By Shelby Brooks
INVERLOCH is about as far away from the arid interior of our country as you can get, yet growing in a hothouse on Lindsey Close is an icon of the Australian desert.
Alan Francis, with help of neighbour Bev Kurrle, successfully grew a Sturt Desert Pea, despite it not being native to Victoria.
Bev and husband Frank travelled with Alan from Birdsville to the Flinders Rangers in 2019, where the trio were taken with the distinctive blood-red plant.
They bought a packet of seeds, not really thinking they could ever grow it.
Three months ago, they planted the 20 seeds, with three germinating and producing the famous flowers.
“It was very exciting,” Bev said.
There were many internet searches and books read that contributed to the success of the plant’s growth, and lots of care taken every day.
The pea has long taproots, so it had to be planted in a tall pot with the water source at the bottom.
Normal potting mix was used and the plant lives in a hothouse ensuring the temperature is always desert-like.
“It was a group effort,” Alan said.
“It’s something you won’t see outside of the desert, or maybe anywhere else in Victoria.”