PLANTS IN PLAYSPACES - what works, what doesn’t and how to

PLANTS IN PLAYSPACES what works, what doesn’t and how to
integrate plant materials into outdoor
play settings
Tess Michaels – Tessa Rose Playspace and Landscape
Soil and soil preparation
Care of Plants – the no maintenance myth
Other Factors
•Indigenous rather than native
•Check your neighbourhood
•Try a plant out in a few positions
•Get the staff, families and children involved
•Site security
•Community garden networks
•Do what’s best for your site – don’t try to
duplicate what another centre has done – the
conditions will be completely different!
Trees – Best for Shade
Lophostemon confertus – Brush Box
Tristaniopsis laurina – Water Gum
(new cultivar “Luscious”)
Acmena smithii – Lillypilly
Others to Consider
Elaeocarpus reticulatus – Blueberry Ash – only in 3-5 years playspaces
due to fruit
Pistacia chinensis – still a good deciduous tree
Smaller gum trees such as summer red, etc,
Waterhousia floribunda – NB new cultivar “sweeper”
Shrubs – some to consider!!
Have had great results with –
Callistemon “Great Balls of Fire” and basically any of
the dwarf varieties of bottlebrush
Eriostemon myporoides – Native Wax Flower –
scented leaves when crushed but doesn’t like humidity
Westringia “Wynyabbie Gem” – some interesting
cultivars of coastal rosemary being developed – this
one grows fast up to 2m
Leptospermum “Cardwell” – have had success with this
as both a tree and a shrub
Baeckea linifolia and virgata in dwarf form– scented
leaves, again works well in most areas
Zieria prostrata – especially
Pink Flecks – scented and
excellent in shade
Scaevola “Purple Fanfare”
Brachycombe – in particular
Break of Day
Lomandra “Tanika” – can’t kill
Goodenia ovata – the
prostrate version
Be open to using grasses as
Grasses for Texture
Pennisetum spp – non-sterile
versions only! Including Nafray,
Rubrum, Black Lea and Purple Lea
Certain cultivars of Lomandra
including Wingarra, Savannah
Blue and Mondra
Dianella spp – best ones –
TasRed, Little Rev and Utopia – NB:
best in playspaces 3-5 years due to
the purple berry
Liriope spp for shade
Poa spp cultivars of Tussock Grass
– Eskdale, Courtney and Kingsdale
– creek beds, around sandpits, etc
My favourite three that work
extremely well in a range of
conditions are –
Pandorea jasminoides and
pandorana – wonga wonga vine
Hibbertia scandens – Yellow
Guinea Flower
Hardenbergia violacea – Purple
Coral Pea
Overused Plants!!!
Murraya paniculata – Mock
Buxus spp*
spp and
Clivea spp *
* Some of these are listed as poisonous
plants for child care centres
•Start with a small area
•Give children some level of input and ownership
over the plants used
•Incorporate the plants into the programming
•Be prepared to put in some time
•Get to know what the main toxic plants look
like – this may involve creating a sheet with the
name of the plant and a photo NB: Some toxic
plants are weeds!!!
Those who dwell among the
beauties and mysteries of the
earth are never alone or
weary of life.
~ Rachel Carson ~