Go on – be different

There are more than 2,500 different species of native plants growing in the tropical north of Australia. Surprisingly, less than 10% of these are commonly grown in gardens. That’s a real pity because it leaves a whole lot of species that are being ignored, and who knows what treasures you are missing out on.

I guess one of the problems is that people are afraid to try something new. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked for backyard standards such as the Lilly Pilly (Syzygium austral) or Ivory Curl (Buckinghamia celsissima). Usually they want these because they’ve seen them in someone else’s garden and like the way they look. Don’t get me wrong, both these species are definitely deserving of their popularity. However, I’m a believer in supporting the underdog, and I think a little more attention should be given to the less well known species. I mean, there are plants out there that are so ignored that they haven’t even been given common names. And let’s face it, how many home gardeners would go to a nursery to buy a plant they can’t even pronounce the name of?

It’s interesting to note that most gardeners like to play it safe and choose to buy plants that are the same as the ones growing in their friend’s garden. To me that’s a bit like everyone dressing in the same fashion. It’s safe because you’re not going to stand out from the crowd, and neither is your garden. Yes, I know that this is a bit of a generalisation, but from my experience it has only been the plant enthusiasts that are much more inclined to give less well known species a go.

There are more than 2,500 species of native tropical plants out there. Next time you go shopping for plants, ask yourself if you really want another pair of blue jeans, or isn’t it time you try out something a little more unique.

See you at Yuruga.