Adding winter cheer to your New England garden

Boronia crenulata: The aniseed boronia features pink, star-shaped flowers and dark leaves that have an aniseed aroma when crushed.
Boronia crenulata: The aniseed boronia features pink, star-shaped flowers and dark leaves that have an aniseed aroma when crushed.

During autumn, local parks and gardens are ablaze with colour as the deciduous trees prepare to shed their leaves. After this display, with the onset of winter, colour in the garden is in rather short supply.

Now is the time to consider using some winter flowering native plants to brighten the garden. There are many native varieties that bloom during the cooler months and will survive and thrive in local gardens.

Boronia crenulata, the aniseed boronia, is a small, compact shrub that will reach a maximum height of one metre with a similar spread. Small leaves are dark green and have a strong aniseed aroma when crushed (hence the common name). The flowers are pink, star-shaped and cover the plant during the cooler months. In fact the plants in our garden carry some flowers throughout the year.

Native cottage gardens and rockeries would be ideal situations for this hardy shrub. The aniseed boronia would also live happily in a container.

“Pink Passion” is a cultivar that is often available in nurseries.

Acacia iteaphylla, the Flinders Range wattle, is guaranteed to bring a spring feel to the barest winter garden.

Correas may be relied upon to provide welcome colour in the cooler months. Correa cardinal bells is a recent addition to the nursery scene. This hardy native develops into a compact shrub reaching a height of one metre. The narrow leaves are bright green, glossy and about three centimetres long.

The flowers are tubular, four centimetres long, bright red and rich in nectar. The dark green foliage provides a contrast with the eye-catching blooms. Flowering starts in autumn and continues through to spring. The flowers attract honeyeaters.

Tip pruning will keep plants dense and blooming bounteously.

The westringias have proved to be hardy and free flowering and one of the most reliable is Westringia Wynyabbie gem. This dense, medium shrub has small, greyish-green leaves held in whorls of four. The leaves provide a contrast with other foliage in the garden.

Flowers are lilac-mauve and are present throughout the year with plenty of colour during the cooler months. Pruning will keep the plant compact.

Acacia iteaphylla, the Flinders Range wattle, is guaranteed to bring a spring feel to the barest winter garden. This wattle grows into a tall, spreading shrub often with pendulous branches. The foliage is light green and long and narrow. The yellow flowers are perfumed and carried in dense clusters.

Flowering starts in early autumn and continues right through to early spring when the other wattles burst into bloom. The flowers are followed by masses of flattened blue-green seed pods which are another attractive feature.

Acacia iteaphylla is hardy, has attractive foliage with masses of colourful blooms just when gardeners and the garden need cheering up.

This is just a small number of the native plants that will brighten your winter garden.