Short dark days, cold and fog, more lockdowns - it's times like this that spring seems a long way off. You might think it's not the most colourful time of year in the garden - but as these photos show, there's plenty to enjoy. We even caught a tiny cabbage white butterfly sunning its wings. We dashed out between rainshowers to take photos of all these flowers, in our own nursery, on one day in July - to show you what you could be enjoying in your own garden in the midst of winter. Click the photos to find more plants with those colour flowers; click the text link to jump straight to those plant product pages. As the wise and wonderful Dolly Parton says,
"If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
A Rainbow of Colour in the Winter GardenWhite flowers in bloom at this time of year include the white tea tree Leptospermum Cardwell; native climber Pandorea Slender Bells™; white plumbago - a little bedraggled after a heavy rainshower but soon bouncing back!; and native swan river daisies, Brachyscome White Bliss.
Hibiscus Fijian White will keep blooming in a frost-free garden; tea olive Osmanthus sends out tiny peach-yogurt-scented blossoms; Dietes Tiny Dancer, a smaller-sized rainbow iris; and crown of thorns, Euphorbia millii.
Pale pink flowers in bloom at this time of year include pink tea tree Leptospermum Pink Cascade, the pink buds of angel wing jasmine, Jasminum nitidum, which open to pure white stars; Serissa pink snow rose; and native Thryptomene, tiny bell flowers massed along the stems.
Native fan flower, Scaevola; deep pink buds of Medinilla, opening into clusters of pale pink-white blossom like bunches of grapes; pink diosma, Coleonema, a South African shrub that blends well with our natives; and society garlic, Tulbaghia, which has a long flowering season here in SEQ.
Also long-flowering, native coast rosemary like this one, Westringia Wynyabbie Gem; native swan river daisies, Brachyscome Mauve Bliss; native river rose, Bauera Rose Carpet; and native violets, Viola hederacea, which means ivy-leaf.
Blooming in a deeper pink tone, are early waxflowers; Cuphea Jocelyn's Pink, always a carpet of flowers buzzing with pollinators; and two resilient waterwise ground cover plants, pink thrift, Armeria rosea, and ice plant Delosperma Candystone.
Hot pink flowers blooming at this time of year include Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera (also known as zygocactus here in Australia); Camellia Dazzler and Sparkling Burgundy - camellias flower from winter into late spring; and azalea Autumn Empress, a two-season azalea from Ozbreed.
Grevillea Bronze Rambler's maroon buds are opening up; maroon tea tree Leptospermum Burgundy Queen with distinctive double flowers; pink gazanias, in flower while the sun shines until the first frosts; and Leptospermum rubrum nana, a dark-leaved dark-flowered tea tree that is always very popular.
Red flowers blooming in the winter garden include Russelia Ruby Falls, which - like its lemon and tangerine siblings - always seems to be in flower; Callistemon Captain Cook, a tall hedging bottlebrush; Acalypha Stephie, flowering in hanging baskets and garden borders with those unmistakable fluffy tails; and Callistemon Little John, a compact hedging bottlebrush with darker flowers and foliage.
Grevillea Firesprite; ice plant Delosperma Ruby, dotted in shades of orange, red and pink; Ixora Prince of Orange, a last hurrah before its winter snooze; and Grevillea Deua Flame, very generous with its bird-friendly blooms.
Aloe vera plants are flowering now, tall and airy; grevillea Elegance has a variable colour palette from red-pink through pale pink and peach; Hibiscus El Capitolo, a flamboyant showstopper even in a rainshower; and Grevillea Sooper Dooper, rusty sand coloured in bud, opening to deep pink.
Buddleias can go on flowering right through autumn into early winter in warmer gardens, like this Golden Glow; marmalade bush, Streptosolen, is putting on a wild display of fruity-coloured flowers; Orange Marmalade, this one a Grevillea, is also popping out its spidery-shaped flowers; and kangaroo paws are waking up for spring, like this bright Bush Surprise.
Groundcover plants flowering in yellow at this time of year include Dymondia Silver Carpet, yellow daisy flowers and silver-white edged leaves; golden gazanias, in full bloom when the sun shines; ice plant Delosperma Peridot. Grow them under a taller native shrub, yellow emu bush, Eremophila Winter Gold.
Blooming in blue, native kangaroo lobelia Dampiera; blue daisy bush Felicia; dark and light blue plumbago, a little rain-dampened but still perky; and native viola Baby Blue.
Richly blooming in purple during winter, Tibouchina are still powering on - Purple Star and Jazzie here; Centradenia Cascade glows magenta and copper in winter afternoon sunshine; and goldfussia, Strobilanthes, has rich foliage colour to enjoy when those lilac blooms finally fade.Whatever the weather, it's always worth taking a closer look in your garden and around your neighbourhood - you'll be rewarded with a rainbow of beautiful colours to chase those clouds away!