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Gardening with Gael - The white walk

Luculia pinceana 3-373I knew it! Gardeners do have a desire to plant white gardens. I have had lots of suggestions for my White Walk, even more feedback than usual. This has had me back at the odd garden centre. Now that I am an OAP, visits to garden centres are going to be curtailed. Given the choice between new clothes and a plant, the plant wins. Moths tried to destroy my merino jumpers last year and I can think of no reason why a few well-placed embroidered flowers can’t cover the holes. After a few hours kneeling in the garden my jeans look exactly like the ones Justin Beiber paid hundreds of dollars for.

However, it is time I took more cuttings. One of the suggestions was for white luculias. I have a pink luculia out of my bedroom window, planted for its fragrance and I also have a white one. It is from this plant I intend to take some cuttings. Flowering from March to June, white luculias will extend the flowering season of my walk.

According to Google, luculias root easily from cuttings taken in spring or early summer and then proceed to grow rapidly. I plan to take the cuttings soon and conduct a small experiment. One half of the cuttings I will dip in rooting hormone and the other half I will dip in willow water. This was a suggestion from Marg who has done a horticultural course. Off we went in search of willow stems, which I have steeped in water ready for dipping my cuttings. It will be interesting to see which ones flourish. Cuttings for me have mostly been of hydrangeas, pelargoniums and geraniums, all of which I just shove into potting mix or into the ground and they grow. Dawn has started some white hydrangeas for me as well.

Luculias are native to the Himalayas and are found in China, Nepal, India and Bhutan. They prefer a mild climate with free draining, moist, slightly acid soil. They need shelter from wind and frosts in a sunny position. Most need a good trim after flowering to encourage a compact shape and for more flowers the following year. I forgot mine last year and it has become leggy and the flowers more sparse. The Palmer’s Garden Guide recommends pruning back by half.

Another white plant brought to my attention is a white waratah. Like me, Jan, who suggested this, has never had much luck with the red waratah. Where conditions suit they are a spectacular flower. She said the white are easier to grow. Back to Google and I found a white. What a stunning plant it is. Native to Australia, Telopeas or Waratahs are mostly listed as red. This one is called Telopea Bridal Gown. Wairere Nursery describes it as a dense medium-to-large shrub with medium-sized flower heads of a beautiful snow white colour. Needing protection from sun burn and wind, Bridal Gown makes a great large feature shrub.

It’s on order. I’d better get darning again!




SPRING: Luculias root easily from cuttings and grow rapidly.

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