Sunday, August 10, 2008

Parramatta Wattle

As promised, here is another of my wattle trees in flower. It is Acacia parramattensis, the Parramatta Wattle. When I bought it, the tag said that it would grow to five metres high. That's great, I thought; I need something to protect the house from westerly sun, but not something that will grow tall enough to obstruct our electrical wires. And it's a native of Western Sydney, too!

See where the wires are?

Oh well, at least it keeps the summer sun off the garden.

I'd guess the tree is about 8m tall. It is only after you've been a victim that you hear that nurseries can be a bit "imaginative" in describing the potential heights of plants. In some cases, this is not their fault: some Australian species vary considerably in height depending on growing conditions. The Royal Botanical Gardens says the Parramatta Wattle will reach 6m. I would guess that they grew it on Sydney sandstone, perhaps in the harbourside gardens, and that it does not really enjoy those conditions. The Australian National Botanic Gardens puts the height at 16m! If this much variation in height is possible, why not give the range on the label?

All my wattle flowers have held on well this year. We've had some cold, rainy weather, and it seems to have lengthened the flowering period. Last year, this tree was only in flower for two weeks before old-gold confetti littered the ground. This year, it's been about a month, and the flowers are only starting to fall.

This brings me to a garden mystery. As I said, I have two Parramatta Wattles. Only this one is in flower. The other is not even in bud. All I can think of is that the second one is growing against a garden shed, giving it a cool root run. Perhaps it doesn't know it's almost Spring. As the temperature outside is currently about 12 C, but the apparent temperature is 6 C, I'm not sure that I'm ready to believe in Spring yet, either.


Anonymous said...

Oooo - its a little bigger than you expected it to be by the looks of it!
I love seeing these little bits of your garden.
You've inspired me - I've just snapped some pics of my favourite parts of my garden and I'll post a blog about it sometime this week.

Anonymous said...

Your acacia is a golden beauty, Chookie. I've never heard it called "wattle" before. You know, Texas has several native acacias too, though I tend to think the Australian ones are more showy.

Chookie said...

Looking forward to seeing your pics, Amanda -- I love seeing other people's gardens too.

Pam, we call it wattle because the convicts built houses of wattle-and-daub construction. They wove the thin branches of acacia between uprights to form walls, then daubed them with mud. Along the way, the plant became identified with the building process. I hope you can find room in your garden for a Texan acacia!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chookie,
The blog about my garden (with pics) is up at:

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Quite a lot bigger than you expected then. Perhaps it would be wise if they put the whole growth range on the labels. I've bought many a plant that turned out to be mostly twice as big than what it said on the label. ;-) But nevertheless, your wattle is a handsome tree.