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  • rosscolliver

The seasonal colour blast

The Correa has been in flower in Barrm Birrm since June, pale yellow bells scattered through the low plants. I planted a couple of the same plant five years ago in my own garden, and they have grown now to massive clouds of green that fill out the edge of the garden. But where are their flowers? While their wild cousins deck themselves out, my domestic Correa has barely any.

The domesticated Correa in my garden

They’ve been bred that way, all green billow and very little flower.

Across the road in Barrm Birrm, I go hunting for the wild version. Correa reflexa. They are scattered here and there in the lower slopes, but then I find a creek bank edged with plants. Their leaves are sparse and without the glossy green that comes with breeding, but the flowers are profuse.

I like this plant, the way it doesn't grow large, but always blooms with confidence.

Hardenbergia is another native that lives in two worlds. Hardenbergia violacea. On my veranda, this ‘bred to please’ native is a riot of purple, and I have to give it a judicious prune each summer to stop it completely taking over the frame around the deck.

Over in Barrm Birrm, it is more elusive. It stays low to the ground and spreads out a metre or two. Its flowers are no less brilliant but they are less obvious, and you have to look for the plant. Once your eye is in, you’ll find it everywhere.

Clematis, Grevillea, the ferocious Hakea, Bushy Needlewood, that the small birds love to hide in—the same pattern repeats. Sparse plants that need keen eyes to find them in the wild; luxuriant and rather obvious plants in their domestic incarnation. Show ponies. I prefer their wild progenitors, living by their wits.

Head up to Barrm Birrm this Spring and let your eyes wander into the grassy meadows. You’ll find these plants and more hanging out there, doing their seasonal colour blast.

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