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



Queensland boy lucky to be alive

Lockyer Valley boy Kynan Meara-Fletcher with mum Michelle.

A Lockyer Valley boy has lost his hearing, but is lucky to be alive

What your coffee says about you

What coffee you drink says a lot about your personlity, the experts say.

WELL this is an awkwardly accurate account...

Local Partners

'I'm a sugar baby': Unusual way Aussie students make cash

AUSTRALIAN students get a good deal when it comes to financial support — so why have almost 100,000 signed up to a “sugar baby” website?

Pippa gets married and then cuts her hair. Typical

Pippa Middleton and James Matthews kiss after their wedding at St Mark's Church in Englefield, England Saturday, May 20, 2017. Middleton, the sister of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge married hedge fund manager James Matthews in a ceremony Saturday where her niece and nephew Prince George and Princess Charlotte was in the wedding party, along with sister Kate and princes Harry and William. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Pool)

Why do women cut their hair after marriage?

'Miracle' gift of organ donation saves one year old's life

Leo Nairn’s family say they are very grateful to his medical team and the family who donated their own child’s organ so theirs may live. Pictures: Jack Tran

“We were preparing to say goodbye to him...this is so very rare."

The new VW Golf R which doubles as a family wagon

VW Golf R wagon (2017-2018 model shown). Picture: Supplied.

This VW Golf will get the grocery run done is warp speed.

Dad's code of conduct for his boys is exactly what's needed

Adam Johnson has created a “code of conduct” for his sons.

This is the type of list every dad should own.

Do you know how often you should be washing your towel?

When you realise how dirty your bathroom towel is you’ll be rushing for the washing machine.

Unwashed towels breed bacteria - not much fun