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Winter Flowers with Flair

This article was first published on 29 Jun 2021.

Beaufortia sparsa

Beaufortia sparsa

Photo by the Otago Daily Times

Winter is here; autumn colour has faded and gone. On clear and crisp winter days you can wander the garden among bare deciduous plants or cut-back herbaceous plants, looking for a glint of flower.

To get that display at this time of year we can turn to Australian shrubs which bring joy to the garden in winter. Some are more flamboyant than others, such as Beaufortia sparsa, pictured, with its vibrant red bottlebrush flowers.

A sure winner is one of the many Correa species and cultivars available. More are being bred every year. Correa 'Marian's Marvel' continues to flower from autumn through winter and can be readily pruned after flowering to maintain a nice compact shape.

Other choices are Banksia species or cultivars, especially Banksia integrifolia which is more suited to our southern climate. It may not be the brightest of flowers but makes up for this in quantity. It’s also a great bird attractant, providing plentiful nectar supplies.

The real win to all these Aussie plants is that they are tough and well suited to our southern New Zealand climate. Tolerant of a wide range of soil types, their only dislike is waterlogged roots and in particularly frost-prone areas they require some protection.

Come to the Australian borders around the aviary at Dunedin Botanic Garden and explore the winter displays.