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What's New This Summer: Plants to love and books to read

Waves of colour is the promise of the new spreading petunias from Floriana. ‘Wave Pink Passion’, ‘Wave Yellow’ and ‘Wave Silver’ make flower-filled, heat-tolerant mounding ground covers.

Spreading up to 1m wide they’re also terrific in pots and hanging baskets. A sunny spot and well-drained soil are essential. Liquid feed fortnightly to enhance new growth.


Petunia wave pink passion.


Big flowers and big fragrance on a compact form is the allure of ‘Jupiter’, a new gardenia from Paradise Plants. Super-dense, with deep green foliage and tidy growth to just 1-1.5m high, it’s great for low hedges and large tubs. The highly scented flowers are perfect for picking.


Jupiter from Paradise Plants


Masses of purple plumes from late summer right through to autumn are a stunning contrast to deep green, textured leaves that have a dark, almost-black reverse. It’s the new plectranthus, ‘Velvet Elvis’ from Touch of Class Plants, which promises to enliven shaded or semi-shaded gardens or courtyards to a height of 70 cm. Prune lightly after flowering.


Plectranthus, ‘Velvet Elvis’


Urban beekeeper Doug Purdie’s The Bee Friendly Garden encourages us to don our bee goggles and transform our backyards and balconies into havens for bees and beneficial insects. With a guide to bee-friendly plants and the simple changes anyone can make to encourage a healthy bee population, this helpful book is sure to create a buzz. Murdoch Books, $40.


Doug Purdie's 'Bee Friendly Garden'. Cover courtesy of Murdock Books


The House and Garden at Glenmore by Mickey Robertson is a fascinating and emotional story that begins with the impulsive decision to purchase a run-down historic home. Gorgeous visuals accompany the story of its restoration and the creation of a rich garden and surrounding landscape. Mickey provides gardening tips and more than 30 seasonal recipes inspired by her enviable, kitchen garden. Murdoch Books, $60.


The House and Garden at Glenmore by Mickey Robertson. Cover courtesy of Murdock Books


Landscape designer and plantsman Michael Cooke creates beautiful gardens that feature elements of wildness balanced by order, inspiring the title of his new book, Disobedient Gardens, with photographer Brigid Arnott. Five gardens that have matured to develop character and depth are presented, including Michael’s own. Murdoch Books, $60.

Disobedient Gardens by Michael Cooke, with Brigid Arnott. Cover courtesy of Murdock Books


Christmas hamper special

Pride of place in our Christmas hamper this year goes to the mouth-watering geranium ‘Big Red’. This super-successful culmination of an intense breeding program is a hybrid between the colourful zonal and the indestructible ivy-leaf geraniums. It’s become our go-to recommendation for hanging baskets for black thumbed or forgetful gardeners (us included!) and even performs in humid Queensland. Its flowers never fade and never seem to stop! Pot it up for the Christmas table, then replant into a hanging basket for the rest of the year. Liquid feed regularly for a constant display of vibrant red blooms. Find out what partners with ‘Big Red’ in this year’s hamper on our back cover and get your order in early so as not to be disappointed.


Geranium 'Big red'


About this article

Author: Elizabeth Swane