CULTIVATING INDIGENOUS FLOWERS. GARDENING OPPORTUNITIES. WORK FOR PLANT LOVERS. [BY OUR HORTICULTURAL REPORTER The special section of the Melbourne Bo- tanic Gardens devoted to native tree, shrubs and flowering plants forms an in- tcresting object lesson, but it is one that has failed to encourage popular cultivation of indigenous flora in Victorian gardens. In a few isolated instances, and notably the garden established at Toorak by Mr. Rutter Clarke, there are examples of seri- ous effort to exploit the rich field of native plants, but we have yet to see Australian flora given prominence in Australian nur- sery catalogues. Many of our nurserymen have propagated native plants, but they have failed to make the work successful from a commercial point of view. From time to time amateur gardefiers are bom- barded with printed matter relating to im- ported "novelties," and the same enter- prise, surely, should create a demand if directed to the advertising of a "new" Australian flower. It can be done. A Victorian nurseryman, for example, propa- gated Leschenaultia biloba, and to-day this dwarf shrub is now a popular garden plant. It has been staged in masses at a Mel- bourne Town Hall show, and at the present time it may be seen in flower in one of the beds on the Oak lawn at the Melbourno Botanic Gardens. It has heath-like foliage, and it requires soil conditions suited to the successful growing of Ericas. One reflex action of the recent Wild Flower Show in Melbourne, and also of the more recent State Schools Flower Show, is the increased demand on Victorian nur- serymen for native plants. Visitors to these shows were loud in their praise of the beauty of the flowers, and frequent lists of names were taken by them. Nur- serymen now state that inquiries are com- ing in freely for these plants. There is a certain reluctance on their part to make a start at stocking them, for many of them are difficult of propagation, and the de- mand after all would be fairly limited. For, while such plants as Roses and Dahlias are bought by the thousands these shrubs would be purchased in few numbers. But if the numerous values of the shrubs and plants were realised, and if their beauty were more advertised, as suggested, the demand would rapidly increase. CRIIMSON MANUKA. Take, for instanoe the very beautiful Crimson Manuka, Leptospermum Scopa- rium Nicholli, but little known here. Yet its dainty beauty was sufficient to win for it the gold cup awarded by King George for the best exhibit at the show of the Royal Horticultural Society of England. Its dark purple foliage is distinctive enough, and when the dark crimson flowers open it displays a really glorious gleam of beauty. Care should be taken, in purchasing plants that the foliage is dark, for the light foliaged types usually throw white flowers. GRAMPIANS HEATH MYRTLE. In the opinion of some enthusiasts pride of place in the shrub garden should be given to the Grampians Heath Myrtle, Thryptomene Mitchelliana. It is sweetly dainty with its masses of small white heath like flowers, pink centred, and lasting for quite a long time. It will make itself at home in almost any soil. HIBISCUS. The large heliotrope blooms of Hibiscus Huegelii make this Western Australian shrub welcome in any garden. As the plant has quite a long flowering period, lasting over many months, this attribute is quite a desirable one. It does not last for many years, but as it layers readily the stock is easily kept up. BORONIA. Boronia is one of the few Australian flowers to become popular enough to justify extensive cultivation. However, Boronia pinnata, the delicatoly pale pink variety, is not so well known as the brown type. It is a lovely, light growing shrub, and thrives best in sandy soil. A GOOD BLUE. Among blue flowers, there is hardly any flower to equal Leschenaultia biloba, al ready mentioned. The blue of the flower is very clear and fine. As a cut flower, it will keep in water for two or three weeks. This plant prefers a fairly dry position in the garden. A GOOD WINTER FLOWER. The combination of colors in Chorizema ilicifolia and Chorizema cordata is very wonderful. The shrubs-low-growing-have. a profusion of pea-shaped flowers of two colors, scarlet and magenta; these almost hide the foliage with their masses. They flower all through the winter, and this feature alone should make these plants at- tractive to gardeners. AN ATTRACTIVE TRIO. Another shrub flowering all through the winter is the Waxflover, Eriostemon neriifolium. The waxy pink and white flowers are sweetly perfumed. Crowea saligna, a bright pink, free-flowering, low shrub, is closely related to the Erioste mons, of which there are close on three score types to choose from. Crowea brightens up the shores of Sydney harbor with its lovely starry flowers all the win- ter. THE PULTENAS. Puitenea rosea, that rare pink flowered shrub with rose pink flowers, from tihe Grampians-the only pink-flowered one among half a gross of congeries with yel- low and brown flowers--is, too, a charming shrub. Pultenca ternata, a rare species from the North-East, excited much com- ment and praise at the State schools' show, as did P. juniperina and P. Gunnii. THE HOVEAS. Among rare but very welcome shrubs are the Hoveas; there are a dozen of them, Hovea longifolia and H. chorizenifolia are really glorious. With their rich blue flowers, shining from the dark leaves, they are ornaments, for any garden and situa-
tion. These flower in the Australian bor- ler in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. GREVILLEAS AND HAKEAS. Many Grevilleas are known to gardeners. G. rosearinifolia is striking with its rich pink flowers. Here, too, is a fine sturdy and close-growing plant for hedge purposes. Such species as G. Hookeriana (rose), G. Banksii (red), G. asplenifolia. (rose), G. oleoides (crimson) and G. sericea (silky grey) are occasionally seen in gar- dens, but there remain dozens more out in the wilds, and nearly all suitable for any garden. Allied to these are the Hakeas, of which the Cushion flower, Hakea laurina, commonly known as H. eucalyptoides, is known by its charming winter flowers, globular in shape, and rose pink and white in color. The Hakeas are noted for the very fine bronzy tints with which the young foliage of all species is endowed. There is a round hun- dred of them, many of which, owing to their prickly foliage, make fine and effec tive hedge plants. They are all good honey plants as well. A GOOD DAISY: The daisy family possesses many good shrubs. One of the gems is Olearia stel- lulata, a riverside -shrub, producing a pro- fusion of daisy-like white flowers in spring time. Another plant belonging to this family, Colocephalus Brownii, a low-grow ing plant, every part of which is covered with a white vestiture of hairs--making it a good clear grey color--is used for borders and color work in the Sydney Botanic Gar- dens. This is common along our coastal sand hills. NATIVE INDIGO. The native Indigo, Indigofera australis, is a dainty, low-growing shrub, with fine rose-pink racemes of flowers. A pure white form hlas been found at Beacons- field. PITTOSPORUMS. Among the well-known Pittosporums is P. phallyroides, the Willow Pittosporum. It is a light growing shrub, with fine creamy flowers, sweetly scented followed by orange yellow fruits. Closely related to the prickly bush. Bursoria spinosa, hav- ing masses of white, strongly scented flowers, flowering in summer. This makes a really fine shrub. Another relation is the beautiful blue climber from Western Australia, Solly Leterophylla. Its charming pendent blue bells make it a welcome plant for any fence, lattice or pergola. CLEMATIS AND KENNEDYAS. While discussing climbing plants, the Clematis must not be passed; the white C. aristata and the cream C. microphylla thrive wonderfully in gardens. The climb- ing Kennedyas are also good. K. nigri- cans, the black and yellow flowered species, is very quick growing; K. rubicunda, with dull red flowers, is also good. K. coccinea, another form from Western Australia, is a bright plant: while K. Beckxiana, a good red form, is quite one of the best. Hardenbergia-it should be better known as Kennedya-Comptoriana, is that glori- ous sarsaparilla, with rich purplish blue flowers, that blooms so profusely in spring. It is a much more rampant grower than our own wikd sarsaparilla, H. monophylla. There are three lovely forms of H. mono- pIhylla, which are more of a shrubby na- ture, bearing white, purple and rose color- ed flowers respectively. The latter is a grand shrub for any garden. BOTTLE BRUSHES. The various shrubs commonly called bottle brushes are more or less known as Melaleuca and Callistemon. T'here is over a hundred of them. The robin red breast bush, Melaleuca laterita, produces pretty flowers, bright scarlet in color, the plant running to 10 feet in height. Melaleuca leucadendron gives flowers in shades of red, pink, cream and white. Callistemon phoeniceus, C. lanceolatus, C. coccineus and C. linearis all have the brushes, fine and large, in varying shades of red. C. brachy- andrus is a pretty flowered crimson form with yellow stamens. BIRD FLOWERS. The bird flowers, Crotalaria, are good shrubs, with bright green foliage, and clear yellow flowers. The flowers, when swing ing on the stems, are just like small birds in flight. The resemblance is very strik- ing. THE PROSTANTHERAS. Of the mint bushes, Prostanthera Sieberi and P. rotundifolia are well known as fine low growing shrubs, with purple flow- ers. P. lasianthos flowers at Christmas, with beautiful clusters of pale heliotrope and purple flowers. It is a fairly tall one. P. nivea is a glorious species, with pure white floweers; and an allied plant, also beautiful with white flowers, is West ringia rosmarinifolia. DARLING PEA. The Darling Pea, Swainsoria galegifolia, will always be popular on account of its profusion of flowers, which lasts for seve- ral months. In shades of magenta, rose, red, pink and also white, as a low grow ing plant it is always welcome. S. Macul- ochiana, a species rarely seen nowadays, is perhaps the finest of all. CREPE MYRTLE. Lagerstroemia indica is classed by Baron von Mueller as an Australian native, while other botanists consider it to be an intro- duced plant. Certainly this plant, the Crepe Myrtle, is worthy of a place in any shrub garden. Its large crepe-like flowers, in three shades of pink, rose pink and white, followed in the autumn by good autumn foliage make it a charming shrub. FLUFFY FLOWERED SHRUBS. Calythrix Sullivani, from thle Grampians, and c.. tetragona, from the rocky southern streams, are fine pink fluffy-Ilowered
shrubs. Western Australia possesses nearly three dozen of them. L. Lotzkya genetylloides, also from the Grampians, with heath-like foliage and small starry pink flowers, is again good. TALL GROWING SHRUBS. The Phillypillies, or Eugenias, with myrtle-like flowers, followed by red, helio- trope or white berries in winter, make good tall-growing shrubs. Better still, they grow into very fine hedges and shelter belts if trained and kept cut. The old-man saltbush also makes a fine hedge, free growing, and grey-almost- white-in color of foliage. THOUSANDS IN THE BUSH. There are thousands of plants still in the bush waiting to be brought into culti- vation to beautify and brighten up our gardens. There are the yellow Oxylobiums, the dainty fluffy Verticordias of all colors, the yellow Pomaderies, the brown, orange and red Daviesias, Dillroynias and Bos- siaeas, the golden Cassias, the red, scarlet and crimson Hibiscus, these and many others, all eminiently suitable for garden work. WORK FOR AMATEUR GARDENERS. Plant lovers should go to the bush, where the plants grow naturally, learn their habits, note their forms, and trans- plnt the young seedlings to their gardens, and so aid In the work of introducing new species and varieties into cultivation, thus increasing the number of our native plants for garden work.