Iconic Australian plants join the collection
2 February 2010
Horticulture manager Dave Taylor with one of the Xanthorrhoeas
Horticulture staff at the Gardens were busy adding five Xanthorroeas to the collection this morning. These iconic Australian plants have been donated to the Gardens from the ACTEW corporation after being removed from development sites at the Cotter.
Without the forethought of ACTEW these plants would simply not have survived, yet some are mature specimens many decades old. Considering the species lives for up to 600 years it’s easy to understand why this gift is so important to the Gardens.
The environmental benefits of the plants are many – they are a low water species while being striking in landscape design. They’re also an important part of the grasslands eco-system with the flowers attracting beetles, and many honey eating birds.
ACTEW gifted the Gardens with over 20 grass trees. Five are now visible on the corner of the Grasslands section in the visitor car-park. The remainder are reserved for future plantings.
Curator Craig Cosgrove said this would be an experimental planting, to monitor how well the plants transition compared to others planted later in the year.
Trade in Grass Trees is protected but keeping a specimen in your home garden can be a way to preserve these special plants for generations to come. Be sure to visit a reputable nursery and ask about the provenance of your plant. Another option is to grow your Xanthorrhoeas from seedlings. It takes time, but within a few years they make an attractive small garden plant.
The new Xanthorrhoeas will receive special treatment to settle them in to their new environment. First will be a good soaking of recycled water collected from roof run-off. After that the horticulture team will be keeping watch over them.