Below are some fascinating plants to keep the kids interested

Strelitzia (bird of paradise). This plant has colourful flowers that look like exotic birds on top of stiff stems.

Sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica). This plant has become a dreadful weed in northern Australia but can be a fun, potted plant in cooler climates. When touched, the leaves fold up and can take some time before they unfurl again.

Tortured willow (Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’) and twisted hazelnut (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) have curiously curled and twisted stems that children love. They can be cut during their dormant winter season, dried and used as floral decorations or for displaying light ornaments, especially for Christmas.

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Pussy willows are also loved for the fluffy catkins that decorate their stems in spring. All willows should be planted with care and never where there is any risk of these water hungry plants invading drains.

Chain of hearts (Ceropegia woodii) is a delightful basket plant with leaves that do indeed resemble tiny hearts.

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This information is from the Yates Garden Guide: fully revised & updated 44th edition, HarperCollins, $39.99. You can have this information and so much more at your fingertips by purchasing the Yates Garden Guide, available at all leading bookstores and Bunnings stores.

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