Olearias are popular plants with Irish gardeners, especially for those of us who live by the sea. Native to Australia and New Zealand, many of the species have a thick, resistant foliage which tolerates salt-laden winds and can be grown as part of a shelterbelt or as a specimen within coastal gardens. However they should not be confined to seaside locations as they are not only useful but also have attractive foliage and make good garden plants wherever you garden.
One Irish garden, Malahide Castle at Malahide, County Dublin, was a centre for the cultivation and documentation of Olearia and how they performed under Irish conditions, and the owner, Lord Talbot de Malahide, was honoured in the naming of Olearia ‘Talbot de Malahide’, one of our Irish heritage plants. It is a large shrub or small tree with dull green, leathery foliage which is smothered with bloom in late summer. Unlike many olearias with daisy-like flowers, the flowers here are smaller, the showiest parts being the ray florets, those outer flowers with larger petals. The flowers have more ray florets than its supposed parent, Olearia avicennifolia and it is proposed as a possible hybrid. It is unknown in the wild.
As appeared in Newsletter 156, September 2022. Text and photo above courtesy of Brendan Sayers.