June 19, 2024

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Dodonaia: a versatile plant that reaches three meters in height

Dodonaia: a versatile plant that reaches three meters in height

Photo: Alina Leva

One of the important pleasures that every garden offers to the one who takes care of it, and of course to his relatives, is the comfort he feels while sitting in a quiet corner of it. Time seems to flow more slowly, distractions are reduced, and stress dissipates. Is there anything that can disturb this peaceful state, perfect for meditation or a pleasant conversation with friends? I’m afraid, I suffer and I know it. It comes to knowing, or even suspecting, that some prying neighbor’s gaze is recording our every move. In a world where almost everything in the public space is censored, I must dare to defend the inaccessible character of our little private paradise.

I don’t like repeating myself. But of course, whenever I get the chance, I do. The mother of learning, you know. I will therefore again sing the praises of the plant hedge, that is, the natural structure which on the one hand has the gift of limiting the force of the wind to a great extent, while on the other hand protecting our space perfectly from prying eyes. When I realized several years ago how annoying my neighbor insisted he was, I began looking for affordable evergreen shrubs that would tolerate the less-than-ideal soils of my then-garden, grow quickly and look more than just green. It was not difficult for me to find solutions. There are a large number of plants on the market that meet the above requirements. I even bought a few pieces from a lot that I hadn’t even known existed until then, and of course today they are well known. In addition to the deep red color of its long, narrow leaves and its dense, recessed branching, it is also credited with its colorful name “dodonaea”. I certainly knew that it was not a plant native to our country, but I assumed it was so named to honor the ancient oracle of Dodoni and the talking holy oak. I have fallen. In fact, dodonaea (Dodonaea viscosa) was named thanks to the great Flemish physician Rembert Dodoens, who lived in the sixteenth century and is recognized as one of the fathers of modern botany. His real last name was unpronounceable, so he decided to use his young father’s Dodo to illustrate what he had become known as. The Latin dominant in the sciences preferred to call it Dodonaeus, and thus, by a really circuitous route, a genus of plants, to which the aforementioned also belongs, got its name.

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This particular species has a distant origin from Australia, but due to its diverse nature, it grows naturally on all continents, except for Europe and Antarctica. Its ornamental variety (var. purpurea), usually found in nurseries, has no difficulty in growing up to three meters wide and up to two meters in diameter, and thus offers useful services to those who wish to defend their garden from curiosity and cunning. Even better, of course, when planted in rows, it also shows great aptitude for pot growth. Its pink bloom, which appears in late spring, is somewhat inconspicuous, but the many red capsules that emerge from it are certainly an interesting touch.

The soil is light and fertile

→ Dodonaia needs bright spots and fertile, well-draining soil to grow quickly. It has no problem with heat, while it can tolerate drought quite well, some watering in hot summer would certainly favor it. However, in areas where the temperature drops below -5 ° C in winter, it does not bloom. To maintain its compact shape, prune it slightly in late winter.

We thank Horomidis Agricultural Company for their assistance with photography.