One of the most divinely fragrant shrubs, daphne is an absolute treat during winter. Daphnes do best in well-drained soil or in a large pot filled with a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix. Daphne also prefer slightly acidic soils, so in alkaline areas apply some Yates Soil Acidifier Liquid Sulfur to help reduce the soil pH. Some of the newer daphne varieties, such as 'Perfume Princess™' and 'Eternal Fragrance' will tolerate a full sun position. Monitor daphne for scale insects and control with Yates Scale Gun.
Camellia japonica, which flowers later than Camellia sasanqua, will brighten up darker corners in the winter garden. Their gorgeous single or double blooms come in a stunning array of shades of pink, red, white and cream, some with multi-toned flowers, such as breathtaking Camellia 'Volunteer', pictured left. Japonica camellias do best in moist, but well-drained soil and like a spot in dappled sun. While camellias are flowering or growing new foliage, feed every 6 weeks with Yates Thrive Natural Roses & Flowers Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food. It's rich in flower-promoting potassium as well as nitrogen for healthy green leaf growth.
Sometimes called 'native fuchsias', correas are wonderful Australian native shrubs that have lovely bell shaped flowers during the coolest months. Colours including bright and delicate pink, orange, pale green and white. 'Correa 'Catie Bec' (pictured left), delightfully named for one of the granddaughters from Bywong Nursery where the variety was bred (bywongnursery.com.au), has pink bell flowers that appear for many months from autumn to spring. ‘Catie Bec’ is a hardy shrub that grows to around 1m tall and 1.5m wide. It’s suitable for a wide range of soil types and will tolerate both coastal and inland climates. Nectar feeding birds love correas, so ‘Catie Bec’ is definitely a plant to include in your garden if you love attracting feathered friends. It does best in a sunny or partly shaded spot with well-drained soil. It also makes a fantastic container plant. It can be trimmed back lightly after flowering. Correas can be fed each spring and autumn with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. It’s perfect for native plants, releasing organic nutrients slowly to help promote healthy growth and lots of flowers.
Late winter and early spring are when the bare branches of deciduous magnolias are smothered in stunning large goblet shaped flowers. They are truly gorgeous and absolutely traffic stopping. The range of flower colours include burgundy, white, magenta, purple, hot pink and eye catching yellow. Some magnolias are fragrant and there are also variations in flower type, including the multi-petaled star shaped ‘stellata’. Magnolias are slow growing trees that do best in fertile, slightly acidic soil. They grow well in cool to warm temperate zones and need protection from winds and frosts. Leaves can be damaged during hot dry weather and so deciduous magnolias will look their best if grown in a semi-shaded position that is protected from harsh afternoon sun.
Cornus alba 'Sibirica' (red twig dogwood) tends to fade into the garden until winter, when its bright red bare stems create a vibrant statement. Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea' (yellow stem dogwood) puts on a similar show, but with bright yellow stems. Both have green leaves during the warmer months and white flower heads in summer, followed by small white berries. These shrubby deciduous dogwoods, growing one to three metres tall, do best in cool to temperate climates with some protection from harsh afternoon sun. Some Cornus can sucker, so prune back any wayward stems to soil level and also old or congested stems. The benefit of pruning is that the colourful winter stems make an excellent vase display.
There are almost 1000 species of wattles (Acacia spp.) found in Australia, ranging from petite shrubs to tall trees. We're most familiar with sunshine yellow flowering wattles, many which flower during winter and remind us that spring is on the horizon. Wattles are so important to Australia that Acacia pycnantha, the golden wattle, is Australia's floral emblem. Wattle flowers are laden with pollen, that bees (including native bees) appreciate as a winter food source. Choose a wattle that's suited to your climate, soil type and garden size. Some compact wattles, such as 'Honey Bun' sticky wattle and cascading lush lime-green 'Limelight'can be grown in a pot.