Lomatia fraseri

Fascinating small tree that is one of the largest members in this genus. This Proteaceous tree harbors interesting irregularly toothed linear leaves and masses of  sweet anise scented curly, ivory colored flowers in mid summer. Moderately fast growing evergreen tree to 18′ tall and 7′ wide in 10 years in our climate. Full sun to high overstory shade is ideal in average, well drained soil. Light supplemental summer water speeds the growth of this elegant plant. Grows on average about 1′-3′ per year. Sophisticated in all its parts it resents soil that is overly enriched (avoid compost) and fertilizer, instead it relished our own unimproved native soils. Simply double dig a wide area before planting to allow oxygen and ease the travel of new roots into virgin soil. Very drought tolerant when established. Avoid exposure to blasting subfreezing east wind. In those zones locate on a west or south facing aspect. Grown for several decades it has never been common in our area. Native from the mountains to the rain forest verges in SE Australia. Cold hardiness increases substantially with age. In time it forms a handsome somewhat conical shaped tree of delightful texture.

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Lomatia polymorpha

Wonderful and deliciously fragrant clusters of relatively large white flowers wave above long thin evergreen foliage in early summer on this tough shrub. Proteaceaous plant native to Tasmania where it is unoriginally known as Variable Leaf Lomatia or Mountain Guitar Plant. To 8′ tall in 7 years and about 4′ wide. Full sun and average to poor soil. Regular summer water for the first season to establish and spur growth. Little to no summer water when established. Grows quickly when established. Always handsome- the underside of the 1″-3″ long leaves are covered in rusty fur. Best on a warm south facing slope, mix with Arctostaphylos or Grevileas (which also appreciate NO supplemental fertilizer or compost). Best in unimproved native soils. Double dig a wide area around the hole incorporate oxygen into the soil and allow water and roots to penetrate. Lomatias are classy evergreen shrubs that we are lucky to be able to grow. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF. (Lo-MAY-shuh)

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Lomatia tinctoria

AKA Guitar Plant from Tasmania. Still can’t tell why its called that. Perhaps the shape of the finely divided leaves? I dunno. Awesome shrub though that only reaches about 4′ high and 3′ wide in 7 years. In mid-late spring amazing 1′ long spikes rise and unfurl a multitude of curly ivory colored flowers. The effect is pure Monet. Compact evergreen for poor to average well drained soil. Little to no summer water when established. Does not do shade, of any kind. Do not try. Best sited in a protected location- against a south or west facing wall for instance. Elegant thing. Thanks, Tasmania.

Photo credit: Loree Bohl (Danger Garden)

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Lomatia myricoides

River Lomatia from the mountains of Australia is an elegant shrub in our gardens. Long irregularly toothed blue green leaves give the whole evergreen shrub a soft mein. In late spring clouds of ivory white fragrant flowers foam between the leaves. To 11′ tall and forming an arching vase shape. Full sun and average soil. Avoid fertilizers and compost as it is a Protea. Light summer water. Very graceful. Avoid blasting subfreezing winds with some protection, trees, house walls. Long grown in the PNW but still rare.

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