In Flower this Week:
(20 March 2014)
The native bluebell, Wahlenbergia stricta, is a lovely local species which flowers regularly throughout the year. Thanks to the recent rains, there are generous groupings of them flowering prolifically on roadsides and in local parklands. Unlike Canberra’s floral emblem, Wahlenbergia gloriosa (occurs in alpine areas of NSW, VIC, and ACT), both W. stricta and W. communis are quite hardy and forgiving of external factors such as parkland mowers. In fact, the specimens I saw near Woden recently appeared to have embraced and prospered despite recent mowing, growing densely and forming a sea of blue.
The native bluebell requires a sunny position with good drainage, but don’t despair if they disappear after flowering though, as these iconic plants die back once their show is done (if they fail to re-appear in future growing seasons, however, you may like to have the Kleenex on standby).
These gems are available commercially, but success when planting potted specimens can be erratic at best (ironic when naturally-occurring plants thrive in the most unforgiving of places). Growing them from seed is often more successful, and if you are fortunate enough, you may even find plants popping up in your garden of their own accord.