Lifestyle

Old garden favourites flourish with a little bit of care

Allamanda is a woody evergreen shrub or vine with trumpet shaped flowers.
Allamanda is a woody evergreen shrub or vine with trumpet shaped flowers.

Gardeners always get excited about ''new'' plants, but many of us also have a soft spot for the old-fashioned, hard-working plants.

You know, those plants that have been around forever and continue to perform well, even if they don't get as much attention as the new arrivals.

One much-loved workhorse of the tropical and sub-tropical garden is the Allamanda. Native to South and Central America, Allamandas are woody evergreen shrubs or vines with oval shaped, leathery leaves and large, showy, trumpet shaped flowers.

The most commonly grown Allamanda has bright, clear yellow flowers, hence the common name Golden Trumpet.

There are also other colours, including Jamaican Sunset with lovely dusky salmon flowers, and Winter Velvet, whose flowers are dark crimson in summer and a softer pink in winter.

Allamandas flower for a long time - usually from about November through to May.

Another old-fashioned favourite is Pentas.

Growing into a shrub about 60-80cm tall, Pentas have dark green, pleated leaves, and bear numerous heads containing dozens of small, star-shaped flowers in shades of white, pinks, mauves and red.

They flower almost year round, and thrive in full sun or part shade.

A thoroughly neglected Pentas may look a bit shabby, but it will come back beautifully if given a hard prune.

Pentas has dozens of small star shaped flowers.
Pentas has dozens of small star shaped flowers.

Abelia grandiflora is another much under-utilised shrub.

It grows about 1.5m tall and wide, with lovely small, glossy green leaves.

The delicate bell shaped flowers form in clusters at the ends of arching branches throughout spring and summer.

It makes a great screen as it grows quickly, is dense in habit, and responds well to trimming.

Azalea indica are sun-hardy, large growing azaleas that are very tough.

They generally have single flowers, borne in profusion through autumn and winter in shades of white, pink, mauve and salmon.

They will grow to about 1.5-2.5m tall and are more resilient than many of the newer, fancier types.

Hydrangeas have made a remarkable comeback in the last few years as gardeners re-discover just how good they are in a semi-shaded situation.

They start flowering in mid-spring and continue through summer and into autumn.

Another old-fashioned beauty enjoying a new lease of life is Angelonia.

These small perennial plants are grown for the pretty spikes of flowers held in abundance above lovely soft, mid-green foliage.

In a palette of white, pinks, blues and mauves, they look very delicate but are remarkably tough.

They only grow about 30-60cm tall, and are lovely in pots and garden beds.

A sunny to partly-shaded position is best.

Angelonia small perennial plants with spikes of flowers
Angelonia small perennial plants with spikes of flowers

Camellias, gardenias, ixoras, dipladenias and agapanthus also spring to mind when I think about easy-care flowering perennial plants and shrubs.

They are not particularly needy or fussy, and will continue to perform year after year with basic maintenance.

All of these work-horses of the garden have minimal needs.

Adequate water during dry times, mulch to protect the root zone, the occasional feeding with a suitable fertiliser and a trim after flowering will keep them looking good.

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  flowers, gardening, lifestyle, plants




WATCH: Aussie Racing Cars champ rolls six times

Dramatic Aussie Car rollover at Queensland Raceway on Saturday.

Pingel walks away from high-speed crash

Introducing Winter, Diesel, Rusty and Benson

Winter is coming - hopefully to a home with you. But don't worry, I won't bring cold and terror to your lives (like on Game of Thrones). My aim is to bring you love and fun . I am full of beans and ready for adventure .

Phone the RSPCA on 3426 9999 for more details about these animals

Today's community notices billboard

Historical Ipswich home Rockton House. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

Toastmaster, Tai Chi, Scouts, the Men's Shed and more

Latest deals and offers

What's on the small screen this week

MasterChef Australia's final four contestants, from left, Harry Foster, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.

MASTERCHEF makes way for The Bachelor on Ten's reality TV slate.

Recycling your childhood faves

GHOST GIRL: Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in a scene from Ghostbusters.

Everything that's old is new again

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

Indigenous artist shows tourists secrets of Aboriginal painting

Ever thought "I could do that" about Aboriginal art?

Dynamic pics from Splendour Day 1

The Strokes perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Check out the latest pictures from Splendour in the Grass.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles