Monty Don's new Sunday night BBC programme 'Around the Garden in 80 Days' was focussed on the gardens of Australasia last week.
What I found most interesting about the show was Di Johnson's Garden Vineyard (on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne) and the way that she was clipping and topiarising drought tolerant Australian natives into columns and domes - much as we do here with box and yew.
Finding hardy drought and flood tolerant alternatives to our favourite garden plants is going to be more and more important as we continue to garden in the changing climate.
Although Taxus (Yew) is pretty drought tolerant, it is famously averse to waterlogged soil and flooding which can easily kill off even established specimens.
Buxus (Box) can cope with moist to dry conditions but will not survive a drought and the sheared leaves can scorch in hot weather. Add to this potential problems with box blight and there is going to be a real gap in the garden designers planting palette if an alternative is not found for this plant.
The two main Australian plants used for clipping are lillypillies and westringia, also known as coastal rosemary. I'm off to order some so that I can see how they fare here in the UK.
I'll let you know how I get on...