Topics:  chelsea van rijn, magnolia grandiflora, opinion

Hard to go past a "Little Gem"

Chelsea van Rijn
Chelsea van Rijn Contributed

WHILE working at Trevallan, a comment I hear most was "if only I had a bigger yard".

There are so many plant choices out there that people want it all. I have the opposite problem.

There are a few plants in my eyes that are proven winners and I have trouble branching away and trying new plants.

You all know one of my all-time favourites is Magnolia grandiflora "Little Gem".

It is at the top of my list as a beautiful flowering, slightly perfumed, evergreen shrub.

It can be grown in shade and full sun and in a garden or a pot. It looks great as a feature tree or as a hedge. It is perfect to use in a small space as it very lush but not wide. It can handle heat, frost, dry feet and wet feet.

Another plant that is an all-time favourite is the Elaeocarpus eumundii. Many of you may know it as the Smooth Leafed Quandong.

This beautiful native is far more lush than many of its Elaeocarpus cousins.

Like a few of its cousins it is a slow grower and even though it can reach up to 15m in its natural habit in suburbia it only really reaches about 6m.

Like the Magnolia Little Gem it doesn't get very fat! At full growth it would be around 3m.

When I say slow grower I mean if I planted a small one now I may see it at full height when I'm old …

Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration as that's years away, but growers do say it can take up to 10 to 20 years for it to reach its full height under optimum conditions.

Now this may not be the best plant if you want to screen out your neighbour's three-storey house, but if you are looking for something for a pot or as a feature tree in the garden or as a loose hedge down the narrow side of your house this may be perfect.

The Elaeocarpus eumundii has highly attractive large bronze new growth. The mature foliage is a deep lush green colour and during late spring to early summer the tree carries clusters of sweetly scented cream flowers.

It can handle a light frost and is very hardy.

As you all know I fertilise all my plants with the Plant of Health's Range of Fertilisers.

It doesn't matter whether they are natives or exotics I use Organic Link as my granular slow-release fertiliser and Triple Boost as my liquid fertiliser.

I try to Organic Link about every three months and liquid fertilise when I can.

This weekend don't plan for a bigger garden enjoy what you have.

Sometimes the old favourites are old favourites for a reason!



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