THREE FROST-HARDY, LATE-WINTER GEMS
Tea bush ( Leptospermum scoparium) This delightful fine-leafed evergreen shrub has pretty, frilly single or double flowers in pink, red or white. ‘Cherry Brandy’ (pictured) is a compact, rounded 1m-high bush with dark foliage.
The lowdown: Plant in well-drained, preferably acidic soil. It dislikes humidity. Keep an eye out for scale. It’s half-hardy and wind tolerant.
Japanese flowering quince ( Chaenomeles japonica)
Its single or double, deep red, orange red or white blossoms appear on thorny stems.
The lowdown: Sun loving, it can take dry periods, but doesn’t perform well in subtropics.
Sweet pea bush ( Podalyria calyptrata) This indigenous evergreen shrub or small tree from the Western Cape will delight with its silvery leaves and large, showy, mauve-pink, pea-like flowers that attract bees.
The lowdown: Plant in well-drained, composted, preferably slightly acid soil. Height: 2–4m.