Winged dampiera a shy flowerer

My second Dampiera this year, and again from the Australian Garden collection at Cranbourne Gardens. The genus, as noted last time, was named after explorer William Dampier. 

This species, with its flattened stems, is called alata, Latin for winged. It's one of the easily recognised Australian plants due to these distinct stems and that vivid blue flower.

Dampiera alata caught my attention in the Australian Garden because of its vigorous growth and success as a ground cover. It is equally attractive, and rather common, where it grows naturally in the south-west corner of Western Australia.

Claire Farrell and John Rayner from the University of Melbourne included the Wing-stemmed Dampiera in their tough woody meadow mix for Birrarung Marr in Central Melbourne (and later in plant lists for woody meadow trials after the removal of level crossings in suburban Melbourne - where lack of stock meant it wasn't part of the final planting). 

In the woody meadows Wing-stemmed Dampiera is used as an establishing plant to be sacrificed as the canopy plants overshadow it. In the first year, though, it does it's job beautifully.

Although in some settings this species can be difficult to cultivate, once established it suckers easily, making it good for early succession in woody meadows and here in the Australian Garden.

A minor irritation in this setting is the propensity for it to flower at the edges and below the new growth. Maybe some timely slashing? I'll have a chat to our horticulturalists next time I'm at Cranbourne. It's probably a silly idea.