Today I’m talking with horticulturist Sabina Fielding-Smith about winter-flowering Hakea laurina ‘Stockdale Sensation’ and also two older culltivars of grevillea, Grevillea ‘Ned Kelly’ and Grevillea ‘Superb’.
Hakea ‘Stockdale Sensation’
For the last twenty years, native plant enthusiast, Max Ewer, of Mt Gambier in South Australia, has been passionate about growing the Hakea genus on his property. Back in 2002 Max freeholded 10 acres of land and planted out 600 hakeas. Max now has an extensive collection which boasts hakeas native to Cape York right through to Tasmania. Max is considered an expert in his field of breeding and growing Hakeas. Some websites for growing native plants make the claim that hakeas are only available in their original form and no-one is hybridising. That simply means that according to some, you get only get plants that originally grow in the wild, or bush, but no-one is crossing the pollen between varieties to get a better flowering plant. They couldn’t be further from the truth.
Hakea ‘Stockdale Sensation’ was named in honour of Max’s late wife. Hakea “Stockdale Sensation” has the same amazing flowers as the species, but more of them and is a more bushy plant from all acounts. Hakea ‘Stockdale Sensation’ grows to 2-3m x 2m, is drought tolerant when established, and tolerant of most soil types as long as it’s well draining. Like the species, Hakea “Stockdale Sensation”, starts flowering in winter. For more information about where you can buy this plant in Australia, go to www.pma.com.au for a list of nurseries and garden centres that might have this plant.
Grevillea ‘Ned Kelly’ and Grevillea ‘Superb’
In the 1970s, two hybrid grevilleas came out. One a cross from Grevillea banksii and Grevillea bipinnatifida. This was Grevillea ‘Ned Kelly’. Grows to 2 metres high and wide and seen in many older gardens. The flowers, or more correctly, the racemes, have reasonably distinct bands of colour, starting as red, and fading to yellow. This shrub was successful because it attracted so many mainly larger birds like rainbow lorikeets, plus it’s pretty hardy. Grevillea ‘Ned Kelly’ can take light frost and grows best in full sun but any soil type. It flowers all year, and birds love it.
Grevillea ‘Superb’ was was created by grevillea grower Merv Hodge. One of the parent plants is the white form of Grevillea banskii. The main difference is the foliage is a little darker, and the flowers a deeper colour - more red-apricot at the base fading to light pink. The third main difference is the floral tube is nearly always yellow. To me this is a neater shrub, growing to 1.5 metres. My preference is Grevillea ‘Superb’ but both flower all year long and don’t need too much trimming to keep them bushy. You can prune them back reasonably hard if you have an old plant that’s become overgrown and straggly looking. As with all grevilleas, if you fertilise your garden, these plants are phosphorous sensitive, so only use a native fertiliser or blood’n'bone around them. Why not send in a photo of your Grevillea? c/- 2RRR PO Box 644, Gladesville NSW, 1675