Autumn Tones May 1, 2021

There is no doubt that Autumn is a wonderful season here in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales. The weather is benevolent: crisp mornings with the occasional sprinkling of frost, sunny days and an almost complete lack of wind. Beautiful weather for gardening and also for admiring the autumnal tones around the district.

I am joining in with the Six on Saturday crowd, a friendly and committed group of gardeners piloted by The Propagator. Other posts can be seen by linking to his blog here.

Many of the plants in the garden are beginning to wind down, but there’s still beauty to be seen in faded colours and seed heads. Above, a garden view complete with green watering can, which is a sure sign that rain has been less plentiful than one would wish. The white Gauras have finished flowering but still display interest with their red stalks, and Asters add another touch of colour.

Two: There’s a path in there! Salvias have grown to a large size especially as I didn’t cut them back in January as I usually do. One of our recent projects was to cover the startlingly white pebbles with river stones. This necessitated Mr MG barrowing a tonne of them from the front of the house, an utterly exhausting but rewarding job. Below is a clearer view of the stones in the clothesline area.

Three: Next we have my old friends the Zinnias. These are new ones this year: Zinnia ‘Crackerjack’. An interesting combination of colours, especially the first which doesn’t seem to know what colour it should favour.

Four: The last rays of the sun highlight the spent Zinnia flowers against a backdrop of Leptospermum and Tallow tree.

Five: A vibrant Crepe Myrtle contrasts with Salvia clevelandii and Pyrus nivalis.

Six: Hakea petiolaris is revelling in this weather, and so are the bees. Squadrons of them are around this tree which is covered in flowers: a low, contented drone pervades the air. The tree’s common name is Sea Urchin Hakea, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Those leaves are leathery and tough, covered with a very fine powdery substance.

Those are my six for this week. Don’t forget to visit other gardens via The propagator’s blog.

Weather today: Sunny and calm. 5-23 degrees C. Happy gardening everyone.

60 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s a beautiful garden, Jane.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you! It gives us a lot of pleasure.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That hakea is amazing.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, it’s endlessly fascinating: to me, and the bees.

  3. fredgardener says:

    Your blue salvia is eye catching ! I love the mix in your photos. Regarding the Hakea petiolaris, I didn’t know that plant : thanks for sharing it. I guess it shouldn’t be easy to grow it around here…

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Fred. Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ flowers continuously from about November until the heavier frosts start in about June, so it’s a good value plant. I don’t think Hakea would be happy in your garden, even with your skill in raising unusual plants as frost can damage the flowers even here.

  4. lisinmayenne says:

    Love those salvias! I’ve just bought a deep pink one, now I really, really need to go back for the blue . . . 😉

    1. Jane says:

      Yes: it’s Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ and is such a wonderful performer. Flowers for about six months, until the frost gets too much for it.

      1. pommepal says:

        Your garden is full of beauty Jane. I especially love that photo of the path winding through the flower beds to the bird bath. I must track that blue salvia down. I have a purple one and Amistrad a dark indigo one. The bees do love them, but they can take over can’t they.

        1. Jane says:

          Thank you, PP. Indigo Spires Salvia wouldn’t be hard to find, I think. Worthwhile because it has a very long flowering period…probably longer where you are as you don’t have frost.

          1. pommepal says:

            My Salvias seem to flower all year. I have to grit my teeth and ruthlessly cut them back every now and then. But they very quickly bounce back again.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lovely Jane, autumn is a special time in a Mudgee garden.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you. Yes, the Autumn colours around the town have been stunning.

  6. Your garden is embracing autumn with style. I’m a big fan of zinnias . I’ve not seen the Crackerjack variety before. Lovely, although I’ve got the song to an ancient kids tv show called ‘Crackerjack’ in my head now!

    1. Jane says:

      Sorry about the ear worm! I’m not familiar with that song, fortunately, or I might get one too.

  7. Your garden is looking so lovely, Jane. What fantastic weather we’ve been having. I’m so envious of your hakea.

    1. Jane says:

      I’m sure you’d be able to grow a Hakea in Canberra, Tracy, though it might be a bit big for your garden as it grows to about five metres. Mr MG is already looking anxiously at it and wondering if he should be pruning…..

      1. I’ve no more space for larger trees, Jane. Maybe one, but that is over my sewerage line which blocks regularly. One day that part of the yard will need to be dug up and the pipes replaced. The thought of losing a treasured plant is enough to put me off planting there. I’ve tried three times to grow a hakea without any luck. Admittedly that was in the garden bed of death ….

  8. You have a nice selection of bloomers. Your salvias look great and I have the same problem with paths being overgrown in the autumn.

    1. Jane says:

      A problem I’m happy to have really, as the plants are so pretty.

  9. Heyjude says:

    I love the garden view. Nice to get an overall picture of people’s gardens in addition to individual plants. That last one is a real bobby dazzler and definitely sea urchins! Looks like lovely autumn weather.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Jude. We’ve been enjoying the autumn weather so much, and now rain is forecast this week, so that will be gratefully received. If it happens.

  10. I googled the S. clevelandii, what a beauty! The colours in your garden are wonderful. Also loving the zinnia and hakea. Actually I loved it all. 🙂

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Gill. Yes S. clevelandii is a wonderful addition to the garden and you would enjoy its blue flowers.

  11. Your garden is looking amazing and colourful. Salvias do run riot, don’t they? I have been trimming mine back too. The Hakea is aptly named and is just beautiful! I have not seen it before. I too love the happy hum of bees in the garden. It is certainly a lovely time of year!

    1. Jane says:

      I’m sure you’re enjoying Autumn up in Queensland too, but perhaps with a little more rain – which we could do with now. I should have trimmed my Salvias back in January, but we had such cool weather and they weren’t very big then, so I decided against it. Now they’re a bit leggy. Not to worry, there’s always next year!

      1. It is lovely here! The leaves are just starting to change colour. It’s been raining here since Friday, and we have had around 3 inches. At least our rain water tanks have filled up nicely! The garden is starting to become soggy again. I just wish I could send some rain down to you. I find the Salvias so rewarding and excellent filler plants to have. A bonus is that they seem to love the heat and humidity too! Would you like some Helenium seed too? I’ve forgotten the species, but will scoot outside just now and look at the marker. I replied to you last question; hope you saw the reply?

        1. Jane says:

          I did see your reply, and the seeds are on their way. I would like some of your seeds. Do you mind if I email you with my address?
          Three inches of rain! How wonderful.

          1. Oh that’s wonderful news about the seed! Thank you very much. I have not set up email on my blog (still working out how to… is all a huge learning curve….). Just send it to . Many thanks!

  12. Love that undecided zinnia! Thanks for the beautiful post, Jane!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you! ‘Undecided zinnia’ made me laugh!

  13. Lyn Hodgson says:

    You have a lovely garden Jane and such a knowledge about the plants. I do like the river stones you’ve added to the path too. A very well written blog.

    1. Jane says:

      Lovely to hear from you Lyn, and thanks for your comment. Not so sure about the ‘knowledge’…. the plant labels come in handy! Yes, the new stones are an improvement on that startling white.

  14. Kris P says:

    Cool mornings and no wind sounds good to me, Jane! That yin-yang Zinnia brought a smile to my face – that’s definitely one of the most unusual blooms I’ve seen yet. I love your beautiful Hakea. I’ve been looking for that shrub here for years but still haven’t found a source. I sympathize with the rain problem and hope you get some relief there soon.

    1. Jane says:

      I planted those zinnias pretty late in the season, so I haven’t had a large number of flowers. It will be interesting next summer, to see if I get some more strange combinations. The Hakea grows to about five metres, so may not be suitable for an established garden. I have another one called ‘Burrendong Beauty’ which also has pincushion type flowers, but might be a more useful size.

  15. Tina says:

    Gorgeous garden, Jane! The Hakea petiolaris is lovely, I’m not familiar with that. Glad the bees are so happy and yes, the reference to sea urchin is an obvious one!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Tina.

  16. Vicki says:

    That Hakea is a stunner, Jane. I had to smile at the ‘half-n-half’ colour of the Zinnia. One can’t help but wonder at the results of nature’s production results sometimes. I’ve seen some half-n-half flowers in the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne and I always used to take an extra moment to admire their colour and design.

    1. Jane says:

      It will be interesting next summer to see what other combinations the ‘Crackerjack’ zinnias achieve.

  17. Roguegarden says:

    The salvia spilling over your path is beautiful. Cleveland sage is one of my favorites; I love the fragrance but have heard it described as objectionable by others. Hakea is incredible and new to me, though well-loved by the bees.

    1. Jane says:

      Cleveland sage is a stunner, one that I purchased even though I knew nothing about it. It’s turned out to be a good buy. Not one that’s often seen here.

  18. The garden’s looking great – some very lovely planting combinations.

    That first Zinnia is quite bizarre! I find it strange when nature does something like that – a perfect straight line across a circular flower.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, weird. It will be interesting to see what turns up in next summer’s flowers.

  19. shoreacres says:

    I noticed some of our first Gauras of the year last week. I always enjoy these reminders of our different cycles; it’s easy to forget that the whole world isn’t on one schedule! It was interesting to see you mention Crepe Myrtles, too. That’s one of the primary landscape trees around here.

    1. Jane says:

      Crepe myrtles are favourites of mine. They have interesting trunks, flower beautifully, and then in autumn have wonderfully coloured leaves. What more could you want in a tree? If they are plentiful where you are, you must enjoy a splendid display during spring and autumn.

  20. As has been said, there are some lovely colour tones here and I was especially taken with the silver, copper and green in photo five, lovely! Enjoy the special ambience of autumn.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you Sel. I agree, that combination is very pleasing. That crepe myrtle has been particularly colourful.

  21. I usually get Zinnias that don’t look like the seed packet..and I am going to look up the Hakea to see if it grows here. White gravel? ugh I love the new stones.

    1. Jane says:

      Thanks, yes, the stones are a definite improvement.

      1. Indeed

  22. Megan Hall says:

    Your Hakeas are splendid!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you! I think they probably grow where your are too.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The river stones look great along the path to the birdbath, well worth the back breaking effort! I really love the Hakea petiotaris and if it is growing in your garden it should grow in ours. Our salvias have grown wild this year too, so much clipping and cutting still to be done!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you! We are pleased with the stones. I’m sure Hakea will grow in many places, though heavy frost can damage the flowers.

  24. Pádraig says:

    That’s a beautiful Autumm selection, Jane. The Sea Urchin is amazing.
    This year is my first growing gaura. I’ve got a dozen, being planted out this week. I hope they come as well as yours.

    1. Jane says:

      I’m sure your Gaura will do well as they are so tough and undemanding. Before you know it, you’ll be pulling out seedlings all over the place, like me!

  25. Your salvia looks very healthy. I love salvia – they make a great display and are so hardy. I gave mine a big trim and then it rained so they’re looking lovely again.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, Slavias are wonderful. They can be quite droopy on hot days, but bounce back overnight. We had some rain on Wednesday and were most grateful as everything was getting very dry.

      1. We’re away in central Queensland but we’ve heard there has been heaps of rain at home. Yay!

        1. Jane says:


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