Tenacious plants

13 01 2013

We moved to our current house almost three years ago (3-year anniversary late next month). The gardens were all landscaped with waterwise, drought-resistant plants, and lots of bark mulch in between, but as the retic didn’t work properly for the first month or two (in the hottest part of the summer), some plants suffered and died.

One of these was just a stick in the ground with a few dead twigs for branches. I’d tried to pull it out a few times, but it was stuck fast. It wasn’t in anyone’s way, so I left it where it was, figuring that one day I’d ask my husband to help me pull it out and dispose of it.

Imagine my surprise when I was in that area of the garden the other day (also the middle of summer) and saw some green leaves sprouting on this ‘dead’ stick! I’m not a big gardener, but they look a bit like avocado leaves to me — yum, if they are!

I can’t believe how tenacious this plant is — it’s been dead for three years, and now suddenly it sprouts some leaves! It’s getting no more water than in the previous two summers, and it hasn’t been fertilised. So I have no idea why it decided to spring back to life now. But I’m glad it did.


It’s the one in the foreground with the ‘dead’ stem and the mop top of leaves.

Another tenacious plant is this banksia:


Banksia: BIG tree/plant on the left

Why is it tenacious? Well, it didn’t exist three years ago. I can’t remember when I first saw the tiny seedling pop its head out of the ground, but it was maybe 18 months/two years ago. I didn’t pull it out as it was far enough away from the driveway that it wouldn’t do any damage if it grew a bit. Of course, there are dozens — if not hundreds — of species of banksia in Australia, so I had no idea what this one was nor whether it would become a smallish bush or a decent-sized tree.

Guess what? it’s a decent-sized tree! It’s well over three metres tall, and has had absolutely NO care and attention (except watering via the sprinkler system twice a week in summer). That’s what’s so great about native plants — they just grow in the environments they are native to.

This banksia has even produced some juvenile ‘big bad banksia men’ seed pods, which you can see in the picture below (there are two).


The diameter of the trunk is about two hands-width around, so it’s a pretty decent size. Hopefully it will offer some shade on the driveway as it gets bigger — since our beautiful tuart tree had to be cut down, we’ve had no shade that visitors can park under.

(I just noticed that the picture of the hole where the tuart tree used to be — the last picture on this page — has the banksia in it [far left in that picture]! That picture was taken in June 2012, some six months ago. Boy, the banksia has grown a LOT in that time!)

Update 28 October 2013

Some 10 months later and look at these plants now! The banksia appears to be about 4 metres tall, and the avocado tree is flowering — I hope that’s a good sign! We had a LOT of rain last month, so that’s helped all the plants thrive.





3 responses

14 01 2013

So interesting! As I am not a gardener (on any level!) I can so appreciate such a mystery!!!! Hugs, D

17 01 2013
Cool Google Doodle « At Random

[…] was only writing about the ‘big bad banksia men’ the other day, not realising that today is May Gibbs‘ birthday — May Gibbs wrote and illustrated all […]

24 06 2013
The bees are loving it! | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] banksia that self-seeded a while back has heaps of flowers on it at the moment, and some of them are just FULL of bees, with […]

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