We're well into Autumn now and we are finally getting some autumn weather. We have had a long hot summer here in Tasmania, with some record temperatures lingering well into March. But I think the Indian Summer has drawn to a close now, and the rain and cooler weather has arrived. Autumn is often thought of as a season where things wind down and nature gets ready for the hibernation of winter, but here in Australia that's not the case. We see a definite autumn flush of growth. The Leucadendrons particularly flourish in Autumn. Mid to late summer, they start to push out their new stems for the season and it seems that they almost grow while you watch them. They can grow such long stems - up to 1 metre - in just a few weeks. Above are a crop of Safari Sunset, with their flower heads just firming up and plumping out, almost ready for picking.
It's as if the cooler weather gives them new energy and they thrive. New seasons growth is always so bright and clear, and the colour seems to really glow. These are our Red Gem, just ready for harvesting now.
These Sylvan Red Leuco's have shot up over the last few weeks but their flower heads are still small and not well formed. If you pick them too early, their heads flop and their colour fades quickly.
There are plenty of fresh Pink Ice Protea which the bees are loving. I found three different species of bees in this flower at the one time.
It's great to see some of our new plants flourishing with the autumn weather too. This Leucadendron is a hybrid called Lemon Spice. It's stems have shot up over the past couple of weeks and it seems to be reaching for the sky. This lovely pale yellow flower with a tight tulipy shape won't be ready until spring but most of its stem length will be put on in autumn.
These new Protea Compacta plants have doubled in height over the past couple of months. The long stems have small flower heads hidden in the rosette of leaves at the top. These will be lovely deep pink flowers with a rich red centre. I'm looking forward to picking the first usable flowers from these plants this year. We planted them as tiny tube stock coming up to 3 winters ago.
The Thryptomene is starting to form tiny red flower buds all along its branches, ready to burst into a mass of white flowers later in the year.
Autumn is a lovely season in Tasmania. There are still warm days, but the air is fresh and the grass greener than in summer. The sunsets are spectacular in autumn too.
Stay tuned in the next few weeks for some tips on keeping cut flowers fresh for longer, and some amazing plant geometry I'm hoping to share with you.