Chelsea van Rijn
Chelsea van Rijn Sarah Harvey

Rondeletia's perfume in July garden

SUPERB: Chelsea van Rijn savours the scent of the Rondeletia amoena which flowers in mid-winter.
SUPERB: Chelsea van Rijn savours the scent of the Rondeletia amoena which flowers in mid-winter. Contributed

THE most important month of the year will finally be here on Sunday.

July, oh how I love you. It feels like it's been a year since I saw you last! Oh, how I missed your frosty mornings and cold winds and birthday cake.

Yes I'm a bit excited because July is my birthday month. So I love everything there is about this beautiful time of year.

Really, apart from the fact that it feels like it could snow at any moment what's not to love about this time of year.

Nearly all my favourite flowers are blooming now and the days are lovely enough that I can get outside and enjoy the sunshine in my garden instead of sweltering in it.

One of my all-time favourite flowers is the Rondeletia amoena. At this time of year they are massed with clusters of deep pink buds which will soon start to slowly open to salmon-pink, perfumed flowers.

They will then flower until the end of spring. These deliciously scented flowers do not have an overpowering scent. If you are anything like me, though, you'll want to sit all day in the garden and breathe in this divine scent.

The Rondeletia amoena is an evergreen shrub that can grow to about 3m tall. Even though it naturally has dense green foliage I think it looks better if it is trimmed after flowering. This makes it perfect for hedging or even as a feature shrub. Energex even thinks it's a wonderful plant and recommends it for planting under power lines.

Rondeletia amoena is a versatile plant that can be grown in full sun or part shade. It doesn't mind if it's grown in a large pot or the garden. It is a very tough, drought tolerant plant for any style of garden from tropical to formal. It doesn't like heavy frost so try planting it in a protected area if you live in a frost prone area. These plants are hardly bothered by pests or disease and they even attract butterflies.

Another one of my favourite winter flowers is the Camellia Japonica. Japonica flowers are what make this plant so perfect. I get such joy in seeing the buds open to these so flawless and diverse flowers. I have found over 10 different descriptions of Japonica flowers. The most common are single, double, peony and formal. The shade of the flowers is just as diverse and can vary from red to pink to white and sometimes even multi-coloured. The flowers are not small, either, with many flowers being at least 15cm in diameter. What is even better is these plants flower in abundance and the flowers last for ages. A childhood memory is of water bowls all over our house filled with japonica flowers.

Camellia Japonicas have dark green glossy foliage making the plant look lush and dense. While slow growing, japonicas will grow superbly in full shade or part shade. They don't mind if they are planted in the ground or in a pot. They don't like wet feet though so make sure your soil is well drained and slightly acidic, around pH6. They are quite hardy once established.

I find both the Rondeletia amoena and Camellia Japonica do best if they are mulched well and are given a good fertiliser about every three months with Organic Link.

Cheers, here's to enjoying the best month of the year!

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