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Snow Speedwell (Veronica Nivea)

Welcome to Wild at Home Part 5 with special guest Matthew Henderson RBGV

“Those who have trekked through the subalpine wildflower displays over summer in Victoria’s high country, will attest to just how spectacular these rich, colourful tapestries are. One such plant is Veronica Nivea or the Snow Speedwell.”

My special guest Matt Henderson is part of the Raising Rarity Horticulture team at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) He will be sharing another rare plant from the Raising Rarity program and his experience of going on a research and collection trip with the Victorian Seed Bank and why it’s important for all of us to get behind programs like Raising Rarity. Watch the video above, then read to the end for things to do and get involved with!

Today we are imagining ourselves in Victoria's beautiful subalpine regions from Mt Baw Baw and Mt Buffalo Plateaus, Lake Mountain and Falls Creek.

Have you visited any of these areas?

Like many people you probably only visit these areas in snow season, but Matt will be the first to tell you that early summer is the best time to visit then these regions are alive with wildflowers!

Matt shares that "Those who have trekked through the subalpine wildflower displays over summer in Victoria’s high country, will attest to just how spectacular these rich, colourful tapestries are.

Although many of these plants are covered in snow during the winter months, some can happily survive away from these alpine conditions.

One such plant is Veronica nivea or the Snow Speedwell. This low-growing herbaceous shrub has attractive fine foliage adorned with spikes of purple flowers on display throughout most of the year. These traits combined with its general appearance challenge what many would consider a native plant should look like, as it could easily be placed in a cottage garden as well as

native gardens.

It is a great source of nectar for insects and butterflies 🦋"

This small, herbaceous shrub responds well to pruning after flowering, as pruning off spent flowering stems promotes bushier habits.

Flowers from spring to summer, these beautiful little purple delicacies have masses of small purple flowers that attract insects and butterflies to your garden which helps with pollination. The fine foliage is a vibrant green and adorned with small purple to white flowers. Perfect as a border or anywhere in a cottage garden.

Why is this species at risk?

The climatic range of where the Snow Speedwell naturally occurs is beneath snowfall, it's at risk of rising temperatures that directly affect alpine ecosystems. Raising Rarity has been researching how this species performs outside of its natural climate and is trialling its success in suburban gardens.

Climate change is altering the diverse tapestry of our subalpine ecosystems.

A surprisingly, adaptable plant which challenges people’s perceptions of what a native plant should or could look like.

Healthy ecosystems and rich biodiversity are fundamental to life yet habitats of many species are being impacted by climate change. In Australia the climate is expected to become significantly warmer. CSIRO scientists predict that by 2030 average temperatures will rise above 1990 levels by around 0.7–0.9°C in coastal areas, and around

1–1.2°C in inland regions.

On a continent already as warm as Australia, such an increase could have major ecological impacts as ecosystems can be significantly impacted by even slight variations in the global average temperature. Due to the interconnectedness of ecosystems, the extinction of a species may have an impact on a variety of ecosystem functions.

I hope you enjoyed listening to Matt as much as I did, he painted a wonderful picture of the habitat of this beauty (make sure to watch the video above) and why we should get behind the Raising Rarity project.

Thanks so much for joining me Matt! Learn more about Matt's work in the Forest Garden at Cranbourne here: Forest Garden

Join me for Part Six next week Thursday 22nd September for my final interview in this series (for now!), I'll be speaking with Dr Megan Hirst, Raising Rarity Founder and Mandy Thomson, Team Leader Nursery Horticulture.

Awareness is so important to this program, please do subscribe, comment and share this with friends, thank you.

OK now the fun stuff you can get involved with over the coming months:

What's on at Cranbourne:

A special feature of this year’s sale will be the RBGV’s Raising Rarity plants.

Raising Rarity Tours Sat 22nd Oct- Embark on a tour through the Cranbourne Gardens and expand your knowledge about the wonderful world of rare plants.

Are you a keen gardener or someone that would like more native plants around your home? I'm launching a home research project from the Spring Plant Sale, to show how well the Raising Rarity plants are doing in our gardens. You can get involved here!

What's on at Melbourne:

Climate Notes Sat 22nd Oct - An emotive, interactive exhibition and performance work that explores and communicates how we feel about climate change through music, letter writing and moving image.

Botany Bootcamp Sat 24th Oct - Sat 26 Nov - Join Dr Meg Hirst from the Victorian Conservation Seedbank and landscape architect Georgia Warren and work up a sweat as they take you down the garden path. You will receive your very own botanist’s magnifying hand lens to take home.

I'm on a mission to raise $2,000 (or even more as they are so close) in funding to help Raising Rarity meet their $20K goal and I would love your help!

I am releasing 4 special edition, hand signed prints this year for sale with all profits donated to Raising Rarity. You can buy 2 of these prints now with proceeds going to Raising Rarity

These are true reproduction prints on thick 300GSM paper with lightfast professional inks will help you bring nature inside and create a warm inviting space.

Rare plants are often under threat, but not for long if you help save them!

The program Raising Rarity has an innovative approach that uses horticulture to acquire knowledge about rare species. They also engage with communities to increase awareness and understanding so everyone can work together on protecting these delicate ecosystems.

You can learn more here:

**This is not a paid collaboration, the project was my idea, and I am volunteering my time, energy, and art to support the wonderful program and highlight the team of passionate people working hard behind it.

Thanks so much for following along! Your support means so much, please like, comment and share with other gardening enthusiasts, nature lovers and plant lovers so they learn about this wonderful native species 💚 Thank you!


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