Sunday, 6 April 2014

Summer Series Eucalyptus ‘Summer Red’

This is the small flowering gum ‘Summer Red’ which is in flower now.

It’s a hybrid grafted form that was originally introduced to make it possible to grow these in the eastern states. I’ll let Angus Stewart from Garden Drum explain

The strategy [the breeder] chose was to hybridise Corymbia ficifolia, the red flowering gum from around Albany in south-west Western Australia with the swamp bloodwood, Corymbia ptychocarpa from northern Australia, which has the same spectacular terminal flowers common to all the Corymbias, but is obviously much better equipped to cope with the humidity and heat of northern Australia. By crossing those two species together, we get a group of hybrids which has been marketed as the Summer series – ‘Summer Red’, ‘Summer Beauty’ and ‘Summer Snow’, a white variety.

It’s a brilliant tree with spectacular clusters of red flowers that literally drip nectar when they first open. These fill the air with a fresh sweet fragrance that rivals any rose. New growth is red. It’s been extremely healthy too; usually native trees are a bit prone to scale in my experience.

It’s supposed to be a relatively small tree I think. I prune mine down to about 2.5 metres in autumn because I need to let light in to other plants on its southern side and for my frog pond (it’s called that but there are no frogs in it – yet. I’m confident one day there will be…) that sits below it. Over a summer it grows back to I guess around 4 metres. It never complains and bounces back to its usual attractive round headed form.

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