Swane’s Nursery, NSW. Curiously, crumbly, scone cubes ***3 stars

Springing into Action.

After years of complacency, the decision was made whilst in the midst of a spring clean up to take advantage of the power tools at hand and clear out the gardens, once and for all. The devastation was speedy, ruthless and relentless, resulting in a bare earth policy that totally exposed that suburban icon, the ugly colorbond fence.  More swift decisions led to another extreme undertaking and the recycling of the old rock into new garden edges. What a marvellous job was done, too!


Now, the dilemma is deciding what to put back into these pristine garden beds. Visits to the local nurseries were uninspiring, particularly with regard to their range of Australian Native Plants. The idea is for miracles of nature that require little maintenance or water, thrive in all kinds of extreme environments and hopefully, attract native birds like blue wrens.  For ideas we headed to Dural, which is the home of some of Sydney’s largest and best nursery suppliers such as Hargraves, Swanes and Flower Power. Haven’t found much of a range available anywhere online as yet or even an app but there’s plenty of information at the Australian Native Plant Society.


At Hargraves, there were plenty of Lilly Pillys, Bottlebrushes, Westringias and even a few Eriostemons and Croweas. The Australian Banksias, Grevilleas and Waratahs are related to Proteas from South Africa and there were some exceptionally striking plants from Proteaflora. After all our hard investigating, a well deserved morning tea was our top priority when we arrived at Swanes Nursery and the Cafe Botanica.


Imagine our incredulity at such curiously shaped and extremely crumbly scone cubes.   At least, it’s a lovely garden centre with many beautiful roses and lavenders. There was quite a wide range of native plants here as well so we added a few different  lilly pillys, grevilleas, eriostemons, croweas and an enchanting purple isopogon to our list and bought just one baby grevillea before heading back towards Flower Power. Such restraint, but it was the only one left. At Flower Power, we found some more different varieties of grevilleas, philothera, a pimelea and how could anyone resist a grevillea called Tucker Time Entree. With the coming of spring there will probably be many more varieties available and some specials. Hargraves has 50% off all plants at the moment but sometimes they seem rather overpriced to start with so it’s worth checking elsewhere first. Swanes has printable vouchers for 25% off and bulk specials for lilly pillys. Flower Power has good prices for popular plants or multiple buys. The prices and pot sizes all vary but as they’re so close it’s easy to stop by and check them whenever you have decided on your plants.

Here’s one of my all time favourites but it’s not native, it’s a Friesia Floribunda Rose and extremely hardy. It was one of the few to survive the recent scenes of carnage, seemingly unperturbed by the surrounding mayhem. Now it’s time to turn over the soil, prepare the beds and work out a plant list but for a real treat try searching for the artworks of nature by Andy Goldsworthy and simply enjoy such amazing creativity.

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