Gardening / Colour all through the year

The flowers of Scilla peruviana… its petals open around the outside of the flower with the central flowers opening over a period of a couple of weeks.

BULBS, tubers and corms provide beautiful colour not just in spring but throughout the year.

Cedric Bryant.

Even before the daffodils finish, tulips burst into flower with their bright, bold colours. As they die down, the Dutch irises bloom followed rapidly by Scilla peruviana, commonly called the Cuban lily, which originates from the Mediterranean, as do so many bulbs.

Its petals open around the outside of the flower with the central flowers opening over a period of a couple of weeks. The leaves are virtually evergreen and the bulb multiplies readily. There is a white variety, but that’s harder to find.

Succulents… make a colourful container display.

ANYONE looking for colour in pots, especially for hot balconies, think of succulents. Besides the variety of greens and grey foliage, the delicate but delightful flowers provide endless joy.

The Cactus and Succulent Society will have an extensive display and sale of plants at the Horticultural Society’s Spring Exhibition and Rose Show at the Wesley Church Centre, National Circuit, Forrest, over the weekend of November 11-12. The society will also hold a Succulent Day Free Event at the Arboretum’s Discovery Garden, 9.30am-2.30pm on Saturday, November 18.

WE are coming into lavender time, one of the world’s favourite plants.

The best lavender for drying, making potpourri or even lavender-scented soap is the English Lavandula “Munstead”, a dwarf variety found originally in the Surrey garden of inimitable English gardener, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932). Or the taller L. “Hidcote” from Hidcote Manor in Somerset.

In Australia, the place to see lavender is Bridestowe, near Launceston in Tasmania. There they distill the purest of English lavender to supply the French perfume trade.

French lavenders can be identified by their top petals sticking up like rabbit’s ears. Plant Growers Australia is at the forefront of producing new French lavenders. Their latest releases include Lavandula “Winter Lace”, L. “Lace” and L. “Violet Lace”. These are one of the first to flower in spring, complementing their L.”Princess” lavender, which has been crowned the inaugural winner of the Australian Plant of the Year by the Nursery and Garden Industry.


  • Divide Scilla peruviana bulbs as soon as the leaves start to fade. It is dormant for a very short time.
  • Very important: when spreading mulch ensure the soil is thoroughly wet.
  • Thinking of a low hedge as an alternative to Buxus or box, then go native with Westringia “Deep Purple”, growing to just one metre by one metre, although it can be kept small by regular clipping.
  • Don’t wait until the leaves of bulbs have died down and look a mess before digging them up. The leaves can be cut back six weeks after flowering.


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