As spring rolls on and Summer is almost on top of us It’s still not too late to be planting in the garden. The heat of summer may get you thinking about succulents and cacti however there are lots of flowers that do well in the heat too!
Bougainvillea is one of my favourite climbing plants as it is vigorous and covers a large expanse quickly, there are dwarf varieties for smaller gardens too, with the same speedy growth. Be careful where you plant them as they do have a rather evil spike that will get stuck on passing clothing with ease and will also require thick gloves when pruning. Well worth the effort though as all throughout spring and summer they are ablaze with vibrant reds, purples, oranges, and whites that add a splash of colour to any vertical surface. Bougainvillaea like free draining soil and as much sun as you can throw at them, be careful not to over feed them in early spring as they will produce more leafy growth that flowers and you’ll lessen the impact of the blooms.
If you are after something that is a little easier care you can’t go past the family of Salvia. Again, these plants will thrive on hot sun and free draining soil. They come in a huge variety of sizes and colours, so you’ll be sure to find one that suits your garden style and size. All salvias take the same maintenance, and it’s not much; simply cut the plant back hard after flowering, usually in early winter removing all the years growth, leaving the new shoots that are coming up from the base of the plant. This harsh haircut will reinvigorate the plant and ensure it flowers again with as much gusto as before.
For something a little lower to the ground or something that can spill out and over a pot African daisies offer a bountiful sea of blooms on even the hottest of days. These cheery flowers have been bred into almost every colour of the rainbow so will complement most planting schemes. To increase the number of flowers your plants have simply deadhead the spent flowers to promote new ones coming through. As these plant like the hot spots in the garden they won’t tolerate wet feet so I like to plant then at the top of a wall to ensure good drainage is achieved.
The national flower of WA is also a ripper of a plant for a hot spot. The kangaroo paw adds a great burst of vertical foliage and one of the most interesting flowers you can find in a garden. Lots of work is being done with hybrids of this plant and the results are flowers that are vibrant and showy. The new cultivars come in an array of colour that include purple, green and even blue. When growing these plants I like to thin the foliage on a regular basis to prevent any fungal issues such as black spot.
Callistemons or Bottle brush are a hugely diverse range of plants that come in trees, shrubs and ground covers all with an abundance of fluffy blooms. Although the most common found plants have red flowers there are also electric pink, yellow and cream flowered options to bring interest into the garden. Being a native these plants will be great for local wildlife including birdlife and although they tolerate drought there are varieties that can also tolerate mosit to wet soils. I wouldn’t plant a callistemon near a swimming pool though ( I inherited one next to my pool!) as the individual stamens play havoc with your filter and skimmer box.