Friday, March 2, 2012

The K-Paw project.

For ages and ages I've been blathering on about wanting to plant a sea of kangaroo paws in my front garden. They really do look fabulous when they're planted en masse and are in flower. I did a bit of a search in this blog and found that I'd been talking about seas of kangaroo paws as early as January 2011, and moaning about the cost as the cheapest I'd found them at that point was $8 each. Since them I've found them for less (about $3 each in tubes), but even better -for me, not the general public- is that I could get them from work for even less than that. (I started work at the nursery in July.) Bonus!

I have to make a confession here: I had put myself on a plant-buying ban for February. I didn't succeed on buying no plants at all; what plant addict would? But until the other day all I'd caved in on was an Agonis 'After Dark,' three Nepeta 'Walker's Low' and two irresistibly cheap Philadelphus mexicanus (mock orange). Then, last Monday, I brought home two boxes of babies and three bigger pots.

I had bought 11 yellow- green kangaroo paws in tubes, 13 red kangaroo paws, five Patersonia occidentalis (purple flag iris), and my three larger plants were Anigozanthus 'yellow gem' (an old and proven cultivar and I chose bright yellow in the hope that they'll make my 'yellow-green' flowered plants look yellower than they'll really be). The Patersonia and the K-paws have similar requirements - full sun and fantastic drainage - so I'm hoping they'll grow well together. Basically, I didn't just break my plant ban, I blew it right out of the water.


Months ago, I planted half a dozen K paws in the western corner of the front garden, and they've done so well it gives me high hopes for the next batch (they've done so well, in fact, that I think I've planted them too close together!)

(Paws left, Lomadras right, persimmon in background and mad roses behind that)

On Tuesday I was able to plant them all. It was quite a job and took me all afternoon: laying them all out; digging the holes; adding the compost, manure, blood and bone, mycorrhizae tablets, dynamic lifter (k paws are quite heavy feeders so it's best to get them off to a good start).

By the time I'd finished my front garden looked like this:

And best of all? The next day it rained and rained and rained all day, which hasn't happened for months, so I couldn't have asked for better 'settling in' weather for my new babies.

(our state awash... unlike in other states, rain is rarely a problem in SA.)

The photo below is taken from our bedroom window (splattered with raindrops), the design idea was to be able to look down over my see of kangaroo paws which will sweep off out into the garden to the left, framed by the persimmon tree (the stick at the bottom towards the left) and my new crabapple (ltop left in photo, almost invisible) and the Lomandra border on the right.

In a couple of years I hope to have not just a garden with a glorious swathe of kangaroo paws, but to play host to dozens of native birds as well.



Gwen Ward said...

I think your design is great. I bought my big sister a kangaroo paw for her front garden when I visited her a few years ago. Love them and wish I could grow them here easily in the UK.

Liz - Suburban Tomato said...

I love Kangaroo paws - I do find they need a bit of water for the first few years though - I have killed quite a few by neglect, but I always replant because I think they are so fabulous.

veggiegobbler said...

I love kangaroo paws too. I've tried to do a mass planting in a spot in my garden but unfortunately have managed to kill quite a few.

Wendy said...

Wow, that garden is fantastic!!! Those kangaroo paws will look really great.