Garden Design for Winter Colour
Surrounded by green, green and nothing but green in winter? Update your garden to add some winter colours.
Brisbane's subtropical climate does not condemn us to a sea of green. Some people are fine living with their lush, tropical green all year round. However if you're one that looks to the garden for a bit of cheer in the cool winter months, we've compiled an illustrated short-list of plants to consider for a garden design update.
Photo by Jean-Pol Grandmont Often mentioned as best for beginners, French Lavender thrives in and around Brisbane, providing that your garden has a suitable spot with good drainage or a raised garden bed. English Lavender, featured in in the article header, also grows quite successfully in Brisbane. Both are capable of prolific winter blooms. Lavender is especially prone to root rot during our wetter, humid months. When the lower leaves are dying off, check the drainage. Choose a garden bed with plenty of sunlight as Lavender will grow tall and spindly when starved for light.
Silver Plum Bromeliad There are nearly 3500 known species of Bromeliads and only a few are ever stocked at our local nurseries. Which is a shame because the vast array of foliage colours and patterns could give budding garden designers a huge winter pallet to work with. If bright and colourful foliage wasn't enough, consider their vibrant, long-lasting blooms or flower spikes too! The last thing you want to do is plonk a few plain green broms in and hope for colourful spikes to grow. The problem is sourcing unusual and interesting varieties because most local nurseries only stock a few, token species. If you're keen and like the sound of a road-trip, check out these suppliers that are within a few hours drive of Brisbane:-
- Bromeliad Exotics Online (Near Hervey Bay, QLD). Mail-order catalogue site.
- AusBlooms: Wholesale Bromeliads of Australia (Billinudgel, NSW). Mail-order catalogue site.
- Oxley Nursery, 174 Dowding Street Oxley Brisbane. A promising variety advertised on their website.
Camellia sasanqua Photo credits at commons.wikimedia.org Camellias are an ideal hedging or screening shrub and the bonus is a grand display of colour as it blooms through winter. However most Camellia species require humus rich soils, plenty of water and do not tolerate drought conditions. Such a thirsty trait contradicts requirements for water-wise garden designs for Brisbane, but if water is not an issue for you, the Camellia is a very rewarding choice for winter colour.
Codiaeum variegatum Photo by Louise Wolff This tropical native of Indonesian rainforests and have been popular with Australian gardens for a long time. Like Bromeliads, Crotons feature vibrant foliage that will add an uplifting, colourful experience to your garden during winter. At the nursery, be on the lookout for popular, Australian bred Croton varieties such as Africa, Togo, Zambesi and Mammy. Crotons are robust plants that thrive in a variety of conditions and most importantly, don't need a lot of water.