ASSESS THE WILDFLORES AND SHRUBS OF AUSTRALIA
This course covers low-growing Australian native plants that yield colourful wildflowers and are both woody (hard wooded) and herbaceous (soft wooded).
- Learn about the cultivation and practical uses of Australia’s stunning wildflowers.
- Improve your capacity to recognise, pick out, grow, and explain commercial uses for suitable low-growing native Australian flowering plant species in a range of circumstances.
Comment from one of our Australian Natives II students:
“The plant recognition assignments were challenging and a great help for the future” D. Sydenham
This course is particularly valuable for:
- Cut Flower Growers
- Garden Designers
- Environmental Surveyors
- Plant Breeders
There are 8 lessons in this course:
- Scope and Nature
- Review of the system of plant identification
- Resources, sources for further information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.)
- Growing Conditions
- Plant Relationships
- Understanding Environmental Zones across Australia
- Soils; composition, colloids, peds, texture, chemical properties, pH and nutrient availability
- Improving Soils
- Natives on Low Fertility Soils
- Diagnosis of Nutritional Problems
- Inspecting Plants and diagnosing health issues
- Preventing Problems
- Pests and Diseases on Natives
- Planting, staking, mulching, watering
- Planting; different techniques for plant establishment
- Pruning Australian Native Plants
- Water Management -review
- Propagation Technique -review
- The Heaths and Similar Plants
- Scope and Nature of Heaths
- Heath habitats
- Epacridaceae; the Epacris Family
- Proteaceae, Myrtaceae, Thymelaeaceae, Dilleniaceae
- Glossary of botanical terms used to describe plants
- Introductory Plant Morphology
- Review of plant genera and many of their species:
- The Daisy Family
- Characteristics of Asteraceae
- Floral Structure of Asteraceae
- Review of culture and distinguishing characteristics of various Asteraceae genera, including:
- Helichrysum and Bracteantha
- The Legumes
- Common characteristics of all legumes
- Distinguishing Fabaceae, Caesalpinacea and Mimosaceae
- Other common groups
- Westringia, etc.
- Basic Landscape Design; Design Procedure, Drawing a plan
- Native Plants for Specific Situations; long flowering species, climbing species, etc
- The Monocotyledons
- Xanthorrhoea, etc.
- Commercial Applications: Growing Native Cut Flowers
- Production Plan for Cut Flowers
- Selection Criteria for Plants
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school’s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- Differentiate between many native wildflower varieties.
- Find trustworthy information on the cultivation and identification of Australian wildflowers.
- List common cultural practises, such as flowering time, for the several groups of native Australian wildflowers.
- With reference to both proteaceous and myrtaceous plants, describe the traits, including identification and culture, of native wildflowers that resemble heaths.
- Describe the traits of the Asteraceae (also known as the Daisy family) of wildflowers, such as their identification, culture, and use.
- Describe the traits, including as identification, cultivation, and use, of the many legume wildflower genera.
- Describe the features, such as identification, culture, and use, of various native monocotyledons to Australia (ie. narrow-leaved plants).
- Make a planting plan that incorporates Australian wildflowers.
- Create a plan for the production of cut flowers from a chosen Australian wildflower.
How You Plan to Act
- Differentiate between the several plant groups in which Australian native wildflowers are typically found using images and brief but adequate comments, such as the following: The following plant families belong to the Asteraceae: Asteraceae, Caesalpiniaceae, Dilleniaceae, Epacridaceae, Ericaceae, Fabaceae, Poaceae, Haemodoraceae, Iridaceae, Lamiaceae, Liliaceae, Mimosaceae, Myrtaceae, Orchidaceae, Proteaceae, Rutace
- Create a collection of wildflower images or specimens that were not previously collected, together with information about their use and culture.
- assemble a list of resources for data about local wildflowers.
- Provide standards for judging the veracity of information about local wildflowers.
- Find four trustworthy sources for Australian plant material with accurate names, including seeds and plants.
- Create a process for learning about a new species of Australian wildflower’s cultural aspects, ranking important information sources first.
- Describe two different techniques for planting specific wildflower species.
- Compare the application of several mulch kinds around particular wildflowers.
Describe the proper methods for watering wildflowers in the garden of your choice.
- Two specific wildflowers from two distinct taxonomic groups were pruned in comparison.
- Why do the soil preferences of three different wildflower species differ?
- Comparing the application of several fertilisers to wildflower plants.
- cultivate wildflowers utilising a variety of methods (eg. Seed, Cuttings).
- Determine which wildflowers are affected by which pests and illnesses.
- Talk about the many wildflower plants’ cultures.
- Create distinctions between the following genera, which include heath-like native plants, using illustrations and brief but adequate comments:
- Prepare a poster size chart which compares the characteristics, including:
- Soil requirements
- Environmental requirements
- Pests & diseases
- Wildflowers belonging to several genera that resemble heaths have unique cultural practises.
- Explain the distinctive qualities of the several genera of wildflowers.
- Dissect, draw and label the parts of a daisy flower, including:
- Corolla tube
- Disc floret
- Ray floret.
- Identify the three different native daisy genera using examples.
- Only native Australian daisies that thrive in your area and bloom for the maximum number of months each year should be used to design your garden bed.
- Choose a suitable native Asteraceae plant variety to create dried flowers.
- Differentiate the traits of the Fabaceae, Caesalpiniaceae, and Mimosaceae families.
- List the fifteen most widespread native legume genera.
- Explain several applications for particular native genera of legumes, such as:
- Soil improvement
- Flower colour
- Weed suppression
- Erosion control
- Decorative foliage
- Screening as a climber.
- Compare the traits of four distinct Australian Native legume taxa in an essay.
- Select twenty native monocotyledon plants that are low-growing and suitable for cultivation in your area.
- Explain some of the uses for native monocotyledon species listed:
- Soil improvement
- Flower colour
- Weed suppression
- Erosion control
- Decorative foliage
- Create a garden bed that will be colourful for the majority of the year by solely utilising Australian native monocotyledons that will grow in your area.
- Identify the horticultural uses for five distinct species of wildflowers.
- To create an aesthetically pleasing display of colour, combine three different wildflower kinds in an area of four square metres.
- Create a scale drawing for a wildflower-filled garden bed that will produce a vibrant display with great impact for at least two months.
- Create standards for choosing a wildflower species to cultivate as a commercial crop.
- Find out which wildflower species exist in your area and have the potential to be grown for cut flowers commercially.
- Create and carry out a straightforward study to evaluate the performance of three samples of a chosen wildflower species. Describe the trial’s methodology, describing how:
- What to grow
- Schedule of cultural tasks
- List of equipment and materials required
- Evaluate the commercial potential of the different cut flowers.
- Devise a crop production schedule for a specified cut flower crop, detailing all essential work tasks.
SUGGESTIONS FOR PLANT NATIVENESS
The initial step is to get the soil ready and get rid of any weeds (see sections on improving soils and weed control). These are several methods for transplanting potted plants into the ground:
Basic Planting Techniques
- Create a hole that is at least twice as wide as the pot and just slightly deeper. Roughen the hole’s sidewalls using the spade’s edge; this is crucial in soils with hard-packed clay.
Soak the plant in the pot completely, then let it drain. This makes it easier for the plant to be removed from the pot.
- Using the same soil that was scooped out of the hole, fill in one-third of it.
- Remove the plant from the pot with care.
- Loosen any exposed roots (you might not need to do much if the majority of the roots are inside the soil ball). The simplest way to do this is with a sharp knife or secateurs.) If the soil ball is surrounded by a dense mass of roots, you might need to break a centimetre or so through the ball on both sides.
- Cut through the root ball in four places around it, going from bottom to top. You can also gently loosen the roots by using a hose to wash away part of the soil from the root ball. This is a particularly effective technique when the potting soil has dried out to the point that it no longer retains moisture and roots have essentially become imprisoned inside the dry root ball. Detach any roots that are circling the bottom.
- Make sure the plant is inserted into the hole at the same depth as it was in the container. Backfill the hole with soil, then use your hands to carefully compact the earth. Avoid burying the trunk or stem because doing so may hinder some plants’ growth. To hold water, create a lip of earth around the plant’s base. At the base of the plant, apply slow-release native plant fertiliser at the prescribed rate. Soak in water completely.
- Around the plant, spread a layer of organic mulch. Make sure the mulch doesn’t come into contact with the plant stem directly.
There are several options between these two extremes, including concentrated, fast-acting fertilisers that quickly give the plant significant amounts of nutrients or slower-acting, long-term fertilisers. While using concentrated fertilisers, keep young plants’ roots away from the fertilizer’s direct touch. Native plants typically respond better to coated, slow-release fertilisers, especially in sandy soils where nutrients can leak out extremely quickly.
For the majority of native plants, avoid using significant amounts of fertilisers containing more than a small quantity of phosphorus. Be sure to check the phosphorus content of any fertilisers you want to use. Plants in rainforests are an exception because they are less susceptible to phosphorus. Typical phosphorus-rich fertilisers include super phosphate, hoof and horn, blood and bone, and hoof and horn. If significant levels of nitrogen are present, the harmful effects of excessive phosphorus levels can be countered. Generally speaking, phosphorus toxicity is more of an issue for plants grown in containers as opposed to soil, where phosphorus is frequently immobile (or “fixed”) in the soil. Gypsum and lime are two calcium-containing fertilisers that can be added to the soil to increase the availability of phosphorus. This can occasionally lead to toxicity issues.
When to Plant
The optimal time to plant is before the toughest season of the year so that plants have time to establish themselves. The toughest season varies from place to place and could also depend on the species that is being planted.
If the plant will receive enough water, planting can be done at any time of the year in temperate areas. In the southern states, planting is best done in the autumn or spring when there is a lot of rainfall and the soil is sufficiently warm to encourage root growth. Planting may be better done in tropical and subtropical areas after the hottest period of the year, but while the ground is still damp.
Planting is best done in the middle of spring, after the fear of a late frost has gone, in locations where there are frequent severe frosts. The plant will have time to establish itself before the winter season after that.
Always avoid planting when it’s hot or windy because the plants will dry out more quickly.
Stakes aren’t always necessary, and in some situations, they might even be detrimental. When a plant’s motion in the wind is entirely stopped, the trunk may not grow enough strength to survive the wind when the stake is eventually taken out.
Stakes should only be used to support plants if they are at risk of falling over due to exposure to strong winds, vandalism, or inadvertent damage. As an alternative, a tree guard can be used to shield the plant from wind, vandalism, and foraging animals, such as by enclosing it in a plastic tube.
If you do tie a plant to a stake, the connection should be loose enough to allow for wind movement. The tree may never develop the necessary strength at the joint between its roots and trunk if movement is restricted. Drive the stake far enough away from the trunk to avoid damaging the roots and impeding appropriate trunk development. Use a flexible, non-abrasive tie instead, running it between two or three stakes and the plant’s trunk (for example, thick, plastic-coated wires or nylon pantyhose). Make sure to check to see if the tie is not limiting the plant’s development as it matures. After one season, untie it because the plant’s trunk should be able to support itself by that time.
Before they have an opportunity to establish themselves and grow rapidly, little plants that may be surrounded by grass can be marked with stakes simply as a marker (without ties). These are now simple to find when you are trimming, mowing, etc.
Organic mulches have several advantages as follows:
- They aid in weed management.
- They protect the soil’s moisture (helps prevent drying out). When they break down, they strengthen the soil’s structure. They enrich the soil with nutrients.
- They lessen the temperature variation in the soil. They might encourage earthworms.
- They might lessen soil erosion.
Almost any organic material can be used as mulch. Here are just a few examples: wood chips, sawdust, tan bark, pine bark, leaf mould, paper, compost, straw, prunings, lawn clippings, cardboard. There are even some inorganic materials which are useful as mulches, including gravel, scoria, blue metal, coarse sand and river pebbles.
Wind can be a problem, blowing away lightweight mulches, such as wood shavings, when they are first laid down. Once thoroughly wet and settled, however, even these mulches tend to stay where they are.
- By forming an impermeable barrier under the mulch with black plastic, plants will experience water stress. Water may stagnate due to sweating below, which can lead to unpleasant odours and the promotion of root infections. It frequently results in soils that are lifeless and dry.
- Prior to spreading the mulch, weeds must be eliminated. Several weeks before to mulching, a non-selective, non-residual herbicide may be sprayed on the area. Maintenance is frequently neglected.
- Regularly top off organic mulches, and get rid of weeds before they produce seed heads. For the first month or two, wood shavings and several other mulches need to be maintained moist. By doing this, the mulch will be able to settle and the wind won’t be able to carry away a lot of mulch. Organic molecules absorb nitrogen from the soil as they break down.
- Plants cultivated in mulches comprised of shavings, wood chips, and paper may exhibit symptoms of nitrogen deficit (ie. the leaves will turn yellow). Use a little amount of sulphate of ammonia or another nitrogenous fertiliser around the plant’s base to combat this.
- When they are dry, many organic materials actually repel water. Rain may run off the mulch’s surface and onto the sides of the plants if it was not sufficiently hydrated when it was first set down. When utilised as mulch, dry grass clippings are especially prone to repelling water.
- Natural regeneration can produce good outcomes where there is already a cover of local vegetation. The area has to be enclosed with fencing, and the weeds on the tree’s windward side—where seeds are most likely to fall—should be pulled.
UNIQUE PLANTATION TECHNIQUES
Establishing new plants shouldn’t be too difficult for most backyard gardeners. However, in other places, issues like severe soil erosion and arid climate would necessitate the use of special strategies to allow the plant to adapt to its new environment.
This is merely creating a basin or pocket on a hill. On the down slope side of the pocket, a wall is built using the soil that was dug from it. Water will then be retained by the wall, reducing soil erosion. The pocket won’t be swept away in torrential rain thanks to an overflow spillway in the wall. Before the plant takes root, the pocket might need to be periodically reformed.
Serration on a slope
Terraces can be built on sloping terrain to promote plant growth and lessen erosion. In order to retain water, slopes are cut into steps that are about 1 m wide and slope back towards the hill. The steps will crumble over time, but by that time the plants will typically have established themselves. Also, the eroding stairs’ loose soil offers good germination spots for seeds dropped by other surrounding plants.
In order to stop erosion, this method makes use of bundles of branches put on slopes. Long, thin branches are knotted together and buried partially in contoured trenches that have been dug across the hill, or the slope’s surface is simply covered in cut branches and dry vegetation. Occasionally, pegs are used to secure the branches in place on top of chicken wire mesh or fencing wire strands. (Certain forms of wire mesh, especially over moist soils, might cause zinc poisoning.) Straw layers or readily available synthetic matting can be used to achieve a similar result.
Although it can be applied here on severely degraded locations to help native species regrow, this technology has been more frequently used abroad. Dried brush, such as Leptospermum, is more frequently utilised in Australia. This kind of brush debris frequently contains significant amounts of capsules that open to release seed, which frequently germinates quickly on the recently stabilised slope.
Planting in Dry Areas
Plant establishment in desert, non-irrigated areas can be very challenging. Simple solutions to the water shortage issue include mulching, reducing competitive weed growth, spreading plants widely apart, and making saucer-shaped depressions in the soil to hold water. Moreover, smaller plants have a higher probability of establishing themselves.
In regions with clear night skies, condensation traps have also been utilised with some effectiveness. Building a planting basin with a 1.5 m diameter and a depth of 30 cm is one easy way to capture the moisture from condensation. The plant is positioned in the centre on a mound, and polythene sheeting is set up to collect soil moisture that evaporates and condenses on the sheet before dripping back to the ground.
While less predictable than transplanting established nursery-grown plants, direct seeding is a low-cost way of re-establishing vegetation.
The most crucial element is to get rid of weed growth before sowing to reduce competition with the seeds as they germinate. The best results come from an initial application of chemical herbicides; alternatively, cultivation can be utilised to promote the germination of dormant weed seeds, which can subsequently be sprayed. The soil can be lightly worked to create ideal germination conditions for the seed.
The seed can then be dispersed either manually on small sites or mechanically using hoppers or direct drilling on bigger sites. There might also be a need for site fencing and follow-up weed control. It will be easier for seeds to germinate if you utilise irrigation or time your seeding to take advantage of rains.
WHO CAN ACCESS THIS COURSE?
This training will be useful to anyone who enjoys or works with plants. Their knowledge of Australian flora will increase, they will be able to recognise more of them, and they will have a deeper understanding and more perceptive awareness of the ones they can.
Many people will enrol in these courses to improve their chances of success in business or the workplace.
This training is very useful for:
- Cut Flower Growers
- Garden Designers
- Environmental Surveyors
- Plant Breeders
Some may do this course because they are a passionate amateur.