SNEAK PEEK! Our native(ish) garden May 2008

Posted on: May 8, 2008

Native Tubestock/ Setting Up A Native Garden (Pt 2)

Here are our little babies – most of them native tubestock. Others went into the ground from small pots. (I tell you all about native tubestock a bit further down in this post)

If you’d like to see what the mature plants will look like go here.

Meet the grand sounding ‘Heliotrope Lord Roberts’ – this one isn’t a native actually, and it was in a 5″ pot. We have 3 of them.
Heliotrope 'Lord Roberts'

A kangaroo paw (tubestock)
Kangaroo Paw

The Correas are just gorgeous already –

Correa Glabra (10″ pot)
Correa Glabra

Correa Glabra closeup

Correa Fat Red (tubestock)
Correa Fat Red

As you can see, though ‘tubestock’ make them sound like they are TINY, they’re actually a fairly decent size so don’t be afraid of giving them a go. They seem to be loving being in the ground. Except for the poa labillardieri’s – the two we got from Kuranga were pretty dry when we got them but we just thought they go like that at this time of year but they kind of died on us once we put them out. But we did find much green tubestock at CERES and even Bunnings so they have been replaced now. And if you do manage to lose a couple they are only $3.50 or so per tube so it’s not too bad.


So this is a continuation of my ‘setting up a native garden‘ post I did a little while ago.

A couple of months after we got our no dig veggie garden beds up and running, we started turning our attention to the native garden.

I went back to the notes I had scribbled down when Diana visited our place. I googled the plant names – sometimes they were abbreviated versions of their names but I remembered what kinds of plants we had decided on and the colour scheme was mainly purple and yellow so thanks to the wonders of the interweb I managed to figure most of it out and emailed Diana to confirm.

We’re saving up to go to Europe in a couple of months so we were tossing up whether to get the native garden going now so it would be established by the summer or to wait til we get back. We were going to need 20+ plants so I tried to cost it out first. Diana suggested that autumn was a good time to put the plants in the ground so they would have a long time to get established before a hot dry summer.

One word people – TUBESTOCK! So much cheaper than buying pots. Tubestock, if you can find it, are very young plants but they only cost about $3.50 per tube. And they can be harder to find. Being younger of course, they need a little more care. Pots I found to be around the $10 mark. So with the amount of plants we were required, there were significant savings to be had if we could do as much of it with tubestock as possible.

I did lots of looking on line and came across a wonderful nursery called Kuranga all the way out in Mt Evelyn, towards the Dandenongs. It’s about an hour’s drive for us but well worth the drive – there’s a great gift shop and a cafe out there too. I also found some plants out there that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. I learnt this the hard way because I fell in love with some of their plants and then tried to find them at other nurseries closer to the city but ended up having to go all the way out there again anyway! The staff there are really helpful and friendly too and you can order plants from them as well.

Once we got all the plants we organised for Diana to come back out and help us place them in the exact spots they were to go in the ground. We soaked the tubes from the bottom, for an hour before they went in the ground and same with the pots. We didn’t need any extra fertiliser or compost etc to put the tubes in the ground. But we did put some gypsum in the holes and scattered around the top to help break up the heavy clay we have. It’s quite heavy clay about 20 cm down but we have tonnes of worms so that must be a good sign.

Diana showed us how to plant out the plants. When putting tubestock or pot plants in the ground for that matter it’s really important to make sure the plant is at the same soil level in the ground as it was in the pot. And the other important thing is to make sure you really pack the soil in tightly around the roots when you are backfilling so you make sure there are no air gaps that will make the roots dry out.

One side of our garden which doesn’t get quite as much sun, or warmth radiating from the brick house, was a lot wetter. So we didn’t water the holes first on that side. Kangaroo paws in particular don’t like wet feet. On the drier side we poured in water and let it seep in before putting in the plants.

You wouldn’t usually really need to put a plant guard around the tubestock – they should be ok. BUT we forgot to factor in our 4 legged family members. Because we had cleared away the pea straw mulch we had used to kill the lawn, away from the baby plants the cats thought – ‘oh, how nice, a pre dug hole’ and proceeded to use them as their personal toilets! I came out the weekend after we planted the tubes out and couldn’t find some of them because the cats had done their business and then covered them up with straw like it was their litter tray!

Most of the plants were ok but we did need to relace our native hibiscus. Poor thing. Death by poo.

Now the garden is looking like aliens have landed in it, with green tree guards everywhere but at least they’re protected.

Garden May08


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