Despite last weeks’ brief snowfall, there is still a fair bit of floral interest in the garden.
My little free dianthus has relished the cool weather and the highly variable cosmos continue to flower:
The impatiens has done virtually nothing all summer long and is now starting to be affected by the cold. I’ll probably dig it up and see if I can over-winter it in a pot as I am sure that there must be some flowers for next year as well, given how little it has grown this spring and summer!
The last of the summer bloomers can always be relied on to extend the display. Here, Penstemon hartwegii ‘Schönholzeri’ keeps up a fine show:
Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) and Verbena canadensis are still flowering away:
The Iceland poppies, that used to last about 2 weeks in my Sydney garden are still flowering strongly. They have not been without flowers for eight solid months and continue to amaze me. The Muscari clumps look very healthy and appear to be quite early:
Other late summer plants are putting on a brave face. Miniature dahlias that my neighbour gave me continue to flower despite the chill (and slug damage!). The last of the Helenium ‘Riverton Beauty’ brings a cheery yellow to the chicken wire that has been supporting it. Alyssum and self-sown phlox keep a small blueberry company as it changes into its autumn coat, and the Scabiosa ochroleuca ‘Cream Pincushion’ has the most delightful seed-pods imaginable:
Camellia sasanqua ‘Mine No Yuki’ is covered in blossom. With its pendulous branches and blousy form, it makes quite a sight:
Other short lived perennials, like the Argyranthemum frutescens “Crazy Daisy” is greeting the cool weather with increased floral displays:
Australian natives are also getting in on the act. The Brachyscome multifida – a cold hardy (down to -15°C/5°F) and drought hardy native from NSW and Victoria looks great in the softer light of autumn. It is seldom without any flowers, just like the Osteospermums (which are all part of the Asteraceae family):
Another native shrub in the garden, which I have never shown before (partly because it is right at the front of the property beyond an easement line….I never actually spend much time there!) is Banksia spinulosa. This is hardy to at least -12°C/10°F (USDA zone 8a/RHS zone 5 with sharp drainage)
It has magnificent spiky inflorescences and attractive grey-green foliage:
The Grevillia always gives such pleasure, although, after such a damp eight months it is suffering terribly from mildew and mould. Surprisingly, we are still short of our normal rainfall totals by almost 100mm/4″: this will give you an idea of how much rain we actually get here in the mountains.
The unknown hebe is continuing to power along…it will be removed as it is surrounded by cotoneaster, firethorn and blackberry, but I have taken many cuttings of it and it will continue on in the garden.
Salvia greggii cultivars are still flowering profusely throughout the garden:
They really do earn their keep!
For the Galanthus lovers who would now be going through withdrawals after the winter/spring display has finished, there is an summer/autumn flowering variety – Galanthus reginæ-olgœ.
Now this Galanthus is notoriously difficult to get, but don’t despair….it has a cheaper, more readily available cousin in Leucojum æstivum that might be just what you are looking for to give the ‘snow drop’ appearance during the snowflake off-season.
These were here with the house, but they are virtually indestructible. This area has suffered terribly with oxalis infestations, and I can’t tell you how many bulbs I have speared trying to remove the weeds, yet they keep powering along and have multiplied freely since last year:
They’re fairly variable and will likely keep flowering until early winter and probably have another flush in late spring, they are very old-fashioned, and certainly trouble-free.
Autumn is also always a time that delivers lots of out-of-season flowers:
Berries are also a great source for birds at this time of year. Here Rozellas eat the berries of Japanese Privet (I know, it’s a weed, and a shocker at that, but the birds love it; I haven’t brought myself to cut it down yet as it is over 5m/17′ tall and overhanging part of the house!):
And of course, grasses, even those that are mown, provide a lot of seed at this time of year. When not munching on brioche and belgian waffles at the local café, the local push of cockatoos gather en masse to feed:
And lastly, while not yet in flower, I think that my tree dahlia cutting (Dahlia imperialis) soon will be. While it has only reached about 1.2m/3’3″ (it was attacked by slugs at the beginning of spring), it is developing promising buds:
I do hope it makes it before the frosts – the forecast is for more chilly weather – Monday is supposed to have gales and sleet and a top temperature of 5°C/40°F, so winter is on its way.
Happy gardening 🙂