Saturday, 21 December 2019

A Blue Acacia in Daventry?

Last year, during a short break on the Isle of Wight, I saw a stunning specimen of Blue Acacia, Acacia dealbata. Its name refers not to the flowers, which are yellow, but to the foliage, which is of an unusual silvery blue-grey, and it is sometimes called the Silver Wattle.
A fine specimen of Acacia dealbata photographed on the Isle of Wight.
July, 2018

My wife knew I was very taken with it so this autumn, when she was at Grandborough market, she saw a specimen and promptly bought it. I was delighted but at the same time full of doubt. 'You realise, Chris, that this is a distinctly tender species?' 

The pinnate foliage is of a striking silver-blue colour.
'I couldn't resist it,' she protested, and in fact I was delighted. 

So, I filled one of my largest tubs with a suitable compost of a neutral nature (it likes mildly acid conditions) and planted it in a sheltered position against our garage wall. It is not normally trained against a wall and left to its own devices will make a substantial tree. But I am limited in terms of space and in any case the shape of the specimen lent itself to this treatment.

We have had one or two sharpish frost in recent weeks and so I have prayed to Silvanus, Roman God and protector of forests. So far things are looking good and in late winter or early spring we could be rewarded with the patter of tiny rounded heads of yellow, possibly fragrant, flowers.
The foliage is looking healthy and flower buds are forming.
Stefen Hill, Daventry, 21 December, 2019

Acacias, also known as wattles, are found throughout much of Australia and adjacent islands. They were once placed in the same genus as the African acacias but the latter are now placed in other genera. Even so, Acacia remains almost the largest genus of plants on earth with something in the region of 1,200-1,300 species.

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