In Australia, from the middle of August through to November, Western Australia is graced with the annual blooms of wildflower season. From the barren red earth centre all the way to the aquamarine coastline, over 12,000 species of wildflowers will be on display. Expect to see soft pastel petals against vast plains and the iconic pinky-red Tamala rose (Diplolaena grandiflora) nestled sporadically atop ocean cliffs swaying in the breeze. The entire spectrum of spring colours and perfumes are seen flourishing in the Western Australian landscape. There’s no better time to be inspired for your own garden than by this year’s glorious wildflower season.
Choose your flowers
- Hakea comes in a few varieties which can be grown as shrubs or small trees. The most common pin-cushion hakea (Hakea laurina) is renowned for its globular flower heads which are a beautiful cherry red. These flowerheads are whitened by yellow pin needle-like hairs that cover the surface of the flower head. Despite the spiky appear, the pin-cushion hakea flower is soft and delicate and tends to cluster together across the bush, nestled amongst blue-green leaves. The leaves are definitively veiny and curl outwards, away from the branch and around the flowers. The shrub exhibits thick foliage which grows in an upright position. Hakea makes the perfect native display in any garden, whether in a flower bed or ornamental pot. Most variations are also drought and frost-resistant.
- Chamelaucium (Chamelaucium uncinatum) is the perfect choice if you are looking for a low-growing, wide-spread shrub. Also going by the colloquial name of ‘stirling wax’, this plant has small, pointed-edge, deep green leaves which are shiny and almost look fake. Before flowering, small orange seeds will appear along the plant resembling a berry or small fruit. However, these are not for eating, in fact, these are the buds of the flowers which will be opening soon. Flowering throughout spring and summer, the chamelaucium will bear small pink-tinged flowers with slightly overlapping petals. The 5cm blooms cover the entirety of the bush and provide great coverage for along the floor of the garden or for a striking flower bed display. The plant is successful in dry tropical environments and is highly responsive to pruning. To maintain a good shape it is advisable to cut back one-third of the foliage each year after flowering. To help make this task less tedious why not invest in Hoselink’s Ratchet Pruners to get the job done?
- Rapier featherflower (Verticordia mitchelliana) grows well in a range of soils as long as they are well drained. It is resistant to pest attack as well as being drought- and frost-tolerant. The rapier featherflower can be propagated from both seed and cuttings. What makes this plant so unique is the shape of the flowers which hang precariously on the very edges of the grey-green upward facing needle-like leaves. When in full bloom, the plant boasts vibrant red flowers in a cup-shaped tubular form. Inside the flower cup, a fuzzy pink bulbous centre bears a striking long red feathered needle. The rapier featherflower is perfect for a hedge with its eye-catching colour and light fragrance. The shrub will only grow to around a metre in height but spreads widely, so you only need to plant a few for full coverage.
- Dampiera teres, commonly known as terete-leaved dampiera, is a dwarf shrub with silver foliage. The leaves are long and fine and bear striking mauve-blue flowers through the spring months. If the weather stays at a temperate level the flowers can last all the way through to the end of February. The oar-shaped petals provide an abstract arrangement on the shrub. Flowers hang delicately off the viney leaves in mass, turning your garden blue with its blanket of royal blue hues. As a dwarf shrub, dampiera teres is perfect for ground cover and looks fabulous on display in a large overhanging pot.
- Dryandra (Banksia heliantha) is a part of the famous Australian banksia family. These plants have very large bracts which surround the flower heads. Typically, dryandras have a flower head which is made up of thousands of little flowers which look like individualised spikes protruding out of an inner bulb. The flowers are predominantly yellow, however, they boast every golden shade from egg-yolk yellow to orange tan. Dryandras are so varied in their sub-species that they can be found in the form of small to medium shrubs with little to masses of foliage. Leaf structure is generally prickly-toothed and quite coarse. Having dryandras in your garden will create a grand display of flowers for inside too, with a typical vase life of 15-17 days when cut.
- Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa) flowers all year round which provides great variety in the garden when planting native wildflowers. These plants thrive in a deep soil. Each lily plant grows from a thick underground stem which deepens in the drier months as natural water sources become scarce. If you are looking for height, this is your plant. They look beautiful amongst rockeries and along aquatic outdoor spaces such as pools and natural springs. As the stem grows above ground, the plant forms a large clump which pushes swordlike leaves to the outer sides of the stem. Once grown to its full height, which can be as tall as 4m, the red flowers are borne in a compact upwards-stretching head. They are slow to flower, taking around eight years if you are planting from seed.
- White smokebush ( Conospermum triplinervium) is sure to attract a wealth of garden friends seeking out its nectar-rich flowers to pollinate. Bees and butterflies will dance along the white and grey woolly flowers that weep amongst pale green stems. From a distance, a large cluster of white smokebush appears to form a smoky haze when in full flower, owing to its name. The flowers are arranged in heads or spikes with an expectancy to bloom from early spring through to the end of summer. White smokebush is a multipurpose plant that can be used as a hedge, windbreak, feature plant or screen along windows or at the side of your house.
- Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos) is commonly found across gardens in Australia, named after their uncanny paw-like appearance. The flowers are slightly clustered and each bud appears like a finger, creating the paw-like structure. The size and stalk height varies from 50cm to much higher, and colours range from red and orange to yellow and auburn. One interesting thing to note is that the plant’s overall colour is made up of fine hairs which cover the petals and part of the stalk. Most species are dormant over winter, so it is best to hold off watering, however, to ensure the longevity of the plant, cut back and prune within about 10cm of the ground. This way, the effect of winter frost and chance of disease will be reduced.
- Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi) is a very delicate species of flower which responds well to deep root watering. To avoid the relatively brittle stems from breaking, why not use Hoselink’s Root Waterer & Soil Breaker? Flannel flowers require full sun and little pruning due to their ability to self-maintain - parts of the plant naturally die off and detach. The plant is soft to the touch and feels almost woolly thanks to the fine hairs that cover the entire plant. The inflorescences of the flower are daisy-like and can be pale green or yellow, depending on the variety. Flannel flower has a gradual bloom over the year, which makes it perfect as a potted feature or filler shrub in your garden.
- Verticordia feather flower (Verticordia nitens), also known as Christmas Morrison, is an upright shrub that bears brilliant gold and orange plumes with a varied height and width, depending on the location of your garden. This shrub requires total sun exposure and when it rewards you with its flowers, the erect petals will open into a textured crown covering the entirety of the plant. This native shrub puts on a grand display during the spring and summer months with its vibrant hues.