Acacia baileyana “Purpurea”

This Acacia baileyana “Purpurea” is more accustomed to sun and drought in its native Australia but it is holding up very well under the strain in our dank and damp atmosphere and has flowered beautifully this winter.  The yellow pompoms flowers against the grey/purple tinged young feathery growth is a glorious sight on a dismal day.  It is quite tender and will not tolerate too many or too harsh a frost and I have been thankful on its behalf for this mild winter as it is its first winter out in the big bad world.  Its common name in Australia is the Cootamundra Wattle.  Cootamundra is a small rural town in New South Wales and it is a 50km area around this township that this acacia is endemic.  However in other areas of Australia it has escaped from gardens and become an invasive weed.  The genus name comes from the greek akis which means thorn, a defence many of this genus have against browsers.  Baileyana refers to the botanist Frederick Manson Bailey whom this was named after.  It produces prolific amounts of pollen and is an important plant in honey production, unfortunately I think the flowers may be a little early for Betsy’s Bees.

I was hoping for a clear day today but it began again in true Lorne Doone style which lingered; a thick sea mist (sounds more romantic than fog) that was as wet as it was dense.  Water droplets created a silvery sheen across the garden.  Perhaps we should just give up and grow mushrooms.


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