Gifts that live on

A care­fully cho­sen plant can give mum flow­ers for years to come

Life & Style Weekend - - GARDEN - with Ma­ree Cur­ran Got a gar­den­ing ques­tion? Email ma­[email protected]­nat­by­ron.com.au

MOTHER’S Day shop­ping is a breeze if the mums in your life like flow­ers or plants. A liv­ing plant will last much longer than a bunch of flow­ers, and will of­ten do its thing again in fu­ture years. So a plant given this year will keep on giving for years to come.

In Aus­tralia, the tra­di­tional Mother’s Day flower is the chrysanthe­mum. They are at their peak in early May, en­tirely cov­ered in flow­ers in shades of white, pink, red, orange, bronze and yel­low. They will keep on flow­er­ing for six to eight weeks or

more, and can be en­joyed in a pot in­side or out. When they have fin­ished flow­er­ing they can be planted in a sunny po­si­tion in the

gar­den or in a large pot to be en­joyed year after year. But chrysan­the­mums aren’t the only op­tion. Now that the cooler weather has ar­rived you will find beau­ti­ful flow­er­ing cy­cla­men as well as stun­ning pha­laenop­sis orchids. Both make great gifts, and are el­e­gant and easy to care for. They will flower

for sev­eral months, and share sim­i­lar needs – a pro­tected and well-lit po­si­tion out of di­rect sun­light, and they must not be

over­wa­tered. It’s a great time for bromeli­ads, par­tic­u­larly the showy

guz­ma­nias. Like orchids and cy­cla­mens, th­ese beau­ties will last for many months in­doors at this time of the year. When the

flow­ers fi­nally fin­ish, they can be planted in a shady spot in the gar­den. Sasan­qua camel­lias are in full bloom, and are among the best flow­er­ing plants for the winter gar­den. They are hardy and easy to grow, in a large tub or in the ground. Bees, in­clud­ing na­tive

ones, love feed­ing on their flow­ers. They like a slightly acid soil, so make sure you use a pot­ting mix that is spe­cially for­mu­lated

for them. Other flow­er­ing plants look­ing great now in­clude diplade­nias, man­dev­il­las, plec­tran­thus and me­dinil­las. Fruit trees, es­pe­cially cit­rus, are im­mensely pop­u­lar, and the dwarf va­ri­eties make it

so easy to grow an at­trac­tive, pro­duc­tive tree even in a small court­yard or on a bal­cony.

You can cre­ate a spe­cial gift by choos­ing a lovely pot and plant­ing it out. Fill it with flow­ers or herbs, and hide some daf­fodil or jon­quil bulbs in the pot­ting mix so mum gets a lovely sur­prise when they emerge in a few weeks. Pan­sies and vi­o­las are look­ing gor­geous right now and will flower pro­fusely right through winter. Or you could cre­ate a suc­cu­lent gar­den.

THE JA­PANESE CON­SIDER THE UNFOLDING OF THE CHRYSANTHE­MUM’S PETALS REP­RE­SENT PER­FEC­TION

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

In Aus­tralia, the tra­di­tional Mother’s Day flower is the chrysanthe­mum.

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