T.oreades.JPG (21923 bytes)Kew’s Horticultural Surprises: In May 2002, during a visit to the United Kingdom, we spent a day exploring the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in southwest London. We knew that we would see some Australian natives growing in glasshouses. In fact in the Temperate Glasshouse we saw Hakea, Correa and Melaleuca.
During our walk around the outside gardens was when a number of horticultural surprises were observed. Firstly there were two Callistemons growing vigorously and heavily in bud. Callistemon pityoides is known as the Alpine Bottlebrush and has small prickly leaves and cream-green brushes. Callistemon pallidus was the other species and is known as the Lemon Bottlebrush. This is a medium shrub with bright lemon-yellow brushes. Co-incidentally both species are native to our New England (New South Wales) region and both are surviving and thriving in the Yallaroo gardens.
One lawn area was enhanced with a number of splendid Eucalypt specimens. Included in this display was Eucalyptus aggregata, Eucalyptus dalrympleana, Eucalyptus pauciflora, Eucalyptus perriniana and Eucalyptus nitida. All these Eucalypts have perfect foliage. In the United Kingdom there are no leaf-eating insects that favour Eucalypt foliage. Not a tattered leaf margin in sight.
We came across two large outside garden beds containing representatives of the Australian and New Zealand flora. These beds were home to the most surprising native plants. Two Waratah species were in full flower. Telopea mongaensis and Telopea oreades (see image) were shrubs, one and a half metres tall with multiple stems. Each stem was crowned by a colourful Waratah flower head. Another horticultural surprise was growing close to the Waratahs. Eucalyptus gregsoniana, the Wolgan Snow Gum, was a tall spreading shrub with leathery leaves and masses of creamy-white flowers. This was a sight to make any Aussie homesick.