9. In the garden
Perhaps the poisoning of the Tree of Knowledge was politically motivated, but eucalypts have somewhat of a reputation for being difficult in the garden. To hear some speak, having a euc within coo-ee of home is a death wish, as if the trees build up years of simmering resentment and then just lose it, throwing their toys and limbs out of the cot and onto innocent suburbs below. Having said that, being woken by the sound of lightning striking a euc outside our family home during a cyclonic summer night, is a very clear and strong childhood memory.
Despite this, one of Australia’s most famous gardens, Cruden Farm, the long-time home of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, is most famous for its entry drive avenue of lemon-scented gums. If you don’t have a Murdoch-sized garden what can you grow? The plunkett mallee (E. curtisii) is a small tree, growing to 6 metres with lovely cream-coloured flowers; the swamp bloodwood (E. ptychocarpa) is a tall tree to 8 metres; and the ‘Summer’ range of hybrid gums have selected Western Australian flowering eucs grafted onto rootstock that enable them to better tolerate out humidity. Check out Fairhill Nursery’s range.
Tips for Young Players: planting two or three trees in the same hole creates a multi-trunked effect, and allows the canopies to grow together and not shade out your whole garden.