Plant of the Month — June 2012
Templetonia retusa (Vent.) R.Br. — Cockies Tongues
July is midwinter and what better plant to brighten grey skies than Templetonia retusa or Cockies Tongues! This much-branched shrub, growing in height to 4m is a member of the Papilionaceae family and splashes the landscape with colours of white (rarely), yellow, pink, scarlet and vermilion from April through to November: the flowers making a dramatic contrast with the deep green leaves.
Templetonia retusa is a plant found generally round the coast from Shark Bay in the north to Israelite Bay on the south coast and into South Australia. It favours sandy soils or loam over limestone.
Once established, Templetonia retusa will bring honeyeaters in numbers to any garden. If it finds a spot where it is happy it will also self-seed and so may create a garden theme. It has large seed pods which are dehiscent and seeds which are easy to collect. If growing from seed, cover with boiling water until the seed swells and then plant in pots or in situ. This shrub is happy to be pruned, but not in late summer or autumn or its flowers will be lost. Templetonia retusa is stocked by wildflower nurseries and sometimes general nurseries. Go out and buy!
Photo: M. Hislop
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