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It's Time To: Temperate Gardens in December

Elizabeth Swane has the low down on summer jobs in the temperate garden.

It's time to get summer underway.


Plant now

Silver foliage plants are sun and heat hardy. Try wormwood (Artemesia), licorice plant (Helichyrysum petiolare), and white-flowered Convolvulus cneorum.


Hydrangeas are at their peak right now. Photo Igotabeme / shutterstock


Fast-growing climbers, such as Chinese star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), allamanda, mandevilla and potato vine (Solanum) will rapidly cover walls and fences for quick privacy, a green backdrop and bonus flowers.

Fill gaps in shady corners with colourful coleus. Colours range from limes to russet, burgundies, pinks and purples.

Princess lilies are long-blooming and easy-care: perfect in patio pots.


Do now

Tip prune lavender after the first flush of flowers. Trim whippy tendrils of vigorous climbers such as wisteria, jasmine and wonga vines back to 30cm.


Time to trim the wisteria. Photo - Sandra Ross


Water potted plants frequently. Apply liquid soil wetter to water-repellant potting mix. Take hanging baskets down and soak them in a mixture of soil wetter and seaweed solution, let drain, then re-hang.

Raise the mower blades a notch or two to allow longer grass blades to shade the roots. Deep water occasionally to encourage an optimal balance of lawn roots to shoots.

Prepare the garden for summer outdoor entertaining. Weed garden beds, trim edges and use hose-on liquid lawn food for a quick green-up.


Flowering now

Hydrangea: elegant, large heads of blooms are teamed with impressive foliage in a range of white and soft colours for semi-shaded gardens. The long-flowering ‘You and Me’ range make superb pot plants. Keep these beauties moist.


Photo - Mariola Anna S / shutterstock


Trees: NSW Christmas bush, angels trumpet (Brugmansia), golden cassia

Shrubs: gardenia, abelia, Chinese lantern (Abutilon), lavender

Annuals: portulaca, sunflower, marigold, impatiens

Perennials: gazania, pig face, shasta daisy, Billy buttons

Ground covers and climbers:verbena, nasturtium, bougainvillea, Chinese star jasmine, gloriosa lily

About this article

Author: Elizabeth Swane