GARDENING: Mighty midgets a perfect gap filler
IN MOST gardens there are usually gaps that need to be filled and yet it is often difficult to find something pretty, yet hardy to our unique climate, that also does not become tall and lanky.
The following plants are a selection of really hardy small shrubs which are capable of achieving that goal.
Abelmoschus moschatus is a low-growing native hibiscus that is found from Brisbane in the south, north along the coastal ranges, to Cape York and the top end of the Northern Territory. The flowers usually appear from summer to autumn, with the most common colour being a deep pink with a maroon centre, but other colours such as white and yellow can also be found.
Locally, this plant makes an ideal fill-in for a small gap in your garden.
Being an extremely fast grower, this little shrub would also be quite beneficial to those gardeners just starting to establish a new landscape.
Bracteantha bracteata or Everlasting Daisy is one of Australia’s most iconic native plants. The paper daisy flowers are available in colours ranging from yellow, orange, pink or white. Good as a cut flower the Bracteantha will grow up to 50cm high with mutable heads of flowers.
This spectacular daisy looks very delicate yet is very tough for hot well drained positions. Bracteantha is one of the earliest of all Australian plants to be hybridised, with the first plants grown in Europe since the mid 1800s.
Calliandra emarginata or Blushing Pixie is a low growing shrub with an weeping habit that is suitable for most garden positions.
Blushing Pixie has emerald coloured foliage that almost goes to sleep at night.
Then during the warm months of the year this shrub will be covered with masses of fluffy bright pink to red flowers.
Blushing Pixie can easily be trimmed into small hedged.
Coreopsis Sunray is a free flowering perennial with brilliant golden yellow flowers in spring and summer, which make good cut flowers.
It grows up to 60cm and prefers a sunny well-drained position and is ideal as a rockery or tub plant.
Crossandra Fireglow is a compact bushy low growing shrub that is suitable for an under-storey or part shade position to a full sum position.
Bright orange flowers are borne over a long period that contrasts well with the dark green foliage.
Cuphea Tiny Mice is an evergreen, low growing shrub providing something different for the garden with masses of small mice-like flowers produced during the warmer months.
It is excellent as a specimen plant and is ideal for borders and pots on patios.
It handles sun or part shade, is salt tolerant and frost hardy.
Eremophila glabra Burgundy – this is a commercial hybrid of the Australian Native Fuchsia or Emu Bush that will grow to approximately one and a half metres square.
With its attractive silvery-grey foliage and sticking burgundy fuchsia-like flowers, it forms a highlight in any dryland garden.
Hibiscus diverticata would have to be one of the toughest plants you could ever ask for, whether it is for a high vandal area, very dry position or even that western position in your garden where you can never get a plant to grow.
Hibiscus diverticata grows to 50 cm high and is approximately 1m wide with up to 180mm greenish-yellow flowers with cardinal red eyes.
It is best-pruned in spring for Summer-Autumn flowering.
Melaleuca thymifolia is a small growing shrub 1m x 1.5m with small, oval bluish leaves. Deep purple brushes appear along the stems throughout the year.
These hardy Melaleucas require a sunny but average position.
There is also a white and pink flowering forms called White Lace and Pink Lace.
You can see these plants flowering in George Street near the Coloured Fountain.
Westringea fruiticosa ‘Zena’ is a dwarf form of the common Native Rosemary.
Growing to 50cm high and 1m across makes it not only an exceptional shrub for people with salt water swimming pools, but also ideal for extremely exposed coastal conditions.
Flowers are white in abundance several times a year.