GARDENING WITH NEIL: Give mum a lasting Mother's Day gift
FOR those people who haven't bought anything for Mother's Day tomorrow, it may be time to consider a green present.
With a little thought and planning, you can give your mum her special flowers still growing and able to be planted in the garden, providing years of pleasure instead of just days.
The first choice is potted chrysanthemums.
They are available in a wide range of decorator colours and you can choose the flowers to match or blend in with your mother's colour schemes.
If your mother prefers the traditional Mother's Day flowers, the potted chrysanthemums are still available with the pure white blooms.
Did you know the white chrysanthemum means truth, the bronze excitement, the pink sharing, the yellow secret admirer and mauve means wellness?
After the time of flowering inside is over, the chrysanthemums can be planted out into an open garden or kept in the container for another season.
For non-traditionalists, why not try a different flowering gift like an Australia native plant, such as a grevillea.
With the meaning "boldness, strength and courage”, a flowering grevillea would truly sum up many of our mothers.
Grevillea Robyn Gordon is a sprawling evergreen shrub growing to 1.5m with a similar spread. The leaves are dark green and fern-like, with a silky underside. Masses of crimson birds are attracted to the flowers that are produced at intervals throughout the year.
If you want to tell mum "you're lovely”, then the gardenia florida would be perfect. It is one of the most water-wise gardenias available to local gardeners. Gardenia florida has glossy green foliage, a dense habit and grows to 1.5m high. It will flower throughout the year with highly perfumed, double white flowers.
Gardenia florida is best grown in a position away from the hot afternoon sun - a northern or easterly position is best.
Maybe a wattle might make your mother's day? The acacia or wattle has the meaning of secret love. Giving a local wattle to your mother might make a unique Mother's Day gift.
A wattle that can be seen flowering in Mount Archer is the Acacia fimbriata, or fringed wattle. It is a medium to tall shrub growing to about 5m high with a graceful weeping habit. This shrub will become covered in masses of yellow, scented, ball-like flowers during winter and spring.
For people considering a beautiful creeper for an archway or trellis, you should consider giving a Jasminum polyanthum, or jasmine.
This is a richly fragrant, hardy evergreen climber, with a vigorous twining habit. It has small leaves and its large clusters of pink buds open to highly perfumed white star-shaped flowers in late winter and spring. It will grow in most soils in full sun or part shade and is suitable for windy sites.
With the meaning of "grace and elegance'” it is perfect as a Mother's Day flower.
Even the male chauvinist can purchase a living Mother's Day gift. The plant I would suggest would have to be the holly fuchsia, with its meaning of "good taste”.
With stunning foliage and flowers, Graptophyllum ilicifolium, or holly fuchsia, is a must.
This shade-loving shrub grows 2-3m and is intolerant of frosts. At the end of spring beautiful, deep-pink tubular flowers engross the entire shrub. The flowering season is short but very showy. A light prune after flowering will encourage a compact shape to the shrub as well as provide more flowers next year.
These are all great plants, even if your mum's thumb is more brown than green.
It may be worth taking the time to visit your local nurseries this weekend to plan the perfect present for your mum this Mother's Day.