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Ornamentals
  Virginia creeper
  Ruby saltbush
  Bougainvillea
  Heartleaf iceplant
  Chinese jade
Herbs
  Chives
  Garlic chives
  Oregano
  Parsley
  Rosemary
  Sage
  Thyme
Fruit
  Grapes
Native Australians
  Eucalypts
  Yacca
Vegetables
  Capsicum
  Chilli
  Egg-plant
  Rhubarb
  Sweet corn
  Sweet potato
  Tomato

Plants that grow well at Crystal Brook

Perhaps I'm a lazy gardener, but I don't see much point in working hard to grow plants that are not easy to grow or are not well suited to the local conditions; so here is a list of some that my wife and I have found do well at Crystal Brook.

The soil at Crystal Brook is alkaline sandy loam inclined to be water-repellent if it becomes completely dry.

Apart from the plants that are imaged and discussed below (and are listed on the left and in the index, some that grow readily at Crystal Brook are...

Fruit and nut trees
Citrus do very well with a moderate amount of water (it's hard to give away lemons in Crystal Brook), almond, stone-fruit (other than cherry), quandong; it's too hot for apples and pears, and avocardos can't handle the dry heat. There are some walnut trees in town, but with increasing tempertures due to climate change, I wouldn't recommend them.

Other trees
There are a huge number: among the natives, many Acacia (wattles), Brachychiton (kurrajong, Illawarra flame tree), Callistemon (bottle-brush), Callitris (native cypress-pines), Casuarina (she-oaks), Dodonaea (hop-bushes), Eucalypt (gum trees), Mellalueca (paper-barks and teatrees) and Pittosporum (native apricot). I know little about growing introduced trees, but a number of pines do well, palms, Jacaranda; it's too hot and dry for oak.

Shrubs
Natives include: Correa (seem to struggle due to the heat and dryness at CB) Eremophila (emu-bush), Gossypium sturtii (Sturt's desert rose)
Non-natives: Lavender, Pelargonium (geranium), Salvia and Senna

Ground-covers, climbers
Natives: Creeping boobiala, Kennedia species (coral peas, creeping postman)
Non-natives: Pashionfruit,

Ornamentals
Agapanthus, Chrysanthemum, Iris, Jasmine, jonquils, roses (I'm not much interested in growing flowers).

Vegetables
Sweet potatoes, beans (climbing in summer, broad in winter), onions, peas, silver beet, tomatoes; sweet corn and potatoes grow well, but use so much water as to not to be worth-while.

Herbs
Chives, garlic chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme grow easily.
This page created 2010/02/17
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com
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I've tried to follow botanical convention; botanical names are usually shown in italics with the generic names capitalised and specific names in lower case.


Also see Growing Trees and smaller plants at Clare. Clare differs from Crystal Brook in having a wetter climate and acidic soil.


Work in progress This is a work in progress
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Ornamentals

Grapes, which can also be used as ornamental plants, are elsewhere on this page.

Virginia creeper

 
Virginia creeper
Virginia creeper
Virginia creeper is a very hardy plant that will provide shade in summer, when it is sorely needed in the increasingly hot Crystal Brook climate, and let the sun in in winter.

The botanical name is Parthenocissus quinquefolia and the plant originated from North America.
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Ruby saltbush

 
Ruby saltbush
Ruby saltbush
Botanical name Enchilina tomentosa, this small Australian native shrub is very easy to grow from seed, keeps green all year round with little water, and has attractive tiny, edible (bush tucker) red and purple berries in season (not in the photo).

It will reproduce from its own seed, but is easy to control by pulling out, or hoeing out, unwanted plants.
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Bougainvillea

 
Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea
This is a small variegated plant in a pot; there are many large bougainvillea (Bougainvillea species) plants growing in the ground around Crystal Brook. They are great for flowers, not so good if you don't like spines.
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Heartleaf iceplant

 
Heartleaf iceplant
Heartleaf iceplant
Mile-a-minute is the local name, but is seems a more widely used common name for this easy-to-grow succulent ground-cover is hearleaf iceplant. Its botanical name is Aptenia cordifolia.

It requires little water, will handle exposure to full sun, and is (at lease in a back-yard situation) easy to control. It provides a nice carpet of green right through the summer.

It will not handle being walked on, and it goes dormant in winter when weeds can grow over the top of it (particularly soursob).
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Chinese jade

 
Chinese jade
Chinese jade
This succulent grows very well in Crystal Brook, and will easily survive the hot, dry, summers with little watering, providing welcome green foliage in the garden.

It needs very little attention, except to cut it back periodically. In a very hot period it will produce occasional flowers.




Herbs

 
Herbs
Chives, garlic chives, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme
In addition to the herbs on the right mint and parsley grows well (the photo was taken in summer, the wrong time of the year for parsley).
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Fruit

As mentioned elsewhere on this page, citrus trees and stone fruit (other than cherries) do very well in Crystal Brook.

Grapes

 
Grapes
Grapes
The table grape vines (Vitis vinifera) on the trellis in the illustration have taken about six years to reach their current stage of growth. There are seven varieties.

Both table grapes and wine grapes do very well at Crystal Brook.
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Native Australian plants

Many Australian native plants, including several Acacia, Allocasuarina, Callistemon, Callitris, Casuarina, Dodonaea, Pittosporum and Senna species do very well at Crystal Brook.

Eucalypts

 
Eucalypt
Eucalypt
Too many Eucalypts (Eucalyptus species) to name, including many decorative Western Australian species, will grow very well at Crystal Brook.
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Yacca

 
Yacca
Yacca
Yaccas (as they are known in South Australia, also grass trees or black-boys), Xanthorrhoea quadrangulata are native to the region and grow well in Crystal Brook. They grow slowly anywhere, the specimen in the photo is about ten years old.

While mature plants can be bought from nurseries, I've heard that they commonly die after a few months or up to a year. They can be propagated by seed, either into a tube or direct into the soil where they are to grow.
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Vegetables

Chilli

 
Chilli
Chilli
Capsicum
Capsicum
Chillies and capsicums grow very well at Crystal Brook. Both will live for several years, producing during the summer.

Chillies seem to handle the heat better than capsicums, which need light shade in the hottest afternoons; the leaves survive, but the fruit burns.




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Egg-plant

 
Egg-plant
Egg-plant
Convolvulus species. They handle the heat well (better than capsicums do). Grubs get into the fruit unless the plant is sprayed with something like Success (a preparation based on bacteria or bacterial toxins that are specific to grubs and catapillars). They need a moderate amount of water.

Egg-plants are Solanum species, possibly Solanum melongena.
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Potato and sweet corn

Potatoes and sweet corn grow well, but require too much water to be a practicality.





Rhubarb

 
Rhubarb
Rhubarb
Grows well in Crystal Brook, but does best under light shade, at least in the hottest weather, and requires a fair bit of water.
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Sweet potato

 
Sweet potato
Sweet potato
I first planted some cuttings in mid-summer 2007; it would have been much better to have planted them in spring (after the risk of frosts has finished), but a neighbour gave me some in summer.

I am very impressed at how easy they are to grow; exceptionally easy to plant from cuttings and easy to keep growing. They seem to need little water in summer and do not suffer much from insects. There was some damage from slugs or snails, but the plants grew so quickly that they seemed to out-grow the predators.

Unlike in cooler, wetter, areas, such as Clare, sweet potato tubers survive the winter in the ground quite well in Crystal Brook. While the above-ground part of the plant will die back in the winter, the tuber will shoot in the spring. They seem to survive winter best against a north-facing wall.

As climate change makes frosts rarer and winters milder in Crystal Brook sweet potatoes will quite probably retain some leaves over winter.

Wikipedia's article on sweet potato, under 'Cultivation', states that annual rainfalls of 750-1000mm, with a minimum of 500mm in the growing season, are best suited for sweet potatoes. Crystal Brook has an average annual rainfall of around 400mm with no reliable rainfall in the sweet potato growing season. I have found that they grow well using a moderate amount of irrigation by dripper.
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Tomato

Tomatoes grow well, but often die from virus or fungus before fruiting.





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On this page...
Bougainvillea
Capsicum
Chilli
Chinese jade
Chives
Egg-plant
Eucalypts
Fruit
Garlic chives
Grapes
Heartleaf iceplant
Herbs
Native Australian plants
Oregano
Ornamentals
Parsley
Potato
Rhubarb
Rosemary
Ruby saltbush
Sage
Sweet Potato
Sweet corn
Thyme
Tomato
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Vegetables
Virginia creeper
Yacca
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