Camellias are blooming all through winter
Camellias are blooming all through winter

Misty mornings and sunny arvos – what’s not to love about early winter?

Cool camellias

Who says nothing blooms in winter? The regal flowers of Camellia japonica start to unfurl their perfectly arranged petals around June, with different cultivars continuing to flower right though until early spring. And to make them even more desirable, they’ll flower in shaded spots, so are great for courtyards or side gardens. The colour range is simply glorious, too – pink, cerise, cream, white, glowing reds and many blush and two-tone variations. Seek out a camellia now, while they’re at their bloomin’ best!

At the nursery

Like its speedy namesake, the ‘Black Caviar’ rose is set to turn heads. With black-edged burgundy blooms and a heavenly perfume reminiscent of vanilla and jasmine, it is long flowering with an old-style quartered appearance. And it, too, is familiar with the winner’s circle, awarded a gold medal in Italy and an award for strongest scented rose in New Zealand. A German-bred shrub rose, it produces many medium-sized blooms on each cane and is distributed by Knight’s Roses in South Australia. It’s available from nurseries
or online at

A place in the sun

If your garden has a suntrap – a little corner that catches northerly rays in winter – get out of the house and enjoy it! And how about this as a cute idea for an instant outdoor side table? Just stack two wide terracotta pots rim to rim, then sandwich two saucers together to form the tabletop. If you love the look, you can partner it with a stacked plant stand, too, as here. Add a comfy chair with cushions and soak up the sun!

More gardening ideas:

- Brighten up smaller gardens with plantings of the new Bush Gem Mini kangaroo paws. Compact and reaching no more than 50cm high, they come in red, yellow, orange/red and red/purple, and are distributed by Colourwise. Visit for more.

- Create a lovely feature pot display using large containers of agapanthus. Not normally grown in pots, agapanthus adapts surprisingly well to container growing and needs minimal care. Choose long-flowering cultivars such as Agapanthus ‘Snow Storm’ (white) and ‘Blue Storm’.

- Hide ugly garden structures such as old sheds with a gorgeous climbing rose. There are so many wonderful choices, but worth trying is the romantic and highly perfumed new pink ‘Wedgwood Rose’ from David Austin. It repeat flowers and is disease resistant.

- Celebrate National Tree Day (Sunday, 28 July) by planting a bird-attracting and winter-flowering Aussie banksia. They come in vibrant colours and many sizes, from soaring trees to compact varieties, such as the dwarf forms of Banksia spinulosa – perfect for inner-city gardens.

- Fertilise bulbs such as daffodils and jonquils as they start appearing. A good feed now will keep them at their best through into spring.

- Plant hellebores in a shaded spot for winter and spring interest. For more upright flowers, seek out the newish form Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’.

- Add interest to shady corners with a few winter-flowering clivias. Once quite expensive, they’re now far cheaper thanks to increased breeding. They are available in oranges, creams and yellows.

- Check out the new grafted version of the dwarf wattle Acacia ‘Limelight’. Rather than hugging the ground, it offers a raised dome of foliage that cascades attractively. It’s available from Plants Management Australia (

- Add a touch of the unusual with a flowering pot of the new yellow geranium (Pelargonium sp.), the world’s first true yellow. The result of extensive breeding in Germany, it’s now available in limited numbers in Australia. It’s available from Sydney’s Geranium Cottage Nurseries (

- Now’s the time to plant bare-rooted roses and deciduous trees and shrubs.

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