A Snug Shrub Letterbox: Let me introduce you to some versatile and thrifty plants to create a carpet of foliage around your letterbox.
As I wander along the suburban streets, there is one thing I notice about many of my neighbours’ gardens – the space below the letterbox is often left bare.
It seems to be common across all styles of garden and that’s really quite a shame. As I pass by a house, my eye wanders across the landscaping of the front yard, an ornamental tree in the centre. Or perhaps a luscious lawn might extend down to the driveway, flowering shrubs lining a fence. But then there is a gap of dusty soil that seems to have been forgotten, a patch of potential garden unused. This is where the letterbox resides, all on its own.
Now maybe your letterbox is built into the fence, so that’s an exception. But for those of you with a neat little letterbox propped on a pole, or a letterbox within a pillar, something can be done to turn that barren space into a flourishing cover of greenery.
Let me introduce you to some versatile and rather thrifty plants to create a carpet of foliage around your letterbox.
Geraniums are very easy to grow and provide regular bursts of flowers. They will grow in full sun to part shade, ideal for being tucked under an exposed letterbox. They like well-drained soil and not too much nutrients.
Geraniums can be grown very easily from cuttings. It is always enjoyable to collect new stems from the neighbours’ plants as you go for a walk (asking first, of course!). The cuttings can be simply stuck in the ground and watered in – or grow small plants in a pot to mature a little before planting out.
Geraniums are also good because if your postie drives over the plant, broken stems can be planted and grow back in no time!
It’s important to prune geraniums to stop them going leggy. Pinch tips after flowering in warmer months to encourage more flowers. A generous trim in autumn keeps the plant compact.
You can never go wrong with succulents and planting a variety of species can create some groovy textures. Like geraniums, these can be grown from cuttings and will tolerate a bit of rough wear from passers-by.
Check out the video link below from Gardening Australia for how you can propagate succulents. (Also note you don’t have to be so meticulous!)
Succulents love a sunny position, although too much heat in summer can crisp up leaves.
Also have a look at these sassy sisters in Brisbane doing cool things with their succulents.
Native ground covers –
There is a wide range of beautiful native Australian ground covers that will happily live below your letterbox.
Correa have little bell-shaped flowers mainly in winter. They are very good for attracting birds into the garden.
Ground cover grevilleas are another lovely low growing Australian native, suitable for full sun to part shade. Grevilleas flower best in full sun. They are very hardy and fast growing. Just be warned some varieties have spiny leaves.
Finally, Kangaroo Paw (or Anigozanthos), are rewarding plants to grow, with beautiful, bright and attractive flowers.
Have a look at the link below for some tips on choosing and growing Kangaroo Paws.
There is such a wide variety of splendid plants out there perfectly suited to life below the mailbox. Now is the time to go outside and create your own snug shrub letterbox!