Three of the established plants which I chose to retain when developing my PAST GARDEN were the Guelder Rose, two Pomegranate Trees and a Jade Plant, all established and well located on a side fence. We can be too quick to dispose of the old in order to plant something new, different and “trendy”, but the garden needs structure and as these three were flourishing, it was easy to introduce new shrubs and climbers to fill the gaps and completely hide the fence.
GUELDER ROSE – Viburnum opulus is a species of flowering plant native to Europe, northern Africa and central Asia. The common name ‘guelder rose’ relates to the Dutch province of Gelderland, where a popular cultivar, the snowball tree, supposedly originated. This hardy, vigorous shrub is ideal for a woodland garden or shrub border. It offers interest for most of the year with large, lacy cap-like white flowers.
Quote from Malcolm Campbell: “Guelder roses rise to beauty – Viburnum ‘Opulus’ is best cut back to knee-height after the flowering has finished. It makes a large, untidy, shrub unless cut back quite hard every 3-4 years after the flowering has finished. Remove any dead wood. I just put the chainsaw through them and now they are the talk of the street in each garden where I had the courage to do that.”
In my garden the Guelder Rose helped to cover a less than beautiful side fence, hence I was not quite as brutal as Malcolm Campbell (professional Horticulturalist and Presenter) when it came to pruning as I preferred to enjoy the transition from green to white as the flower heads changed through the seasons.
POMEGRANATE – Punica granatum is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between 5 and 8m tall. It is extremely long-lived, with some specimens in France surviving for 200 years. The pomegranate originated in the region of modern day Iran, and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. In recent years it has become more common in the commercial markets of Europe and Australia.
The fruit is round and about the size of a large apple. It has hard, thick reddish skin enclosing hundreds of seeds. The seeds are the only edible part of the pomegranate and are used in both sweet and savoury dishes including salads, drinks, sauces and desserts. They have a distinctive tangy-sweet flavour. Early this year, when dining with an amazing view of Sydney Harbour I enjoyed a very different salad of Kale, Quinoa and Pomegranate and it was one to remember.
To prepare – cut pomegranates in half and then use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds, taking care to avoid the bitter white pith. If the juice is required, transfer the seeds to a muslin-lined sieve and leave standing to let the juice trickle out, pressing seeds occasionally. Alternatively use a juicer.
JADE PLANT – Crassula 0vata, commonly known as jade plant, friendship tree or money tree, is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers. It is native to South Africa, and is common as a houseplant worldwide. It is evergreen with thick branches and shiny, smooth rich jade green leaves that grow in opposing pairs along the branch. New growth is the same colour and texture as the leaves but becomes brown and woody with age. Under the right conditions the plant may produce small white or pink star-like flowers in early spring. After 15 years, and in a very dry season, I enjoyed flowers.
As a suburban homeowner we sometimes crave privacy and this can often be achieved by adding height to fencing. One option is to add lattice-work which gives a greater sense of enclosure and I chose to use it near my driveway. A Bougainvillea, planted previously, was extremely happy to climb higher and higher, creating another pruning job, of course, but I gained a cheerful outlook from my kitchen window.
“Block out the sight of the true surroundings and a garden can transport you anywhere. Trees, shrubs, fences and walls can become the curtains to your garden”.