Peren­ni­als & shrubs

Give your cold-sea­son plot a warm glow with these win­ter-flow­er­ing peren­ni­als.

NZ Gardener - 365 Days of Flowers - - The Winter Garden -

It’s true, the peren­nial gar­den can look un­der­whelm­ing in win­ter, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Many shrubs and peren­ni­als take cen­trestage with their colour, tex­ture and form. Bloom times can vary de­pend­ing on where you live, but get ready to be daz­zled.

FLAN­NEL BUSH

Phylica pubescens is a great win­ter bloomer with its in­trigu­ingly fluffy flow­er­heads that are great for pick­ing. In the gar­den, this dense ev­er­green shrub grows 1.2-1.5m high. It likes full sun and well-drain­ing soil, and a shel­tered spot away from frosts.

DOWNY ZIERIA

Zieria cyti­soides 'Pink Crys­tals' is a hardy na­tive Aus­tralian that flow­ers in late win­ter and early spring. It's easy to grow and vir­tu­ally main­te­nance-free – it sim­ply re­quires a sunny spot in free-drain­ing soil. It tol­er­ates wind, frost and drought. It's per­fect!

HELLEBORES

Hellebores, aka win­ter roses, flower in speck­led shades of pink, lime, ma­roon and white, with hy­brids in pale yel­low, apri­cot and inky pur­ple. They flower right through win­ter, in full or par­tial shade. In frost-free ar­eas they're ev­er­green; re­move the old leaves in early win­ter.

WIN­TER AR­RANGE­MENT

Cre­ate a beau­ti­ful sea­sonal ar­range­ment with flow­ers and fo­liage from your gar­den. White proteas take cen­trestage here and, along with other South African and Aussie shrubs, come into their own in win­ter. Proteas come in shades of or­ange, red and pink as well as the white forms that pro­vide a touch of class. 'Al­mond Frost' and 'Al­mond Buff' are two pop­u­lar white va­ri­eties, both flow­er­ing from au­tumn through spring and with medium frost tol­er­ance. All proteas pre­fer deep, free-drain­ing soil in full sun.

To add to your win­ter ar­range­ment, throw in what­ever fo­liage you have on hand. Here, we've used leu­ca­den­drons and an as­sort­ment of ev­er­greens. If you want more flower power, look for thryp­tomene, a scented Aus­tralian plant com­mon in frost-free Kiwi gar­dens and in flower in win­ter, or add in our hardy na­tive myr­tle, mānuka.¯ Mānuka¯ can flower for up to six months of the year, and the flow­ers will last up to 12 days in a vase, de­pend­ing on the va­ri­ety.

Erioste­mon 'Pro­fu­sion' is another great cut flower. This fra­grant shrub has masses of tiny pink buds that open to white starry flow­ers in late win­ter. The fo­liage, use­ful as a filler, has a light ap­ple scent.

For some, they’re a hang­over from the 1970s, but proteas can be a wel­come sight in a drab win­ter gar­den.

Z MAKE YOUR OWN

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