Sweet heaven for birds
You are guaranteed to see honeyeaters busying themselves in the Grevillea and Hakea Garden because they can not resist the super-abundance of nectar.
What is equally satisfying is that here you can glean ideas to take home and create a backyard full of birdlife, because these members of the Proteaceae are great in cultivation - easy to grow, drought tolerant, flowering for extended periods, responding well to pruning and demonstrating habits ranging from groundcovers to shrubs and trees.
The Grevillea and Hakea Garden is a magnet for wildlife photographers too, both professional and amateur, because it is brimming with birds and blossom whatever the season.
When finding common names our forefathers occasionally fell short in matching the visual aesthetics of a plant to its moniker, because one beauty, Grevillea armigera, is called prickly toothbrushes! Other highlights include wax grevillea (G. insignis), G. maxwellii, G. plurijuga, the aptly named bird hakea (Hakea orthorrhynca) and the royal hakea (H. victoria) which is a tall, erect shrub with a distinctively sculptural quality.
Then there are the curiosities which intrigue everyone - the cricket ball hakea (H. platysperma) named for its solid spherical fruits, and white plume grevillea (G. leucopteris) whose speciality is smelling like old socks particularly at dusk and dawn, in order to attract moths to pollinate it.
While native plant nurseries now stock a wealth of grevilleas and hakeas, many other species have not yet made the long journey into commercialisation. If you fall in love with an attractive or unusual plant in the Grevillea and Hakea Garden which is not sold by the specialist garden centres, you may be lucky enough to source one at a Friends of Kings Park plant sale.
The Friends grow a large number of commercially unavailable species, including rarities, which can be purchased only at their own sales. The best known sale is the stall at the spring Kings Park Festival, but there are three others during the year.
Every domestic garden gains from having a grevillea or hakea and the feathered visitors which it draws in. Be inspired by this slice of the Botanic Garden and walk away with the confidence that you can recreate the experience at home.