One of the fantastic things about a polytunnel is that is can allow you to experiment with growing plants that would not usually survive in the UK, or which would be difficult to grow here. You can begin to branch out and grow plants from different climate zones. You can even grow plants that 'belong' on the other side of the world. This makes it possible to turn your polytunnel into a magical place, which can transport you to foreign places. By planting the right combination of plants and taking care of all their needs, you could also create a place that makes it feel like you have gone on holiday when you are still in your own back garden. Here are some hints to help you create a feel of Australia in your polytunnel:
Perhaps the most exotic part of Australia for those from the UK is the tropical 'Top End'. To recreate a tropical area (without a hot house) you will have to select your plants carefully. There are however, several tropical looking plants that can thrive in our environment. Try, for example, a cabbage palm or tree ferns as a centrepiece of a large Australian themed polytunnel, or a range of smaller ferns in a smaller one.
Several exotic looking flowers from Australia's sub tropical regions look like something from another world and are wonderful at evoking a strong sense of place. Try Anigozanthus, Chorizema ilicifolium or eye catching species of Grevillea. More experienced gardeners may have some luck in a polytunnel with Banksia, which can be difficult to grow for less experienced or less green fingered gardeners. With some extra heat and protection in the winter, there are plenty of colourful blooms to grow that come from the other side of the planet and make you feel like you have gone there.
Not all Australian plants need tropical or sub tropical conditions, however. Those found in the south east and in Tasmania can often be grown in an unheated polytunnel in the UK with no trouble at all – some relish the cooler weather and can thrive in a polytunnel or even outdoors in a garden. One easy to grow, low-growing tree is the Jounama snow gum. Plant that with Alpine mint bush and woolly tea-tree for a very Australian look. Plant guitar plant for its fragrant flowers, Leatherwood 'pink cloud' for its beautiful flowers, or other plants originally from Tasmania.
Whether you love Australia or have never been, you can recreate a little bit of it in your own back garden. A polytunnel can make it easier to grow a wide range of Australian plants as well as other plants from around the world.