As the days begin to cool, a new wave of colour invades the garden.
Colours glow as Japanese maples turn fiery red, crimson and gold. In cooler spots, pin oak will turn a brilliant scarlet and the orange leaves of the crepe myrtle make a last splash of colour in defiance of the chill to come.
Early azaleas spot flower and ceratostigma is filled with brilliant sky-blue blooms.
Japanese windflowers fill shaded spots with colour, while chrysanthemums and Easter daisies dance in the sun.
Gardenias are making their last performance, filling the air with their fragrant cream flowers and bottlebrush are displaying a wonderful burst of colour.
Nothing can rival cymbidium orchids when they send up spikes of flowers in early winter. Make sure the plants are moved from the shade into stronger light where they can develop their flower spikes.
As winter sets in, native gardens come alive with kangaroo paw, banksia, native fuchsia, crowea, boronia, bright blue or scarlet leschenaultia and the tiny pink flowers of Payne’s thryptomene.
Garden beds, pots, tubs and hanging baskets can be filled with pansies, violas and polyanthus, which can also be planted on top of spring-flowering bulbs.
The wonderful autumn colour of the ornamental grape and Virginia creeper will last until the violet, pink or white hardenbergia bursts into flower.
Kalanchoes are waiting to fill rockeries and courtyard gardens with colour as the temperature cools and the days grow shorter. These small succulent plants should be kept away from the artificial light that spills from the house. They will flower for weeks with scarlet, orange, pink, lavender and cream flowers.
Hanging baskets of zygocactus create a waterfall of colour as their multi-coloured buds open. But they will only flower when they have the darkness of night longer than the day. Electric lights keep them awake!
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