This year I plan to have a regular ‘Plant of the Month’. For February, my standout plant is always Ixodia achillaeoides subsp. alata Ixodia.
The dense clusters of white, papery, daisy-like flowers shine beautifully in the sun, and form a contrast with the rich-green, narrow leaves.
The only low-growing plant in flower I could find last month was the appealing Pimelea octophylla Woolly Rice-flower, well worth a look with its nodding, fluffy flower-heads.
I consider that this month it is best to look up rather than down, as several of our taller trees and bushes will be in flower. After all these years of learning about our plants, I have only just discovered the flowers of Eucalyptus obliqua Messmate.
The abundant clusters of cream flowers are really Snugglepot and Cuddlepie cream cuties; they also have a nice scent and are very attractive to birds.
Our iconic Melaleuca lanceolata Moonah, with its small, creamy-white, bottle-brush-like flowers, is always good to see in late summer.
A favourite of mine is the usually unappealing, spiky Bursaria spinosa subsp. spinosa, Sweet Bursaria, a common plant, growing to about two metres in height.
It has terminal panicles of fragrant, creamy, star-like flowers, which attract a range of insects – a delight to watch on hot summer days.
Two large shrubs, which often confuse people with their similar foliage and flowers, are both in flower over the summer period. Ozothamnus ferrugineus Tree Everlasting, the less spectacular of the two, has masses of flower, with tiny, scented, white flowers in rounded clusters.
Cassinia aculeata Common Cassinia, has tiny, white flower-heads, which can be domed, but have a flatter look than the blossoms of Tree Everlasting, and finer leaves with rolled-under margins.
Look out for the small seeds forming on some of our plants after their spring and early summer flowering. Leucopogon parviflorus Coast Beard-heath, a common coastal bush, has had copious numbers of small, white, sweet seeds.
Coprosma quadrifida Prickly Currant-bush, a shrub found in moist forest woodland, has small, eye-catching, red berries.
Einadia nutans subsp. nutans Nodding Saltbush currently has clusters of tiny, but quite gorgeous, bright-red to orange berries. It also has unusual arrow-shaped leaves, which can be quite variable in size.
Of course, remember to take your Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet when you walk in the heath.
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.