Armidale gardens: Cool beauties

Tubular beauty: Correa glabra “Coliban River” has yellowish-green flowers that bloom profusely during the cooler months.

Tubular beauty: Correa glabra “Coliban River” has yellowish-green flowers that bloom profusely during the cooler months.

Autumn has arrived and now is the time to describe some native plants that will bring colour to your garden as the weather cools. Most of the plants described have long flowering periods that extend into winter.

Also all these varieties are surviving and thriving in local gardens.

Wattles

Wattles are considered to be a spring-flowering group of plants. This applies to most varieties but some will flower at other times.

Acacia iteaphylla, the Flinders Range wattle, is perhaps the best species to provide autumn colour. In fact this hardy wattle will flower right through the autumn/winter period then take a blooming rest in early spring.

The Flinders Range wattle is a medium to tall shrub that will often reach a height of three metres. Some specimens have weeping foliage. The leaves are long, narrow and up to 14 centimetres long. The yellow flowers are held in loose clusters that are covered by bracts that fall off as the flowers develop.

Growth habit foliage and flowers are attractive features of this South Australian wattle.

Correas

Correa glabra comes in a number of forms. Two cultivars have proven to be hardy, free-flowering and autumn flowering. Both have shiny, dark green aromatic leaves.

“Coliban River” will grow into a medium shrub that in our garden, reaches a height of two metres. Typical tubular flowers are yellowish-green. During the cooler months, blooms cover the plants. Honeyeaters are attracted to the flowers. Specimens in our garden are over 10 years old. In late winter, plants appreciate light pruning.

“Coliban River” was selected from a wild population in central Victoria.

“Turnbullii” is the second Correa glabra cultivar worthy of cultivation. This is another medium shrub with similar height and foliage to “Coliban River”. Flower colour differentiates these cultivars. “Turnbullii” has typical tubular flowers, but in this case they are dark red with green tips.

The flowers are striking, especially contrasting with the dark green, shiny leaves. The flowering period of “Turnbullii” also extends through the cooler months. “Turnbullii” was selected from a wild population in south eastern South Australia.

An eye-catching hedge could be created by using alternate plants of “Coliban River” and “Turnbullii”.

Some grevilleas can be beautiful in the garden in the cooler months.

Some grevilleas can be beautiful in the garden in the cooler months.

Grevillea

Grevillea semperflorens is a two metre high with pendulous branches. Leaves are divided into segments. Flowers are carried in clusters and are orange-yellow and red. The nectar rich flowers attract honeyeaters. The long flowering period extends from autumn to late spring. Outside this period there may be sporadic flowering.

Grevillea semperflorens is a hybrid and has an interesting history. A seedling appeared in a garden in Plymouth (UK) in the 1920s and is still cultivated in the British Isles.

There are just samples of the native plants that will colour to your garden in the cooler months.

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