Amanda MackinnonMy Top 5 summer plants

My little corner of the world is usually pretty lucky with rainfall. I’m half an hour out of Hobart and live on tank water however there’s usually always enough for both the house and the garden. That is, until about this time of the year when I start watching it a little closer.

But it never ceases to amaze me just how hardy some plants are. Come summer when the water is saved just for the vegie patch and any recent additions to the garden, it’s easy to sit back with a glass of wine and notice what’s thriving and what’s not.

So what are my five big summer favourites? Here’s what I find love hot, dry conditions and also a complete lack of attention.

PMA Dietes 'White Tiger'

Dietes ‘White Tiger’

Number 1 would have to be Dietes ‘White Tiger’. This tight clump forming beauty is one of those plants I tell my friends they ‘just can’t kill’. The variegated green and white foliage makes it very ornamental and the occasional show of iris-like flowers are just an added bonus. Plant this one once, water lightly and never again! It will take care of itself.

Dianella 'Splice'

Dianella ‘Splice’

For number 2 I love Dianella ‘Splice’. With its yellow and lime foliage it’s great for some contrast and I use it to fill difficult spots along rocky banks, under trees – in fact any areas that are tricky. It performs really well in my paved courtyard which can really heat up with reflected heat in the peak of summer. They’re also great for withstanding coastal winds.

PMA Tulbaghia 'Dark Star'

Tulbaghia ‘Dark Star’

Pick number 3 is Tulbaghia ‘Dark Star’. This little stunner looks very dainty and delicate but its certainly impressed with its ability to withstand some very trying conditions. Be it kids, soccer balls, whipper snippers, hot, dry or even boggy – ‘Dark Star’ will always come back bigger and better whatever you throw at it. This variety was purposely bred for extreme conditions. I use it along the border of my gravel path but it also sits on the outdoor table on our deck looking very dainty and elegant.

PMA Agapanthus 'Baby Pete'

Agapanthus ‘Baby Pete’

Down to number 4. Agapanthus ‘Baby Pete’ is a dwarf form of Agapanthus that makes a great natural border. Its blue flowers stand up well in the heat and all summer long are a great cheery welcome along the driveway. ‘Baby Pete’ has the added bonus of being proven sterile in all trials to date. This means no seeds drifting off into other areas of the garden creating an agapanthus takeover.

PMA Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’

I’m rounding off my top 5 with Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’. This superb plant has won over the USA in recent times as it survives climatic extremes in all forms. It can be covered in snow in winter, bounce back and give you a great display in the scorching heat. ‘Ascot Rainbow’ is so named for its colorful foliage which changes with the seasons. I also love this one as its got a certain ‘prehistoric’ air to it. It looks like its been around since the dinosaurs and visitors always ask what it is.

Are you having similar success with these varieties in your garden right now? I’d be interested to hear about your own favourites.

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Amanda Mackinnon

About Amanda Mackinnon

Amanda's career has taken her on a remarkable journey through science, education, international business and communication. Living in a busy male dominated household – chasing around 2 noisy boys, one friendly golden retriever, a cheeky ginger cat and her husband, it’s no wonder she finds solace in the quiet beauty of plants! Amanda writes regularly for a variety of publications and is passionate about all things happening on the little island at the edge of the world.

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