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The List: Our 5 best native shrubs

1. Grevillea ‘Peaches & Cream’

The almost year-round bloomer has spidery flowers of palest cream tinged with peach and tipped with chartreuse. They are beautiful in a bunch – try them with champagne roses, green gumnuts and magnolia foliage! - and picking will keep the plant compact and free-flowering. The shrub will to 2m high and wide and is very tough and drought resistant.

Photo - Linda Ross


2. Weeping grevilleas

These work as groundcover or spill-over plants and can also be grafted onto single stems as a standard, usually using Grevillea robusta understock. 'Lillian' has a delightful weeping habit and dense light green foliage. 'Poorinda Royal Mantle' is an excellent ground cover. 'Golden Lyre' is a favourite spill-over grevillea, great for the subtropics.

Photo - Linda Ross


3. Grafted Wattle,  Acacia 'Goldilocks'

I love their soft silver waterfall foliage grafted on trunks at least 1m high. They make the perfect hidden cubby houses for children. They need well drained soil to grow well. We like it with Acacia 'Limelight' and lots of beautiful kangaroo paws.


Photo - Linda Ross


4. Native Hibiscus  Alyogyne huegelii

This flowering shrub grows to 2x2m and is good for the back of the border. The foliage resembles that of the scented geraniums. It flowers all spring and summer with deep lilac, chalice-shaped hibiscus blooms that attract butterflies into the garden. It is hardy and adaptable to most well-drained soils. Its natural growth is lax and open so regular pruning is required to keep in neat and encourage more flowers.

Photo - Linda Ross

5. Emu Bush  Eremophila nivea

Eremophila grows in the semi-arid interior and consequently is not long-lived in cultivation. Grown for its soft silver foliage, E. nivea also has superb lilac flowers. ‘Spring Mist’ is an improved form that is far less susceptible to disease and foliage damage than the normal form. It is grafted onto a hardy rootstock to make it suitable for growing under a range of conditions. It grows in full sun and tolerates extended periods of dryness.

Photo - Linda Ross

These bush shrubs will attract Eastern Spinebills

The Eastern spinebill is most easily recognised by its very long, fine, down-curved beak and energetic flight, during which its white outer tail feathers are prominent. Males have a grey-black crown, which extends in a black line on either site of the breast. The breast and throat are white, with a patch in the centre of the throat. The Eastern spinebill feeds on insects and nectar while perched or while hovering. Nectar is obtained from a wide array of flowers, including grevilleas, but its beak is particularly well-suited to extracting nectar from tubular flowers, such as Epacris longiflora. The Eastern spinebill's nest is a small cup of twigs, grass and bark, combined with hair and spider's web, built in a tree fork, generally between 1 and 5 metres from the ground. Only the female builds the nest and incubates the eggs, but both parents feed the young when they hatch.

Photo - Ray Chatterton


Text: Linda Ross

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Author: Linda Ross