Not that I like to harp on about it, but as we are gearing up for Australia Day, it seems an ideal opportunity to honour our local flora. More and more gardeners are converting to a more sustainable model, and our very own West Australian native plants can make up the backbone of landscape design.

These days, however, some very clever plant breeding and hybridising means we have a much larger plant palette to work with, and plants that are more suitable for the home garden. Remember, if you don’t have room left in your garden, many Australian plants do extremely well in pots. Mixing three different plants into the same pot will look fantastic and will flower all year round. Group a few pots together, and use all natives, some with height, some ground covers and some grasses.

It’s worthwhile looking out for the more unusual flora in native specialist nurseries, or the Friends of Kings Park plant sales. Nurseries and volunteers at the Kings Park plant sale can give you sound advice on how to plant, care for and prune your plants. The next plant sale is scheduled for March 13.

Here is a list of some of my favourite native plants, which not only perform really well on one or two waterings a week, but will knock your socks off.

• Anigozanthos Rampaging Roy Slaven Can’t get more Aussie than Roy, a kangaroo paw with stunning red/orange flowers that grows to 1m high.

• Acacia Honey Bun Beautiful little dwarf wattle which grows to 1.5m high and flowers in spring.

• Grevillea Flatout Seriously flat ground cover, spreading up to 2.5m with stunning red flowers.

• Eremophila calorhabdos Growing to 1.5m, this handsome emu bush has hot pink flowers on tall, elegant stems.

• Kennedia nigricans My favourite WA climber, with unusual black flowers and a yellow eye. It’s a rapacious grower and one plant will cover up to 6m.

• Hibbertia Sunny Daze Bright yellow flowers through spring and summer on low ground cover; good for dappled shade.

• Eucalyptus Torwood Small gum tree to 5m with orange/yellow flowers.

• Eucalyptus websteriana Funky small mallee which grows to 4m, with orange curling bark.

• Melaleuca argentea Is a little slow getting to its 10m height, but has beautiful weeping grey/green leaves on white paperbark.

• Darwinia oxylepis This species, from southern WA is hardly ever grown, despite its beautiful red bell flowers that persist from March to September.

Specialist native nurseries in Perth include:

Australian Native Nurseries Group, 141 King Road, Oakford (08) 9525 1324.

Zanthorrea Nursery, 155 Watsonia Road,

Maida Vale (08) 9454 6260.

Lullfitz Nursery, corner of Caporn Street and Honey Road, Wanneroo (08) 9405 1607; and 1071

Thomas Road, Oakford (08) 9439 2555.

Eremophila Native Nursery, 20 Patricia Road,

Kalamunda (08) 9293 2569.

© The West Australian

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