SHRUBS THAT flower in winter are doubly welcome. They brighten a gloomy garden scene. The white Tea Tree-like flowers of the South African Eriocephalus africanus, (White Woolly Head), have by now developed their fluffy seed heads.
Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape), in addition to its small racemes of yellow flowers, has leaves which turn bronze-red at this time of year.
One well-grown specimen of this shrub can be seen at the Great Western Tiers Visitor Information Centre in Deloraine.
There are approximately 150 species of Hebe, evergreen shrubs mainly from NZ, a country which can boast 90 endemic species. The one pictured here, Hebe x Waikiki, with M. aquifolium beside it, has attractive bronze-tipped foliage in addition to its mauve spikes of flowers. This one has been flowering for many weeks.
In the vegie garden
I was surprised to hear Leon Compton hailing with delight the sound of heavy rain on his roof (ABC Breakfast Radio 26/7), while those of us in the north of the state are looking for some sunshine.
By the beginning of the final week in July, this area has had 151mm of rain (129mm average). So best to keep off the vegetable beds until some dry weather, as tramping on heavy very wet soil will do it no good.
Silver beet and cabbage seed could be sown in seed boxes to be planted later, but peas, parsnips and turnips, which do not transplant well, should be delayed for a while.