What Are The Best Looking Australian Native Plants For My Garden? | Inspirations Of A Plant Breeder

What Are The Best Looking Australian Native Plants For My Garden? | Inspirations Of A Plant Breeder

Breeding more drought tolerant, lower maintenance, uniquely Australian plants.

Breeding more than 30 varieties of Plants requires more than just luck and chance, it involves planning, thought and inspiration. The new generation of home gardeners will hopefully relate to my sources of inspiration, as I am sure many of my breeding goals are their gardening goals.

Coming from a household, where both my wife and I worked, and having to parent 3 children, inspired me to find ways to make gardening easier and less maintenance. I only used plants that could be neglected in my home garden. Before starting to breed plants, I founded and ran a large native nursery, supplying tens of millions of plants to developments such as roadsides, golf courses, housing developments, and the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

This gave me an insight into what native plants did well in the commercial landscape, and inspired me to even get further behind our native plants, that give Australia its unique character. It became obvious to me, that unfortunately, many of our natives, although tough, were too untidy looking and not showy enough for the general public to use. As proof of this point, I remember sitting in on a discussion group back in the mid 90’s. Landscapers, designers, garden writers, and nurseries, all discussing how do we get people to plant more natives.

The biggest point to come out of the discussion was the fact that natives looked untidy and not as appealing compared to exotic species. After more discussion, the group realised that the exotic plants they were talking about were all varieties that had undergone decades or centuries of breeding, and that is why they looked so good. The common ancestors of the plants they loved so much were no longer used.

This was one of the events that set off a light bulb in my head. I said to the group, ‘Then what is needed is to take these good common natives, and through selection and breeding, develop better looking, tidier forms of these tough native plants.’

After this initial inspiration, I had to focus. What do customers need? I am a firm believer in breeding for the consumer, rather than coming up with a plant, and then trying to talk the customer into it. Talking to the head Landscape Architect of the NSW roads and traffic authority was a great place to start. I asked him, read more…

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