It’s the day after Christmas and it’s hot. This weather has a remarkable effect on some plants. It took a while for us to realise that the loud bangs we keep hearing in the garden during summer are the native hardenbergia pods popping open to disperse their seeds with a fierce little explosion. This morning I noticed that the Augusta kennedia (Kennedia lateritia) I planted earlier in the year is suddenly decorated with dry, dark brown seed cases and some of them are already empty. As I looked at the plant, several burst open in front of my eyes and I saw the tiny black seeds for the first time, arranged perfectly within, in two opposite rows. Seeing the first flowers had been a treat but there’s something even more special about this evidence that the first little Augusta kennedia I planted is happily continuing its cycle of growth.
Known in the 1830s as Kennedia marryattae, this was one of Georgiana’s favourite plants and she used it as a densely growing climber, combined with native hardebergia, to provide shade on her verandah and a vivid splash of mixed colour: brick red and blue-mauve.
Not for the first time, I wondered whether my own instinct in the garden was mirrored by hers a hundred and eighty years ago as I decided to try and collect a little of the seed to germinate in pots and replant for next year. Then I wondered if she too was surprised, the first time, by the vicious little spike positioned right on the end of each seed pod to keep predators like us away!