SoS, June 30. Winter colour

DSCN7725 (2)

We're in the throes of Winter now and the cold mornings seemed to arrive earlier than they usually do. I think perhaps this was due to a long dry period and lack of moisture in the atmosphere. Last Sunday  we had a low of -4.5, a white lawn and a birdbath with a thick layer of ice. After the frost, the days are glorious: clear skies full of sunshine and warm enough to be out in the garden in shirt sleeves. Later in the week we had a Rain Event which was most welcome. I have been busy cutting back my perennials for their Winter rest, working my way around the back garden.

Each Saturday, keen gardeners select six things from their garden to share with others from around the world. The Six on Saturday crowd is growing under the leadership of Mr P, and if you're interested in seeing fascinating plants and interesting ideas from all corners, do pop over to his blog here.

Here are my Six:


One: Just coming into bloom and bringing some brightness into the garden is Leptospermum scoparium ‘Nanum Rubrum’. I think of Twiggy or a kewpie doll -if you're old enough to remember either of those- when I look at these flowers. Big round eyes and spiky eyelashes. Leptospermums are amongst my favourite natives.  They flower prolifically  for ages and at a time when much of the garden is hibernating, and bees love them.


Two:  Coprosma repens 'Ignite' whose foliage is colourful all year round but even more so in Winter, is also creating a bright spot in the garden.  This one doesn't spread as much as some of the other Coprosmas which can behave quite thuggishly.  I like a plant I can control.


Three:  Osteospermum.  I thought there was too much pink and blue in the front garden, so I decided, Monet like,  to add a touch of yellow, a sparkling highlight, and chose this Osteospermum, whose name I have since lost.  Most plants are finished for now, but the light shines on,  shimmering steadfastly.

DSCN7734 (2)

Four:  Anigozanthos, or Kangaroo Paw.  I don't have much luck with these, and after a discussion with another Sixer, Nat from depressionfreegarden, over in Western Australia, I've decided that my soil isn't sandy enough.  This is the only Kangaroo Paw that has lasted more than one season for me. More than anything, these two flowers remind me of a couple of haughty cockerels giving each other the cold shoulder. The one on the right has a much more impressive comb and is behaving quite snootily.

DSCN5749 (2)

Five:  Gargantua has been out.  Snorting and roaring,  our resident monster has chomped up the cuttings and turned them into usable mulch which either goes straight on the garden or is composted.


Six:  Thanks to Kris, from Late to the Garden Party, I have recently learnt about fasciation.  I have noticed that these echeverias have developed strange mutations, sending out shoots that divide into small florets and I wonder if this is an example of fasciation.  What do you think? I've a lot of these plants forming a border and this strange phenomenon is only present in one small section.

And that's my six for this week.  Happy gardening!

Weather today: -1 to 14 degrees C, fog then sunny.

67 thoughts on “SoS, June 30. Winter colour

  1. Nice Six Jane with unusual plants like your Kangaroo paw. I didn’t know it. How tall is it? However I can’t have and grow one of these plants here but it’s interesting to know. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Thanks Fred. Kangaroo Paw comes in different sizes. The one in my photo is only about 50cm, but they can be around 1.5m. When they grow well, they look quite magnificent.

    • I think you might be able to have/grow a kangaroo paw in France as I have seen them growing herein some front gardens in London. They are surprisingly hardy and very drought tolerant.

      • RHS rates them as H2 – Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5) but as Jane said the night time temp was -1 and it has been lower than (I think I have seen -4.5) that I think RHS is being gentle.

  2. All are looking lovely at the moment, but the Osteospermum is a beautiful colour I’ve never seen in this species before.
    Perhaps a specific sandy bed for all the Kangaroo Paws and like-minded plants you might buy in the future 🙂

  3. Hard to believe you are in the winter! That is some lovely colour you have going on. An inspiration to me, whose winter garden is in tasteful (!) shades of brown and grey

  4. I love kangaroo paw and the pink one in your photo is gorgeous. There’s a mix of different types in the Australian Garden at Dunedin Botanic Garden (NZ) on a sunny hillside, all of them wonderful! Leptospermums are a great favourite of mine too. The Coprosma repens is an interesting colour and looking lovely in the light! Thanks Jane.

  5. A lovely bunch of plants there, Jane. I love how your plants all have personalities. 🙂 Do you chip your rose prunings or do they go to the green waste? I’ve had mixed advice on this.

    • My rose prunings go into Gargantua along with anything else I can put through. Some things are too soft and cause a blockage, but the roses are fine.

        • I’m not sure now, whether you were asking about the actual mechanics of putting rose prunings in a mulcher ( some green stuff blocks mine up) or whether you meant the possibility of spreading disease around. With rose prunings I don’t worry about either.

  6. Lovely winter colours! I love my shredder but it doesn’t mulch nearly as well as your Gargantua! I am hoping to use the shreddings from an apparently dead Pussy Willow tree to mulch around the garden later in the year.

  7. What beautiful winter colours, Jane, they all look so warm. I am inspired to go out and find a yellow osteospermum, mine are all white with blue centres – pretty, but a touch of Monet wouldn’t go amiss here, either. Love the kangaroo paw, what an incredible looking plant!

    • I’m hoping that come spring I can post a photo that shows the whole ‘Monet’ effect, Lis but by then the Osteospermum might have decided to finish flowering!

  8. As you say it is strange to read about the opposite weather on the other side of the world (or maybe not?) Still your garden doesn’t look that wintry with that stunning Leptospermum and your Osteospermums hanging on in there.

    • Thanks, Ciar. We haven’t really reached the depths of winter yet, plenty more to come, and I might run out of colours soon!

  9. What a fabulous six! Our Osteospermum are white and purple too now I’m going to have to hunt down the yellow! Your Leptospermum is looking great. How curious that over your side of oz your Leptospermum looks smashing and mine is struggling and yet the opposite with the kpaws. Soil is key for sure 😊.

    • For sure it’s soil, Nat, although I’m surprised about Leptospermum as I thought they’d put up with almost anything.

  10. The Leptospermum is lovely, I wonder if I can grow that here? And I am surprised your osteospermum has survived the frost! I lost both of mine this spring with the cold temperatures and the snow 🙁
    I have bought three more that are supposed to be hardy! Time will tell. The Eden Project has a lot of Kangaroo Paw inside the Mediterranean Biome, I was tempted to buy one on my last visit but at £14 for one plant that probably won’t survive the wet, I decided not to!

    • I think you could give Leptospermum a try Jude, as they don’t seem to me to be very fussy, although we don’t have snow here. It can be quite frosty though. I don’t think I’d try a kangaroo paw in your situation, especially not at that price!

  11. I agree, your kangaroo paw is actually a pair of snooty cockerels. Hopefully now that you’ve got one on the go, you can continue w/your good luck. They’re lovely. Actually, love all the colour in your garden. Hard to believe you had ice just this morning.

    • Thanks Lora, I’ll keep trying, and perhaps I’ll be able to post something from one of the other non- performers.

  12. Your winter garden is colorful despite your recent dusting of frost, Jane. Frost is something we never have to contend with in my area. My soil is sandy but my Kangaroo Paws do just so-so here – I think they want more water than they usually get. I’m very envious of your Gargantua – we inherited a leaf-eater with the house but it’s not easy to use. I understand that succulents are prone to fasciation, although none of mine have shown it (yet). Crested succulents are frequently sold in the local garden centers.

    • Hi Kris, Gargantua is one of my favourite things and he does a great job. He came with us from our olive farm and has chewed up a lot of olive branches. The fascination thing is very interesting and I believe some fasciated(is that even a word?) cacti are quite desirable.

    • They flower for ages Chloris. I’ve one in the garden that started about three weeks ago, is still covered and will be for quite some time.

  13. Now -4.5 would be pretty unusual for us and would do damage. I suspect your combination of pretty dry and warm days with cold nights does less damage than when the daytime temperature is only a little above zero as it often is here in winter. Hardiness is such an elusive issue. I nearly dug out my Coprosma yesterday, it was hard hit in the winter, but it had some good new growth low down so I left it in and pruned it hard.

  14. Hi Jane,
    Nice to see some unusual plants (well for me in England) especially that Kangaroo Paw -never heard of it! It looks beautiful. I would welcome minus 4 at the moment; it was 29 degrees today; too hot for me!

  15. “Big round eyes and spiky eyelashes” – ha ha. I can definitely see the resemblance. It’s so interesting to see the plants in your garden: on the whole, very different from what we see in our part of the world.

  16. Now THAT’S what I call a shredder! Vrooom! Envious. Still lots of colour in your garden despite the wintry feel of the weather. In my garden the overwhelming colour note at the equivalent time is brown.

  17. Gorgeous leptospermum, I am rather fond of them. I have joined the Australasian Plant Society here and their seed list has just arrived. A lot of temptation! Lovely 6 🙂

    • Hi Gill, I’m enormously fond of Leptospermum myself as they’re such good doers here and very pretty. Enjoy the temptations of the APS!

  18. Great post! It is weird how your winter is coming and we are in the heat of the summer here. Great photos and very interesting reading. I have not tried the six on Saturday but may give it a shot. Sounds like a great movement that is catching on.

  19. I love your description of the Leptospermum flowers. 😉 And I am mildly jealous of your kangaroo paws. I’ve tried them four times here and just can’t keep them long enough to get good bloom. I think they don’t really care for my climate, and then while they are sulking the rabbits generally finish them off. But I love them…
    And that is such a pretty colour of Osteospermum!

    • Thank you, Amy. I’m surprised you don’t have success with the kangaroo paws: maybe it’s the soil? I’m not having a lot of success with mine either, would love to post a photo of some really flourishing ones with lots of flowers, but it’s just not happening!

      • I can’t quite figure it out because it seems to be something a bit different each time. The first one (in clay) fried to a crisp during the first summer; later ones (in faster-draining spots) faded slowly and then were munched by opportunistic rabbits. My last one thrived in a pot and then suddenly, just as I was ready to divide and repot, it collapsed. Maybe it’s just too hot, but I would be surprised in this case. Any suggestions appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.