Annual colour dies! Most of us have not persisted with annual flowers in the traditional sense largely due to the huge amounts and high frequency of watering required. Some of us were put off long ago because of the repeated cost of purchasing annuals or the time involved in replanting.

Whatever the reason, most keen gardeners would know town plantings and most gardens facing the street have now an almost complete lack of annual flowers. This lack of colour throughout all seasons can bring a somewhat drab appearance.

Until now.

Well, until you have discovered a different way of gardening with small, long flowering shrubs that are either happy on natural rainfall or at least monthly watering. If it sounds too good to be true you do need to take into account that I’m not talking about lush plants with big flowers but rather sturdy plants with many small flowers over a long period. When different plants are used together with different flowering times it is quite feasible to have colour right through the year with minimal maintenance, no more water worries and no regular replanting. The added bonus these sorts of plants will attract birds and or butterflies to your garden.

The following plants flower off and on all year and their flowering can be increased with a deep water monthly.

  • Alyogyne huegelii native Hibiscus
  • Alyogyne hakeifolia desert rose
  • Anigozanthos hybrids Kangaroo paws
  • Eremophila maculata spotted emu bush
  • Halgania cynea
  • Pandorea jasminoides

The following plants flower Winter and Spring.

  • Correa spp. native fuchsia (and Autumn)
  • Gossipium sturtianum Sturt’s desert rose
  • Grevillea ‘Sea Spray’
  • Grevillea ‘Pink Lady’
  • Westringia brevifolia var. raleighii

The following plants flower Spring and Summer.

  • Damperia diversifloia
  • Melaleuca pulchella claw flower
  • Pimelea ferruginea pink rice flower
  • Prostranthera aspalathoides scarlet mint bush

This is by no means an exhaustive list but with a little research and planning it is quite practical to have a neat and tidy garden, full of colour all year round that requires very little watering.

This article first published in the Riverland Weekly © January 14, 2010.