The Sunday Mail
THE winter season should not mark the death of life in the garden. Perhaps it may come as a surprising fact to some that an equally large proportion of plants in nature choose winter as their time to shine.Some plants are so unique to the extent that their flowers show blooms even without leaves on their branches.
Many cacti and succulent plants prefer to flower in winter. You should then choose your plants carefully in this time of the year since some of the plants will indeed be dormant.
Thus we will start with our winter flowering annuals such as arctotis, bellis, calendula, campanula, cineraria, delphinium, gazania, iberis, lathyrus and petunia that produce various colours, a true rainbow in winter.
Choose these temporal plants for those front beds, pots, hanging baskets and tree logs.
Winter annuals will lend a nice finishing to any dry portion.
Let us move on to the backbone of the garden, as we look at a number of shrubs that erase the winter thought in your mind.
The first one is a tongue twisting name, citharexylum quadrangulare, referred to as fiddlewood.
It produces gorgeous copper foliage in winter to spring which eventually drops paving way for normal glossy leaves. The plant is able to grow up to 4 metres in height hence there is need to give it enough space to shine in full sun.
Among the indigenous folk we have some plants such as iboza riparia, ginger bush which make their presence known in the height of winter, having way paved for them by such plants as hypoestes aristata which come in autumn, just before winter set in.
Also consider planting euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia), streptosolonii jamesonii (marmalade bush) and tecomaria capensis (cape honeysuckle). Other shrubs will keep their looks all year round. We have plants like fountain grass, osteospermum, pentas, new zealand flax, ngaio, lavender, lantana, dwarf bamboo, elephant bush, plumbago and rosemary.
The podocarpus, schinus molle, loquat, peltophorum africanum and combretum species also form part of the winter hardy trees.
One thing that must stand out in your winter garden are the plants that you choose, the additional features like rocks, sculpture and tree logs are just bonuses.
The organisation or arrangement of your garden becomes of paramount importance.
Your winter subjects must not be confined to one section of the garden, but must permeate the whole landscape so that there is life in the garden during winter.
Let the garden tell a story even in winter. Sit down and plan so that your design is faultless.
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