Old garden favourites flourish with a little bit of care

Allamanda is a woody evergreen shrub or vine with trumpet shaped flowers.
Allamanda is a woody evergreen shrub or vine with trumpet shaped flowers.

Gardeners always get excited about ''new'' plants, but many of us also have a soft spot for the old-fashioned, hard-working plants.

You know, those plants that have been around forever and continue to perform well, even if they don't get as much attention as the new arrivals.

One much-loved workhorse of the tropical and sub-tropical garden is the Allamanda. Native to South and Central America, Allamandas are woody evergreen shrubs or vines with oval shaped, leathery leaves and large, showy, trumpet shaped flowers.

The most commonly grown Allamanda has bright, clear yellow flowers, hence the common name Golden Trumpet.

There are also other colours, including Jamaican Sunset with lovely dusky salmon flowers, and Winter Velvet, whose flowers are dark crimson in summer and a softer pink in winter.

Allamandas flower for a long time - usually from about November through to May.

Another old-fashioned favourite is Pentas.

Growing into a shrub about 60-80cm tall, Pentas have dark green, pleated leaves, and bear numerous heads containing dozens of small, star-shaped flowers in shades of white, pinks, mauves and red.

They flower almost year round, and thrive in full sun or part shade.

A thoroughly neglected Pentas may look a bit shabby, but it will come back beautifully if given a hard prune.

Pentas has dozens of small star shaped flowers.
Pentas has dozens of small star shaped flowers.

Abelia grandiflora is another much under-utilised shrub.

It grows about 1.5m tall and wide, with lovely small, glossy green leaves.

The delicate bell shaped flowers form in clusters at the ends of arching branches throughout spring and summer.

It makes a great screen as it grows quickly, is dense in habit, and responds well to trimming.

Azalea indica are sun-hardy, large growing azaleas that are very tough.

They generally have single flowers, borne in profusion through autumn and winter in shades of white, pink, mauve and salmon.

They will grow to about 1.5-2.5m tall and are more resilient than many of the newer, fancier types.

Hydrangeas have made a remarkable comeback in the last few years as gardeners re-discover just how good they are in a semi-shaded situation.

They start flowering in mid-spring and continue through summer and into autumn.

Another old-fashioned beauty enjoying a new lease of life is Angelonia.

These small perennial plants are grown for the pretty spikes of flowers held in abundance above lovely soft, mid-green foliage.

In a palette of white, pinks, blues and mauves, they look very delicate but are remarkably tough.

They only grow about 30-60cm tall, and are lovely in pots and garden beds.

A sunny to partly-shaded position is best.

Angelonia small perennial plants with spikes of flowers
Angelonia small perennial plants with spikes of flowers

Camellias, gardenias, ixoras, dipladenias and agapanthus also spring to mind when I think about easy-care flowering perennial plants and shrubs.

They are not particularly needy or fussy, and will continue to perform year after year with basic maintenance.

All of these work-horses of the garden have minimal needs.

Adequate water during dry times, mulch to protect the root zone, the occasional feeding with a suitable fertiliser and a trim after flowering will keep them looking good.


>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  flowers gardening lifestyle plants

League legend and youth leaders tackling history on the Tweed

CULTURE CLUB: Preston Campbell will be on the Tweed for the BLACK community event from this Friday.

Theirs is a story vital for all Australians to understand

Turning the page on Tweed

GOOD READ: Editor Michael DeGood at home with his soon to be released book of the Tweed Coast

Learn more about the history of the Tweed.

A callout for new croquet players

The Murwillumbah Croquet Club is calling for new members.

Here's a new sport to try.

Local Partners

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Bindi Irwin named in MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals