“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
A South East Queensland spring tiptoes in before winter ends, bringing brilliant skies, surprise storms and that quickening of senses we feel when green is reunited in bloom with its other friends on the colour wheel.
Our special spring post pays tribute to the bursts of colour appearing in our gardens at this time of year, making it impossible not to want to spend more time in them. So, let’s take a stroll and find out what’s flowering in white, pink, crimson, violet, gold, and indigo …
What’s flowering white?
Butterfly Bush (Pavetta australiensis)
Living up to its name, the Butterfly Bush attracts pretty visitors to the garden, including the impressive (yet vulnerable) Richmond birdwing butterfly which feeds on the nectar. Well loved as an ornamental shrub growing up to 3 metres, the BB offers firework blasts of fragrant white flowers in a spectacular show of light lasting until November each year. When this brilliance retires, spherical green fruits will begin to appear in the early new year.
See Butterfly Bush on Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants.
What’s flowering pink?
Bower of Beauty (Pandorea jasminoides)
Once at home on a trellis or fence, Bower of Beauty will strive vigorously for the sunshine that brings forth its gentle floral splendour. Abundant in pastel pink bells of generous proportions, an established Beauty will bloom well into the summertime.
In the early days, dedicated watering in well-drained soil will set Beauty up to be fairly self-sufficient, so that a post-flowering pruning will be one of the few things you need to do to keep this sweet rambler just where you love it.
See Bower of Beauty on the Ecotone stocklist.
What’s flowering crimson?
Little Kurrajong (Brachychiton bidwilli)
Striving for maximum impact, the Little Kurrajong flings off its foliage before bursting forth crystalline clutches of deep crimson buds. Tuberous roots make these variably sized shrubs or trees (of up to 4 metres) remarkably drought tolerant. As Little K ages, its flower production intensifies so much that blooms may sprout from its trunk in addition to its naked branches.
See Little Kurrajong on the Ecotone stocklist.
What’s flowering violet?
Hardenbergia/False Sarsaparilla (Hardenbergia violaceae)
Set against ultra-green leaves, the violet pea flowers of Hardenbergia pop with eye-pleasing contrast. Plant Hardenbergia where its sure to catch some-to-plenty of sunlight and it will reward you with plumes of delicate petals which sing of spring’s imminent arrival. In garden design, the cooler floral tones help to breathe openness into narrow places. And this innate coolness, combined with hardy Hardenbergia’s compact sprawl, makes it a dreamy addition to the romantic gardener’s menagerie or the practical spacesaver’s square metre alike.
See Hardenbergia on Australian Native Plants Society.
What’s flowering gold?
Dogwood (Jacksonia scoparia)
Despite not being a wattle, the Dogwood (which is actually another member of the pea family) lacks little patriotism in its colour scheme. Populous shoots of pea flowers cascade from the upper part of the Dogwood, bathing its grey-green foliage in gold from late spring through to summer’s end. This weeping shrub can reach a tree-height potential of 3 to 4 metres in an open aspect. For those with room, the vociferous Dogwood won’t let you forget what season — or country — you’re in.
See Dogwood on Australian Native Plants Society.
What’s flowering indigo?
Native Iris (Patersonia sericea)
Watch the wavering indigo of Native Iris petals as they catch some breeze and you’ll understand why this clumping belle also goes by the name of Silky Purple Flag around the rockeries. Plant Iris in a well-drained, sunny to part-shady spot with promised moisture, and you’ll find that the bittersweet briefness of each bloom (one day) will be offset by generations of three-petaled wonders throughout the warmer months.
See Native Iris on Australian Native Plants Society.