Take a walk down the street and you’ll notice a few things. While many plants appear to have shut up shop for the winter, there are still a few delightful spots of colour to be found amongst the grey.
Winter is the season for wattles. There is something fantastic about the contrast between the wintery sky and the gorgeous golden yellow of a wattle tree, and these hardy natives come in many varieties from tall trees to screening plants, right down to low ground-covering wattles.
Brachyscome multifida (the cut leafed daisy)
The beautiful cut leafed daisy (sometimes called the rock daisy) is a perennial herb, endemic to Australia. It forms dense mats of colour and is a wonderful ground cover (and excellent option for your green roof). As an added bonus, Brachyscome multifida can be easily propagated using several techniques including cuttings, layering and growing from seed. Flowering from autumn to winter, these plants bring a delightful spot of colour during the grey winter months.
If you’re looking for a low maintenance, colourful winter plant, Proteas are a wonderful and hardy option. Originally from South Africa, these beautiful flowers form part of the larger family of Proteas, which includes Waratahs, Banksias, Hakeas and Grevilleas on the Australian side. There are many Protea varieties available – some are low growing and others form sizeable screen plants, which are an excellent hedging option. Protea compacta is one example of a beautiful, dense growing plant. It flowers for many months from winter through to spring and provides colour just when the garden really needs it.
Our Heathland plants also love the cold, with the Epacris (our state floral emblem) in full flower over the winter months. They’re tough little plants and can tolerate nutrient poor, sandy soils. With a range of colour from pink, through to red, through to white, all of the Epacris have tiny little tubular flowers that add a spot of colour to any garden.
Another beautiful heathland plant to look out for (and one we use on our own green roof) is the Crowea. These plants sport bright pink star shaped flowers, and though these are present across most of the year, they bloom heaviest in winter. Another sensory benefit of the Crowea is the slightly citrus smell to its leaves, which makes it a pleasure to encounter in the garden.
Native plants are a fantastic choice for any gardener. They’re both beautiful and resilient, (often wind and drought tolerant) making them a great contender for the sometimes harsh conditions on our rooftops. So if you’re looking for something new to plant, remember that there’s much to be done, and inspiration to be found, in our own backyard.