bird-attracting plants

Seasonal colour and interest — Spring

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

—Margaret Atwood

Hardenbergia violacea below a spring sky

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 …

Butterfly bush (Pavetta australiensis flower)Double flowers on Bower of Beauty (Pandorea jasminoides)Little kurrajong (Brachychiton bidwilli)Hardenbergia violaceaeDogwood (Jacksonia scoparia)Patersonia sericea_native_iris


What’s flowering white?

Butterfly Bush (Pavetta australiensis)

Butterfly bush (Pavetta australiensis) — floweringLiving 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)

Double flowers on 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)

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)

Hardenbergia violaceaeSet 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)

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)

Patersonia sericea_native_irisWatch 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.

Seasonal colour and interest — Autumn

“Autumn … the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

—William Cullen Bryant


While less dramatic than some parts, the crisp blue days of a South East Queensland autumn offer many quiet changes to ponder, and reassuring signs of what will follow in the fullness of time.

Our special autumn post points out some of the colour and interest you can enjoy in our little corner of the world at this time of year … So, let’s take a stroll and find out what’s flowering, changing colour, thriving, seeding and just being plain beautiful right now.

Wax Flower Vine (Hoya australis) — flowering  Bolwarra/Native Guava/Copper Laurel (Eupomatia laurina)Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)Brisbane Laurel (Pittosporum revolutum)Beauty Berry, Velvet Leaf (Callicarpa pedunculata) berries


What’s flowering?

Wax Flower Vine (Hoya Australis)

Wax Flower Vine (Hoya australis) — floweringIn the cooler months, the Wax Flower Vine erupts clusters of perfumed, waxy white flowers with delicate pink markings. Equally happy in sun or shade, the WFV will flower best with some sun and — if the soil is well-drained — will do very well in containers and hanging baskets, attracting butterflies such as the Common Crow butterfly for which it is a foodplant.

Note: As with some other poisonous plants, be wary of the WFV’s milky white sap.

See Wax Flower Vine on the Ecotone stocklist.

What’s changing colour?

Bolwarra (Eupomatia laurina)

Bolwarra/Native Guava/Copper Laurel (Eupomatia laurina)A lush shade-loving plant with glossy young foliage and arching branches, Bolwarra’s leaves can change colour in cold temperatures, lending it the pseudonym of ‘Copper Laurel’.

Pruning Bolwarra for a more compact form also turns it into a beautiful container plant for shady balconies, so that you can look forward to the warmer month’s perfumed white flowers, followed by fruit which is widely recognised as a bushfood and referred to as ‘Native Guava’.

Note: For safety’s sake please research all bushfood before consumption.

See Bolwarra on the Ecotone stocklist.

What’s thriving?

Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)

Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)An evergreen scrambler which grows vigorously as a vine or groundcover without taking over, Wombat Berry continues to thrive in autumn and is tolerant of some sun with its shade. The Wombat Berry’s small star-shaped flowers appear in spring, followed by bright orange berries which dot their sunshiney colour throughout the garden before opening to show black seeds.

See Wombat Berry on the Ecotone stocklist.

What’s seeding?

Brisbane Laurel (Pittosporum revolutum)

Brisbane Laurel (Pittosporum revolutum)The Brisbane Laurel requires little water, making it low maintenance in the drier months when its bright red bird-attracting seeds are ripening (March to May). Less water keeps the shrub smaller, making it perfect for pots in full or filtered sunlight.

In spring, the Brisbane Laurel’s yellow flowers put forth sweetly scented blooms followed by interesting orange fruit that open on the plant to again reveal the autumnal seeds.

See Brisbane Laurel on the Ecotone stocklist.


What’s beautiful?

Velvet Leaf/Beauty Berry (Callicarpa pedunculata)

Beauty Berry, Velvet Leaf (Callicarpa pedunculata) berriesWhen in fruit this shrub is very decorative; at other times it blends in to the vegetation. Plant now to establish and look forward to seeing a summer transformation when the Velvet Leaf decorates itself with small pale pink flowers followed by bunches of lustrous purple bird-attracting berries that last into early autumn.

See Velvet Leaf on the Ecotone stocklist.