ball flowers during winter.
Although this plant is known as the Mount Morgan wattle, it is found in the Berserker Ranges around Rockhampton and both the Blackdown Tablelands and Carnarvon Range areas.
In a home garden situation, this plant prefers a sunny well-drained position and a westerly aspect.
Acacia podalyriifolia has been advertised in nursery catalogues from all over the world.
Acacia semilunata or the Moon Wattle is a medium sized shrub with silvery green foliaged, growing to around three metres high.
During July and August masses of pale yellow ball shaped flower that will cluster together at the end of the branches.
The common name is derived from the semi-moon shaped foliage that this plant possesses. This particular shrub has a special significance for me as a 12 year old it was the very first plant that I ever propagated from seed, and planted within the garden at home.