Neighbours will be green with envy!
The Euphorbia plant family is believed to be named after the Ancient Greek physician, Euphorbus. Members of the family are commonly known as Spurges, and Craigieburn (Euphorbia amygdaloides) takes its name from Craigieburn Gardens in Scotland.
Growing to a height of 60 centimetres and spreading up to 80 centimetres wide, this hardy perennial has ornamental, deep plum coloured foliage that’s accentuated by red tips on the new growth in spring. During the warmer months of the year, it displays vibrant, lime green flowers, a wonderful contrast to the foliage.
Craigieburn prefers to grow in a sunny spot in most soil types that are well-draining.
It has low water requirements, once established, but appreciates a good soak during extended periods of heat.
This perennial provides a long season of interest, adding permanent structure to mixed garden borders and small spaces. It looks stunning planted in premium-grade potting mix in containers in entertaining areas.
No pruning is required other than the removal of spent flower stems to encourage fresh growth. When pruning, use gloves as the sap can be irritating to skin and eyes. To encourage new, vigorous growth, apply a slow-release fertiliser in spring.
Craigieburn is a charming partner for other Euphorbia family members, such as ‘Ascot Rainbow’ and ‘Silver Swan’.
Top gardening tips for January
• Plant herbs, lettuce, radish and silver beet in full sun. Feed vegetables fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser. Tip-prune herbs to keep them in shape and use the prunings in your cooking.
• Water plants well on scorching hot days. To retain soil moisture, top up mulch on all garden beds to a depth of five centimetres, keeping it slightly away from plant stems.
• Wear a dust mask when using potting mix to avoid inhaling any particles and wear suitable gloves.
Backyard Beekeeping Workshop: Learn everything you need to know about bees, the equipment needed and how much honey you can expect. Honey tasting and comprehensive notes are provided and places are limited. $129. 10am-4pm, Saturday, 27 February, Northern Beaches Community College (9970-1000).
Gardening for Large and Small Spaces Workshop: Whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping an existing area, you’ll enjoy learning how to transform an open space into a haven for relaxed living. Comprehensive notes are provided and bookings are essential. $129. 10am-4pm, Sunday, 28 February, Northern Beaches Community College (9970-1000).
Judith Sleijpen is an experienced horticulturist, columnist and garden designer, advising clients on all aspects of their gardens. For more information, phone 9907 6460.