Winter wonders


Flowers for the cooler months

As our gardens turn into the subtle shades of autumn and winter, this doesn’t have to mean a complete lack of colour, there are still many plants that choose these seasons to show off their best flowering displays.

With exception of some colder places in Australia many of our urban gardens dwell in temperate areas where frosts are mild, meaning our gardens never completely hibernate. The cooler seasonal change and welcome extra rainfall gives plants a chance to recover and settle in.

Autumn is a beautiful season with its warm days, cool nights and crisp mornings. There is finally respite from hot days and a sense of gentle relief in the garden when many plants continue to flower.

Top 5 flowering plants for autumn:

  • Correa – this native shrub is such a performer, it develops small hanging bell-shaped flowers in a range of subtle colours from creamy green to pink (Correa ‘Dusky Bells’) its compact shape is perfect for borders and the birds love them.
  • Chinese Plumbago (Ceratostigma willmottianum) – during autumn not only do its successively bright blue flowers catch the eye but the deciduous foliage turns a lovely shade of red. This uncommon colour mix is wonderful in any garden.  Chinese Plumbago is a shrub that suits a semi-shade spot preferably somewhere it can be enjoyed from the back window.
  • Dahlias –with so many cheerful flower colours to choose from, this tough perennial is a showy stunner that keeps going from summer and throughout autumn. Great as low growing border plant. But watch winter rains as its tubers may rot.
  • Crowea – another native this is a small easy to grow evergreen shrub favouring a moist semi-shade position. Its brightest display of flowers is during autumn and winter when it blooms in masses of small starry pink flowers. Crowea exalata is a native of Victoria and perfectly suited to temperate conditions. With its loose spreading habit it benefits from pruning at the end of winter.
  • Salvia leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage) – ideal for a cottage style garden, the Mexican Bush Sage is an easy care herbaceous perennial with slivery green leaves below arching flower stems in combinations of indigo to dark purple florets during spring and autumn. They prefer full sun positions with some room and after pruning should be cut down to their second growth at the plant base.

 

Including splashes of vivid flower colours into the subtle shades of a winter garden can reconnect spaces and revive interest in the textures, forms and shapes that winter uncovers, here are five must haves for any garden.

Top 5 flowering plants for winter:

  • Camellias – these wonderful evergreen shrubs never go out of fashion, with compact habit and attractive glossy green leaves there are a diverse range of flowering varieties to suit any garden with early to late flowering species available. With careful selection there can be constant flowering displays from April through to August.
  • Kniphofia ‘Winter Cheer’ – as the name suggests a dazzling sight in winter with its arching prominent flower heads emerging on long stems in scarlet and buttery yellow colours. This is a clumping, strappy, vertical plant that is low maintenance, frost tolerant and makes great cut flowers for the home.
  • Hellebores – also known as the roses of winter due to their appealing clusters of cup-shaped blossoms, hellebores come in many varieties of maroon, pink and cream colours and flower long into the winter months. They like to settle in the shade and are great as ground covers under deciduous trees.
  • Azaleas – a traditional and sometimes forgotten plant in the garden, azaleas are being rediscovered for their bright winter colour. They like a naturally acidic soil with plenty of leaf litter coming from a woodland environment. One of the best tall growing varieties that can be planted straight into the garden is Azalea Indicia ‘Splendens’ with a profusion of salmon pink flowers that can be used as a hedge when planted on mass.
  • Daphine – with such an exquisite perfume Daphines are a must for any garden. A compact plant that does well in borders and alongside camellias it has small highly fragrant blooms in profusions of pink, white, yellow, and cream,  Plant it near windows or paths so that the gorgeous scent can be enjoyed close to home.

So with these selections in mind during the cooler months take the time to enjoy the outdoors and add to your garden’s own colourful personality with confidence.

Camellia's are great winter flowering shrubs adding romance to the the garden

Camellia’s are great winter flowering shrubs adding romance to the the garden