The Border Room

The Border Room has two main functions. The first and foremost is to give us some privacy from the road. The second is to attract beneficial insects, birds and other wildlife on to the property.

A Glasswing Butterfly at dusk perching on the newly planted Bower of Beauty vine.

FEATURED PLANTS

  1. RUBY TEA TREE (Leptospermum scoparium “Ruby Glow”) – this New Zealand native has beautiful little rose like blooms (as seen in the feature image for this post) that cover the new growth each year. It is one of the trees that Bees harvest to create the much lauded Manuka Honey which has antibacterial properties. In fact, scientists are yet to find a bacteria that is resistant to this medicinal honey. It is a large hardy shrub so I have planted it under two large gum trees in the hope that it will effectively compete in a challenging location. So far, so good. (Touch wood.) It will feed the bees and hopefully offer shelter to small birds when it grows.
  2. TULIPWOOD (Harpulia pendula) – this lovely tree was planted as a memorial to my sister-in-law’s cat, a sweet tempered male named Elvis that she had since his birth. It is a slow growing native which is frequently used in urban planting as it does not have an invasive root system and only grows up to 6 metres in cultivation. In the wild it can grow up to 20 metres. It is not edible for humans but is a useful food crop for native animals.
  3. LILLY PILLY (Waterhousia floribunda) – we planted these on recommendation from a neighbour who works in horticulture. They are endemic to the area and tolerant of dry weather and poor soil once established. They have both experienced some pest issues but are now looking good. Hopefully they will produce lots of fruit for jams and chutneys as well as the local wildlife.
  4. BURDEKIN PLUM (Pleiogynium timoriense) – as the name suggests, this tree is endemic to the Burdekin area in North Queensland. The foliage is stunningly pretty. I have a few of these but none have fruited yet. I am looking forward to being able to harvest and cook with them.
  5. TUCKEROO (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) – another popular street tree due to its generally non-invasive nature. This tree has pretty leaves and edible fruit. Our Tuckeroos have had some pest problems. They appear to be susceptible to scale and aphids. I have solved this with Lacewings who tend to lay their eggs on my clothes pegs. I simply take the peg in question and attach it to the affected Tuckeroo. I have cleared up a number of infestations with this technique and the hardy Tuckeroos seem to recover quickly with minimal damage.
  6. IVORY CURL (Buckinghamia celsissima) – this tree marks another memorial for another of my sister-in-law’s cats, a quiet but very dominant tom called Jimmy. It was chosen for its beautiful blooms which give it its name. It’s not as hardy as some of the others but after a few years should be more tolerant of drought and poor soil.
  7. FRANGIPANI (Plumeria sp.) – I was given this in exchange for some Native Frangipanis that I propagated. I planted them along the boundary because they are hardy and being deciduous, I didn’t want them closer to the house. Exotic Frangipanis always remind me of my mother. She loves the scent as it reminds her of Summer family holidays when she was a child.
  8. BOWER OF BEAUTY VINE (Pandorea jasminoides) – this native vine loves to climb a fence and has big, beautiful flowers that remind me of Petunias. It has been planted to cover an old shed that marks the end of the Border Room. Around the base I have planted Climbing Dayflowers, Cornflowers and Lavender. Hopefully this little spot will become a “pollinator’s delight”!
Prickly Daviesia is prickly by name, prickly by nature but the small yellow pea flowers are stunning!

EXISTING STRUCTURE

  1. LARGE GUM TREES – There are some very large gum trees in this room. I haven’t been able to key them out yet for a definite identification, so I can only use the common names: Spotted Gum and Ironbark.
  2. SAGO BUSH (Ozothamnus diosmifolius) – These delightful endemic shrubs have wonderful small white flowers that crown the ends of their branches. These flowers sometimes replace Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila sp.) in floral arrangements. I always think that they look like fairy roses, tiny and perfectly formed.
  3. PRICKLY DAVIESIA (Daviesia villifera) – These small shrubs are very prickly and endemic to the area. They provide shelter to small birds, insects and arachnids as well as bright yellow pea flowers.
These beautiful Frangipani have a place for their sentimental value and lovely scent.

UNSUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENTS

  1. LILLY PILLY – We lost two Lilly Pillies in this area during the drought. I can’t remember the exact species, but they held on a long time in this part of our block which has very poor, hydrophobic soil. I think they were in the genus: Syzygium. They were the last two plants to be planted without excavating a large hole and filling with a mix of the original soil and better soil.

STILL TO COME

Photos of all these plants fruiting and in flower!

Wishing you privacy and welcome guests,

Jane Grows Garden Rooms

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