WITH this winter being one of the wettest in the past couple of decades, a question that could be asked is what impact has it had on the plants in the garden?
Well, the rain has been a hassle to the flower and veggie bed and a number of softer foliaged shrubs but on the brighter side of the garden dozens of shrubs are blooming great.
I believe that when planning home gardens, it is always good to look around for those winter-flowering shrubs, ground covers and climbers for future garden colour features to brighten the drabbest time of the year for most gardens.
drive around any town in the region will reveal a floral feast of blooming plants.
Even our western garden enthusiasts can select attractive winter-flowering shrubs to brighten their gardens - like in the medians gardens of Rockhampton where Gazanias scandens has been so successfully used to brighten the streetscape.
Gazanias scandens is available in several colours, and may be planted as a colour mix or as a single colour for greater impact.
In Mackay the evolvulus pilosus, or blue eyes, has been used for a colourful street display. Evolvulus pilosus is a popular species for roadside and other landscaping because of its toughness.
It produces prolific quantities of blue flowers, and there is also a white-flowering form. It does need to be cut well back from time to time so as to keep it looking fresh, compact and healthy.
Another colourful plant that can be used as a ground cover or as a creeper on a fence or trellis is the Clerodendrum splendens or bleeding heart.
Clerodendrum splendens can highlight a garden during this time of the year, where the sprays of red flowers form a flowing splash of colour.
It is not just the ground covering plants that are looking great but even many shrubs are making a floral impact. Shrubs like the Streptosolen jamesonii or orange browallia are also looking impressive.
This evergreen small shrub can grow to 1m high with masses of orange yellow flowers in clusters all over the bush during winter and spring. It likes both sunny and semi-shaded positions.
A shrub that is often overlooked for the garden but can become covered in flowers is the malvaviscus arboreus or Turk's cap.
Malvaviscus arboreus is a weeping red flowering shrub that is great under trees where you want some colour but will also take hot afternoon sun.
This shrub looks much like a hibiscus whose flowers are ready to open. In fact, the flowers never open much, hence its other common name of sleepy hibiscus.
The Turk's cap is drought resistant and adaptable to clay, sand, sun, or shade and may take some frost.
Mount Morgan's floral gift to the world is also looking at its best.
Acacia podalyriifolia, or Mt Morgan silver wattle, is a delightful, fast growing small tree 3-4m x 2-3m with rounded silvery/grey foliage and gold ball-type flowers massed over the plant in winter.
This shrub requires a sunny well-drained position for the best growth.
With showy red pom-pom flowers the Calliandra haematocephlala or red pom pom is not only attractive to look at, it is also very hardy.
The flowers of the Calliandra appear most of the year, though heaviest during July and August. It is a large spreading shrub, growing up to 3m and can be kept trimmed into a small hedge without a lot of effort.
One of my favourite Bottlebrushes is also blooming great at the moment.
The callistemon sp. injune is a semi-weeping shrub with silvery-grey foliage and profusions of pink flowers that fade to white. This bottlebrush will grow to about 3m high and will tolerate quite dry conditions.
It responds to annual fertilising after flowering. Although the plant can be pruned, this can have the effect of destroying the weeping habit.
So this weekend take a drive around your town and you will notice an array of showy flowering plants that might be perfect for your garden.
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