A unique weeping hakea discovered growing five years ago near Margaret River has been chosen by UWA Friends of the Grounds to help celebrate The University of Western Australia's 2013 Centenary Year.
Horticulturalist George Lullfitz said he was looking for new native plants for his Wanneroo nursery when he saw a single tree that was an unusual variation of the popular Hakea Laurina - or pincushion hakea.
"It had taken a weeping form, so I took a cutting and started propagating it," Mr Lullfitz said. "It's a natural variation of the common Hakea Laurina but in a small tree that grows three to five metres instead of to full height."
The result is a highly distinctive West Australian native plant with beautiful ball-shaped crimson flowers. It requires little watering, is perfect for small modern gardens and is highly attractive to birds when it flowers in winter and early autumn.
The plant was chosen by the FoG for its unique appearance and garden-friendly qualities, and nurtured for sale at UWA next month to help celebrate the 100th year of WA's first university.
Popular ABC Radio gardening presenter Sabrina Hahn will launch the UWA Centenary Hakea at 5.30pm on Saturday February 9 during a special Alumni Weekend at the University's Crawley Campus to mark the start of UWA's 2013 Centenary celebrations.
The launch will be held in conjunction with the unveiling of a spectacular new Hours to Sunset Venetian mosaic sundial designed by University alumnus and Academy Award winning artist Shaun Tan on the west wall of UWA's University Club, near Car Park 3 off Hackett Drive Entrance No. 1.
Newly-elected FoG President Judith Edwards said the centenary plants were propagated by tissue culture and received in cell trays, then re-potted and staked by FoG's propagation group and were now ready for sale as healthy young trees.
"We are delighted Sabrina Hahn - who is well known to many Perth gardeners - will launch the UWA Centenary Hakea and entertain guests with her delightful wit and ability to answer even the trickiest horticultural questions," Ms Edwards said.
"Most fittingly, the Hakea Laurina is one of Sabrina's favourite plants."
The UWA Centenary Hakea - each with a Lullfitz Nursery commemorative label and growing instructions - will be on sale for $10 or $15, depending on pot size, throughout the February 9-10 weekend, including on the Sunday in UWA's Patricia Crawford Court, opposite the new Hours to Sunset sundial.
Friends of the Grounds was established through the University's Hackett Foundation in 2000 to enhance UWA's Crawley Campus gardens through an annual program of activities, including lectures, seminars, talks, walks, tours, excursions and musical, film, and social events.
Plans to propagate a Centenary Plant started under the leadership of former FoG President Rose Chaney and a propagation group led by committee member Linley Mitchell and prominent WA landscape architect Jean Brodie-Hall.
The weeping Hakea Laurina pincushion flower has also been adapted in two pin designs available for sale at UWA's Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery during the University's February 8-10 Alumni Weekend.
One is a 3D silver and titanium pin fashioned by Perth jeweller Clair Townsend for $140 and the other a pewter broach with the flower rendered in a relief patter by Swan Valley jeweller Jan Zeck for $35.
Judith Edwards (President, UWA Friends of the Grounds) (+61 4) 38 110 135
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783