Garden Inspiration: the Berry Public School Plant Propagation Nursery

It can be a struggle to find local native plants, including some of the really cute and useful ones. In the Illawarra region, as in many other areas, a lot of the smaller nurseries have sadly closed their doors for one reason or another. 

But, excitingly, some new nurseries are also opening, though some of them are small and run slightly differently from a standard open-seven-days operation. 

One nursery that has an outstanding range of local native species is the Berry Public School Plant Propagation Nursery. Run by volunteers at Berry Public School, and teaching the school children all sorts of propagation-related skills, this is one of the very places I know where you can obtain a range of interesting and unusual species. Plants such as: 
Austral Bugle (Ajuga australe) - a gorgeous little herb suitable for rockeries and cottage gardens. Image by Leon Fuller.
Jasmine Morinda (Gynochthodes jasminoides) - one of the lightest and most delicate vines of the Illawarra region. This is a young plant but shows the habit. It also has pretty orange fruit in autumn or winter. Image by Emma Rooksby. 

Handsome Flat Pea (Platylobium formosum) - a medium sized shrub with large and appealing flowers, and a great choice for sandy soils. Image by Kirsten Vine. All rights reserved. 
Pigeonberry Ash (Elaeocarpus kirtonii) - a slow growing but eventually majestic rainforest tree. (I didn't want to scare you with a shot of the whole tree, so this is just a branch showing the attractive foliage.) Image by Leon Fuller.
Native Mulberry (Hedycary angustifolia) - a bushy large shrub or small tree with interesting (but sadly inedible) yellow-orange fruit. Image by Byron Cawthorne-McGregor.
Hairy Psychotria (Psychotria loniceroides) - an under-used small tree to no more than 4m, with bunches of pale yellow-green fruit. Image by Kath Gadd. All rights reserved. http://malleedesign.com.au
The nursery is just crammed, with these species alongside many of the more commonly grown rainforest and woodland species of the Illawarra. You can also find such rarities as Blunt Sandalwood (Santalum obtusifolium), Forest Hounds-tongue (Austrocynoglossum latifolium) and Rainforest Spinach (Elatostema reticulatum). I don't have even halfway decent photos of those to share, unfortunately, but they all have lots of garden potential. 

The Berry Public School Plant Propagation Nursery is located on Clarence Street in Berry. It is generally open on Wednesdays from 1pm-3pm and Thursdays from 3pm-4pm during school term time, or at other times by appointment.  Contact Lyn Clark on lyn-clark @ outlook.com.au or (02) 4464 3911 for a full species list 

PS Apologies for the long gap between posts. This blog will become more regular from now on, as I integrate it with a much larger project about growing Illawarra natives - watch this space!

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