By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs
Looking fantastic at the moment is an Australian native plant called Hardenbergia violacea, or commonly known as the ‘Happy Wanderer’ vine. It is one of my favourite climbers, mainly due to the impressive flower chains it produces at this time of year. With winter being cold and a little gloomy it is always exciting to see some vibrant blooms in the garden!
Hardenbergia violacea is a dense and vigorous growing vine that is commonly used to cover fencing or vertical structures. It has the potential to reach a height of 2-3 meters( 6-10 feet) and has a smaller spread of 1 – 1.5 meters (3-4 feet). They grow best in full sun but can be grown in a semi shaded position. They are an evergreen climber, making them a great option if you are looking for a vine that will not drop its leaves. The foliage is a brilliant green with a glossy texture and prominent veining, making them a great contrast against other plants and textures.
Blooms will start to emerge in winter and will continue to flower until early spring. Pea shaped flowers appear in mass clusters and are a vibrant rich purple colour. White and pink coloured varieties are also available. H. violacea is great for attracting bees into your garden and will help to promote cross pollination amongst your plants. But keep in mind if planted in a semi shaded position they won’t bloom to their full potential. To get the best out of the plant in terms of growth and flowers plant them in a sunny position. They like to be grown in well drained soil and preferably planted in a frost free position (although they can tolerate light frosts).
After they have finished flowering in spring, it is best to give them a prune to encourage compact and healthy growth. Pruning can also help to encourage better blooms in the next flowering season. After pruning, it is always a good idea to feed them with a native slow-release fertiliser. Hardenbergia violacea can make for some brilliant displays and can be used in many different ways in the garden. If you are looking for a climber to go up a pergola, along a fence line, or to make a funky espalier, I highly recommend that you consider this plant!