The Verge

Work on the verge, or the nature strip as some like to call it, began about a year ago. It began as a folly because our family normally call this area the dead zone. Growing a native garden under a gum tree can be difficult but hopefully not impossible with the right plant choices. We live in a frost hollow so that adds further challenges. It is winter now so not much is happening. Still, I am like an expectant mum, bursting with excitement and ready to bring home the baby. But as you know, these things cannot be rushed.

The design concept evolved over the course of the year from growing whatever would grow in the dead zone under our brittle gum, to instead targetting plants that were native to our local area (Canberra, Australia); there being quite a lot of overlap in these groups. Unfortunately my enthusiasm was not matched by my knowledge and so occasionally I planted some non-local native species in my haste to get plants in the ground before dry weather was upon us again. The definition of our local region is also very broad covering both sub-alpine temperate forests through to natural temperate grasslands on the plains.

The garden is finally starting to take shape, albeit mostly in my head. To narrow down my plant choices, I began to incorporate a number of species found growing in my nearby local park or plants that perhaps ought to be growing in the park if it had been left in its original natural state. I suspect I have over-planted but I anticipate some losses. By popular demand (a couple of people), below is a list of the plants I’ve jammed into this small space. This list and accompanying photos will be updated from time to time.


  1. Cymbopogon refractus (Barbed-wire grass) – despite its name, very soft and beautiful but highly flammable when mature. I may need to reconsider.
  2. Enneapogon nigricans (Nine-Awn grass, Bottlewashers) – a small, buxom grass.
  3. Poa sieberiana (Small blue Tussock Grass) – beautiful.
  4. Poa spp (Snow Grass) – I think I have Poa helmsii. Maybe too big? Doing fantastically well.
  5. Rytidosperma spp. (Wallaby Grass)
  6. Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass) – growing in nearby park and elsewhere in my garden.


  1. Billardiera scandens (Hairy Apple Berry) – local bush tucker.
  2. Glycine clandestina (Twining Glycine) – growing in nearby park.
  3. Hardenbergia violacea (Native Sarsparilla) – limited success previously but wrens seem to like it so I am trying again.
  4. Ziera prostrata – non-local threatened species. Unlikely to survive.


  1. Atriplex nummularia (Old Man Salt Bush) – non-local (needs frost protection) bush tucker
  2. Eremophila ‘Piccaninny Dawn’ – non-local but an eremophila that survives in Canberra! I’ll take it.
  3. Eutaxia obovata (Egg and Bacon Plant) – non-local. Shade-loving. Doing well.
  4. Goodenia varia (Sticky Goodenia) – non-local. Not what I was after and not doing well. My inclination is to remove and instead replace with Goodenia pinnatifida (a forb) which I have seen growing in the park previously.
  5. Olearia phlogopappa white (Dusty Daisy Bush) – often found locally in alpine areas and/or moist to wet forests.

Herbs (Forbs)

  1. Arthropodium milleflorum (Pale Vanilla Lily)
  2. Arthropodium minus (Small Vanilla Lily)
  3. Bulbine bulbosa (Bulbine Lily) – fire resistant, bush tucker
  4. Bulbine semibarbata (Leek Lily) – fire resistant
  5. Calocephalus citreus (Lemon Beauty Heads) – grassland plant
  6. Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Common Everlasting/Yellow Buttons) – keystone grassland plant.
  7. Chrysocephalum semipapposum (Clustered Everlasting, Yellow Buttons)
  8. Craspedia variabilis (Billy Buttons)
  9. Eryngium ovinum (Blue Devil) – spiky but beautiful, dies back in autumn. Seen previously in nearby park but no longer present. Also elsewhere in my garden.
  10. Leucochrysum albicans (Hoary Sunray) – threatened species.
  11. Mentha australis (Native Mint) – uncommon, bush tucker
  12. Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides (Button Wrinklewort) – endangered, heartbreaker, ie. difficult to grow. I’ve not had much growing it elsewhere in my garden.
  13. Stylidium graminifolium (Grass Trigger Plant) – because I like them.
  14. Vittadinia muelleri (Narrow leaf New Holland Daisy) – growing in nearby park.
  15. Wahlenbergia stricta (Native Bluebell) – native bee loves them. Prolific.

It is difficult to get the big picture of the garden from the small seedlings in the garden. I will post more photos in spring.

Happy gardening, everyone.

Kind Regards.

*Photos from plants growing elsewhere in the garden.

In other said news, last week we found a dead cockatoo (it did not appear to be suffering from parrot beak and feather disease) down the other end of our local park and yesterday we also found one of the juvenile magpies from last spring’s clutch (perhaps the young bird in the first photo) also dead. My True Love wrapped them up and disposed of them. Something (a cat on the loose?) appears to be killing the birds. It is important for residents to keep their cats contained to give our native birds the best chance of survival.

Something Fun

I recently decided that I would create a new native garden under my gum tree on the nature strip by the road, so I got to it by planting a multitude of tiny tubestock plants. Unfortunately the seedlings weren’t very easy to see and the kids passing by had a tendency to walk on them. My friends and I joked that I should install some stakes to deter the less observant. Before you all report to me to Child Services, I would like to reassure you that within moments of that thought, I began thinking of what I could put in the garden to make it more fun for the kiddies.

My son was going to throw out a couple of weird looking figurines that his grandmother had given him. Shhh, don’t tell grandma. So I rescued them and stuck them in the garden. Here’s one. I call it Gargoyle felis catus sp. I plopped it in next to a Poa sp. (an alpine grass).

I also found this neglected mosaic butterfly mosaic (not one of mine),
complete with spider egg sac. Further information on spider egg sacs can be found here.

I then found an old dragonfly mosaic (one of mine) lying around so I put it on the other side of the tree until I can organise a stand for it.

It is coming together slowly. Hopefully it will look better when the grasses get a little bigger.

I am quite enjoying this preoccupation. I hope you are keeping busy too.

Kind Regards.