Call That a Plant? Gigantic Growths in Australian Gardens

ANZ Winter 2014Last Wednesday I released my sixth full-year video in my post called Moving to Australia for the Kids: Our Sixth Full Year in Australia.

For the two Wednesdays before that though, I’ve been trying to catch up with my reprints of articles that have appeared in Australia and New Zealand magazine as I’ve really fallen quite behind.

This article, for instance, appeared in their Winter 2013 edition which I’m sure would have hit the newsagents before Christmas. So, I’m still a few months behind, but I’m getting there.


Call that a plant?

I am often misquoting iconic Aussie Paul Hogan from his first Crocodile Dundee film. What he actually says is “Ha ha, that’s not a knife.” Then as he pulls out one much bigger than that being held by his attacker he says “That’s a knife”.

In my head I always thought it was “Call that a knife? This is a knife!” It’s too late for me now though, I can’t stop continuing to misquote him and so today I’m writing about “Call that a plant? This is a plant!

The plant, in all its glory, can be seen in the photograph…

This is a plant

…but before I talk about that I’m going to mention the downside of Australia’s fauna.


Or may I say “Call that a weed? This is a weed!

Since living in Australia I’ve noticed there is some difference between a UK weed and an Australian weed. Back in England, pulling out a weed from my garden involved grasping some sort of 5 or 6 inch long stem by pinching the base with my thumb and forefinger and applying a minimal amount of upward pressure.

Here in Australia things are completely different, especially around where I live which is subtropical Brisbane. Subtropical means that we don’t really get the four seasons, instead we get just two.

Wet and dry.

Weeds particularly love the wet season which can go like this. Sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny, massive storm! Sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny, massive storm! You get the idea.

Weeds love two things; light and water.

Weeds grow so fast during this season it’s hard to know whether it is in fact a weed or tree. But you know it’s not a tree really, because it wasn’t there a few weeks ago. Your thumb and forefinger are useless against this kind of weed. You’ll need to invest in some heavier equipment before your weeds get out of control.

Yes, it’s time to tool up. Essential items include what we call the “whipper snipper” which is really just a grass trimmer but can come with a metal blade attachment that can do substantially more damage to a weed with a 1 inch thick stem than the usual nylon line can.

Those with more than an average sized plot of land will also need a chainsaw, and a petrol leaf blower will also come in handy. And finally, a 6’ x 6’ high walled trailer to attach to your 4×4 so you can transport your dead weeds to the nearest dumping station. Oh, and don’t forget those eye protecting goggles, we do have health and safety here as well.

safety gogglesNature doesn’t just bring us weeds though; Australia is blessed with an abundance of amazing fauna and foliage. I have a couple of cycads in my back garden that, at around 6 feet tall, are probably 20 years old. They can reach 20 feet when they get to around 100 years old. They are fantastic plants, but nothing as magnificent as the plant you see pictured above.

This thing stands about 15 feet tall and is probably as wide. It’s just one of the many outstanding plants that we all see every day and everywhere here in Australia. I honestly do not know what it is called, other than “This is a plant!”

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