Old Pear Tree

For seasonal garden notes, I always start with the news about the weather. it is BORING, but weather will always affect plants and gardens. So it makes any sense if a gardener like talk about it. This morning is sunny 13 deg. C, nicely cool and calm. I can hear the cooing of spotted turtle doves. Busy bees are frantically buzzing about from one flower to another. The cool weather and plenty of rainfalls lately have made plants look fresh. Actually winter this year seems to come a little bit early and it feels much colder, but the experts are worrying about another El Nino. Oh no, I hate El Niño and La Nina….. Hopefully, the prediction of another extreme heat and drought for this year will be wrong.

Winter Colours

During the winter, many gardens look dull without any colours. To bring colours during these cold months, winter flowering plants will be a perfect choice like for examples: Camellias, Jacobinias or Justicias, Azaleas, Crassulas. Some plants will have bright colour foliage during winter such as Nandina. All plants that have leaf colours other than green, will also bring nice contrast like for example silver grey Cotyledon.

Azalea:

Like Rhododendrons, Azaleas enjoy cool and shady area. Recent extreme heat and draught during the summer months have killed many of these acid loving species around Melbourne area. Only one pink Azalea left in our garden.

Pink Azalea

Lucky Jade and Coral Jade:

These two plants are in full bloom in winter time, though they will also flower again in late spring time. Lucky jade is known as Crassula ovata, while Coral jade is Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’. The Gollum variety has leaves that resemble coral shape. Lucky jade plants are very popular among Chinese and Southern Asian people as they are regarderd as plants that can bring good luck. Normally people will place the plants on each side of the front door. If grown indoor or in shady area, these easy to grow succulent plants will not flower at all.

Coral Jade - Crassula vr. Gollum

Coral Jade – Crassula ovata cv. Gollum

Crassula ovata - Fly Crassula ovata

A row of Lucky Jade plants along the fence

A row of Lucky Jade plants along the fence

Jacobinia pauciflora “Firefly’ :

It is also known by the name of Justicia rizzinii. This plant was completely scorched dry during the hot summers of 2013 and 2014, and only now it has made a comeback. A very tough plant indeed!

Jacobinia pauciflora 'Firefly' -Justicia rizzinii Jacobinia pauciflora 'Firefly'

Thryptomene saxicola:
This native Australian plant is easy to grow and will look very attractive when the tiny flowers fully cover the whole plant. When flowering, many bees and even flies will love to gather the sweet nectar. Another popular one is called Grampian Thryptomene calycina.

Thryptomene saxicola

Thryptomene saxicola

Thryptomene saxicola

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ :
Long flowering ‘Yuletide’ camellia contributes some colour to the winter garden, while the others have finished flowering and will flower again in early spring.

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Plants with colourful foliage, Nandina and Cotyleton:

Nandine domestica will bear reddish foliage during the winter while the contrast silver grey colour of Cotyledon add some interest.

Nandina domestica nana - Orange red blush during cooler months.

Nandina domestica nana – Orange red blush during cooler months.

Cotyledon orbiculata - silver grey

Cotyledon orbiculata – silver grey

No, you’re not imagining it. Melbourne’s start to winter has been its coldest in more than 65 years….. The Age Newspaper.