It’s easy to get inspired by the unfolding colours and wild growth spurts that the warmer months of spring and summer bring. Gardeners love nothing more than getting their hands dirty and planting up a storm while the sun shines. But as autumn falls into winter our gardens can look a bit sad and drab. More often than not, those warmth loving shrubs and flowers we dug into the earth during spring go dormant during the cooler months.
So what to do during our relatively mild Australian winter months to keep the garden gorgeous? Check out our list of winter flowers for garden edging below and make your garden shine through the cold grey months.
Pansies can be planted into the ground or pots and hanging baskets to add colour to your winter garden. Their pretty little heads do love a nice sunny spot to warm themselves during the cooler months, but as the weather warms up over spring and summer these ladies prefer light shade to keep them happy. Pansy seedlings need to be planted in autumn to enjoy their flowers over the winter and spring, and love a regular liquid feed. To keep pansies blooming as long as possible, pick the flowers or deadhead them.
Lavender is known to flower prolifically in winter. The trick to ensuring your lavender blooms regularly is to give them a really good prune twice a year (after flowering) and then fertilise. And when we say ‘good prune’, we mean it. Don’t be afraid to really get in there and cut their stems right back, as they will spring back quickly! Plus they love sunny, open positions – so if your lavender is not thriving consider moving it to a different spot in the garden.
Winter Rose (Helleborus)
Once you start growing Helleborus you will develop a life long love for this low and leafy ground cover. Not only is their foliage beautiful in vase arrangements, but their pretty, delicate flowers make great picked flowers as well. Their spotted markings and range of colours from pale green to white, dusty pink to deep crimson are so unique it is hard to decide which one is your favourite! According to Homelife.com, these beauties love ‘light-dappled shade and are perfect for planting under deciduous trees such as magnolias, crepe myrtles and maples, where winter sunshine will encourage more flowers and the summery canopy will protect them from too much heat’. (1)
A winter-flowering native, the paper daisy (or Rhodanthe paper star) boasts thousands of star-shaped papery white flowers with yellow centres and a lovely blue-grey foliage. Growing up to 50cm in height, they look particularly fabulous planted close together, and love to spill over walls and cover the ground.
Primrose & Polyanthus
Both Polyanthus and primroses are a variety of the Primula, and look fabulous planted in troughs and pots in the garden to add a splash of floral colour to your winter landscape. In addition to white Polyanthus, these 20cm high yellow centred lovelies come in a variety of strong colours including bright red, yellow and pink. Fairy primroses (or Primula obconica) on the other hand, are annuals that produce fluffy clusters of soft, lacy flowers in white, pink, lavender and magenta from winter to spring. Both love plenty of sunshine and a good seaweed fertiliser.
Not to be confused with the larger cyclamen plants we deliver as gifts, the miniature Cyclamen grows beautifully beneath deciduous trees (camellia and Buddleia are great), and surprise you in autumn as their little mottled leaves peak out from the earth after a long dormant summer hiding beneath the surface having a well-deserved rest. The pretty miniature cyclamen creates a beautiful petal carpet of white, pink, mauve and red blooms.
Lily of the Valley Shrub
Lily of the Valley shrub (or Pieris japonica) is an evergreen Japanese shrub that prefers cooler climates and flourishes under the shade of trees. It’s dainty bell-shaped little flower tassels come in an ivory and blush pink and are particularly popular in bridal bouquets.
This rosy pink, slender-tubed flower with a super pretty name not only has a beautiful perfume but makes a great picked flower for the house (make sure to give their woody stems a good crush before putting into a vase so they can drink the water). Growing to three metres it prefers its roots cool and its top warm.
If only you knew this soon enough to plant in time for a winter show yes? Many of these plants need to go into the earth during autumn. Here’s a handy website that provides a planting guide for some of these winter blooms: http://flowerpower.com.au/information/garden-diary/autumn-time-to-buy-now-sow-and-plant-guide/. Alternatively bookmark this blog article for reference when you visit your favourite plant nursery next autumn!
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