Mildura Weekly : Friday May 23 2014 Vol 8 No 29
Mildura Weekly – 23/05/14 17 www.milduraphonebook.com.au is truly a must-see... • From previous page Sturt’s journal, ‘Narrative of an Expedition into Central Australia,’ refers several times to the beauty of the desert pea in flower and the harsh nature of its habitat, and notes that beyond the Darling Riv- er “we saw that beautiful flower in splendid blossom on the plains. It was growing amid barrenness and decay, but its long runners were cov- ered with flowers that gave a crim- son tint to the ground.” The genus name Swainsona honours Isaac Swainson who main- tained a private botanic garden at Twickenham near London about the year 1789. The specific name formosa is Latin for ‘beautiful.’ In its natural habitat, Sturt’s Desert Pea is a perennial plant with silky grey-green pinnate foli- age arising from prostrate stems. The leaves and stems are covered with downy hairs. The flowers are about nine cm long and arranged in clusters of six to eight on short, thick, erect stalks. The petals are usually blood red or scarlet, with a glossy black swelling or ‘boss’ at the base of the uppermost petal, the standard. Other colour forms range from white to deep pink, either with or without a black boss, and rarely a bi-coloured form, in which the standard is scarlet and the other petals, the wings and keel, are white tipped and edged with scarlet. The fruit is a legume about 5 cm long which splits at maturity releasing several flat kidney-shaped seeds. Sturt’s Desert Pea occurs in arid woodlands and on open plains... and at Buronga’s Australian Inland Botanic Garden where the staff have this year cultivated a magnificent display that should not be missed. Notoriously hard to get going in a home garden, the display at AIBG is a tribute to perseverance and hard work, and a visit to see this display in the near future should be on the must-do list for any serious gardner or plant lover. The hard seed coat of Sturt’s Desert Pea inhibits germination, but there are some tricks to getting it going. The hard seed coat can be overcome by filing or nicking the seed coat away from the ‘eye’ of the seed. Alternatively, the seed may be rubbed gently between sheets of sandpaper. Soaking the seed in warm wa- ter gives variable results, and boil- ing water should not be used as it destroys beneficial bacteria on the seed coat. Since the seedlings develop a long tap root and do not toler- ate root disturbance, treated seeds should be planted directly into the chosen garden site or container, or alternatively into small pots for transplanting soon after germina- tion. Full sun, perfect drainage and protection from snails are essential. Supplementary watering may not be necessary once the seedlings are established. Under ideal conditions flowering commences about four months after germination. Sturt’s Desert Pea is usually treated as an annual but vigorous flowering may result if root crowns survive from one season to the next. Alternative- ly, it may be grown in large drums, tubs and upright terracotta drain- pipes which allow adequate root development. The pea is able to withstand the marked extremes of temperature experienced in inland deserts, and light frosts are tolerated by estab- lished plants. * With thanks to the Australian National Botanic Gardens website. • REACHING FOR THE SKY: Known for its prostrate habit, a couple of the gardens’ plants have started to grow upwards, reaching up to 600mm off the ground. The plant’s pea-like pods are clearly visible in this photo. Quilts in Masonic Centre THE Sunraysia Patchwork Friends group will host a quilt exhibition on June7and8inthe Irymple Masonic Centre (15th Street) from 10am to 5pm, with residents en- couraged to attend. A variety of trad- ers will showcase their quilt-making talents at the exhibi- tion, with light re- freshments available throughout both days. For more exhi- bition information contact 5022 2402. Yo u don’t know what you’re getting into. Never enter floodwater. For more information ses.vic.gov. au Safe F. 5027 6241 E. firstname.lastname@example.org www.frankstockmanplumbing.com.au VIC & NSW LIC. NO. 32486 CALL NOW 0419 276 220 FREE QUOTES EXCAVATION HIRE PENSIONER DISCOUNTS DID YOU KNOW Frank Stockman Plumbing provides the following services? Leaking Taps? Blocked Drains? New Hot Water Service? Gas Heater Installation? Septic Tank Installation? Grey Water System Installation? Sewer/Storm Water Problems? New Roof and/or Guttering? Bathroom Renovations? Kitchen Renovations? Building a new home? Rainwater Tank installation? Air-conditioner Service? Excavation Hire? Sky Lights?
Friday May 16 2014 Vol 8 No 28
Friday May 30 2014 Vol 8 No 30