Green Thumb | Gardens catching a break

WINDS OF CHANGE: Instead of opting for the usual and common choices, dare to be different when it comes to windbreaks and seek out something more dramatic. This planting shows conifers used as a successful windbreak.
WINDS OF CHANGE: Instead of opting for the usual and common choices, dare to be different when it comes to windbreaks and seek out something more dramatic. This planting shows conifers used as a successful windbreak.

Windbreaks can be as small as half a metre or as large as you like, depending on the purpose of your planting.

People change micro-climates to protect property, animals or other plants, so plant selection is very important to achieve your goal.

Vast expanses of property exposed to the elements seem to end up with the typical cypress windbreak, large and majestic, but there is so much more.

Many of our heritage estates have established windbreaks multi-planted in alternating rows to create this barrier that slows the wind down as it uses all its energy to go up and over the layers of dense foliage.

Windbreaks provide shelter from hot winds, frosts and the damaging speed and force of the wind itself. Such majestic windbreaks add value to property for many generations to enjoy.

Cupressocyparis leylandii a beautiful tough conifer and Callitris glaucophylla, our very own Murray pine are typical specimens of great windbreaks.

The Cupressus torolosus, otherwise known as the Bhutan cypress, grows well in the north east region of Victoria. The Bhutan cypress is designed for the impatient gardener, growing quickly with an upright habit that could reach 40 metres. Growing approximately 60 cenimetres per year enables you to establish your windbreak quickly.

For something a bit smaller the apple gums, or Angophora floribunda is closely related to the eucalypts and in the same family. They can reach heights of 30 metres and make great specimens for windbreaks when multi-planted.

Not only is it functional but attractive with profuse creamy white flowers mainly in summer. This type of Australian native is a true compliment to its surroundings, providing shelter, food and nesting for many of our Australian birds and animals.

For something exotic the Acer davidii, commonly called the snake bark maple is an interesting choice.

Gardeners who prefer something deciduous will find this tree provides protection in the summer and a display of spectacular colour as the leaves fall. In winter this tree reveals the smooth olive green bark which is unusually striped with white.

The overall shape of this tree is quite domed and looks great in rows inter-planted for the eye to follow. This tree grows to about 10 to 15 metres and creates a gorgeous windbreak.

Diary

The Friends of the Albury Botanic Gardens have plants for sale every Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am to noon at their nursery in the gardens behind the curator’s cottage. There is also a plant sale on Sunday March 18, 11am till 2pm at the same location.

Karen McInnes is a teacher at Wodonga TAFE