An article by Graham Edwards, State President Returned & Services League of WA (RSLWA), published in For People & Plants Issue 89 Autumn 2015.
The RSL Spirit of ANZAC Grevillea was released by the Returned Services League of WA on 16 March 2015, in partnership with the Kings Park plant breeding program. This new Grevillea variety commemorates the first major military action by Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli a century ago.
The RSL appreciates the development of this unique plant to help commemorate Australia’s fallen. It will enable all members of our community to participate in the centenary of ANZAC. On 25 April 1915 the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps stormed ashore at a location now known as ANZAC Cove. The ANZACs were participating in a major conflict for the first time, just 13 years after Australia’s federation. Some 11,000 ANZACs died at Gallipoli. More than 62,000 Australians fell in the First World War.
The RSL Spirit of ANZAC Grevillea was selected because of its lush red flowers and its tough geographical heritage from across Australia. The parent species of this Grevillea hybrid grow in some of the most inhospitable locations in Australia, either surrounded by hundreds of kilometres of sand dunes, battered by salt laden winds or subject to searing heat.
The red flowers remind us of the blood shed by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and its origins from some of the harshest corners of the country reminds us that the ANZACs came from all walks of life and fought in incredibly hostile conditions. Experts advise me that the RSL Spirit of ANZAC Grevillea is a hardy, bird attracting shrub with stunning large red flowers from autumn to summer. It is suitable for most Australian climates. It thrives in well drained soils and is drought tolerant.
They tell me the RSL Spirit of ANZAC Grevillea will grow in full sun or partial shade, reaching about 2 metres high by 1.5 metres wide when mature. It can be pruned in late spring to keep compact and promote massed flowering.
Once established RSL Spirit of ANZAC Grevillea will grow and flower with twice weekly summer watering and just on rainfall in the wetter months. Apply a slow release fertiliser suitable for Proteaceous plants every six to 12 months as required.
The RSL Spirit of ANZAC Grevillea will be available through the Friends of Kings Park Plant Sales. Check availability on the plant sale list before the sale.
It became available at all leading plant outlets from mid to late March throughout the country. We also hope to see it appear in commemorative parks.
Proceeds from the sale of this variety will go to a special ANZAC Centenary fund managed by the RSLWA.
Photos by David Blumer and Digby Growns.