My thoughts today point to the Hibiscus. Just to say the name brings to mind the beautiful trumpet shaped bright red flower. I had rarely seen this shrub in the early years of my gardening, in fact the only Hibiscus I knew was a restaurant of that name in Puerto Pollensa.
Where my very first shrub came from in my garden I do not recall, all I am aware of at the moment is that it has really grown beyond itself and is really in need of a good trimming. As it grows easily from cuttings, whatever I cut back can be popped into a fresh corner of the garden or into plant pots to see if I can get some new red Hibiscus shrubs.
I surprised myself when considering writing about this lovely shrub just how many colours there are, I had always considered it a red flower... When some very long time ago friends were returning to live in England they dumped all their potted plants onto my front porch and there I was introduced to four different shades of Pink Hibiscus. After a year or two I decided to transplant them into the open ground where they are alive but not exactly exuberant, they are in a fairly shaded spot so feel sure they will soon need a further transplant to a little more sunshine.
Another Hibiscus has a different story altogether. A very dear friend was amongst those we call ‘swallows’, people who frequently come and go often owning their own homes here. This friend always asked me to look after her indoor plants whilst she was away, yes more pots dumped on my doorstep!!! One of these pots had a beautiful apricot coloured Hibiscus.
This potted plant never seemed to outgrow its pot so it just came and went as my friend did until she decided to return permanently to her home in the UK, so, I inherited yet another plant. I then decided to plant this lovely coloured Hibiscus in the front garden by the garden gate in full sunshine.
It is obviously happy where it stands because from being, a handy plant pot size, it is now taller than I am and constantly full of this unusual apricot coloured Hibiscus flowers. It rarely gets remembered to be watered even though it is in full sunshine, I just can’t believe my good fortune as I count the flowers nearly every day.
And now to the most recent Hibiscus to arrive in my garden. To begin with I had no idea there was a day called ‘grandmothers day’ until two of my young grandsons appeared with yet another potted Hibiscus in yet another shade of pink. It is still in its pot but seems to be doing well with a constant show of three or four blooms all the time. Now, where do I transplant this one to?
My next door neighbour has a really bright yellow Hibiscus in a large pot on her doorstep which makes a really lovely colourful shrub shaped feature and here again it always seems to be full of the typical trumpet shaped flowers. Yet another colour to add to the list.
And just to round off these coloured shrubs one of the most spectacular coloured Hibiscus must surely be the white with a bright red throated trumpet.
A different neighbour at the bottom of my garden has a Hibiscus shrub growing in his hedging alongside our partition fencing. There are continually flowers popping their pretty colours through the fence or along the top.
I am always sorry when he cuts this hedge back but it doesn’t take more than a few days before more flower heads pop up over the fence, a sure sign that the Hibiscus doesn’t suffer from being cut back at any time of year.
Another really colourful shrub which I have mentioned before is Lantana. This comes in reds and yellows, pale pinks and lilac colours some variegated ,some just one colour the red and yellow mixture being commonly known as the ‘Spanish flag’. Here again I quote a neighbour, just a few weeks ago she had cut back all her Lantana, that is all along the kerbside.
All the coloured flower heads had been cut back to about half its height. I know this shrub does really well by being cut back to an inch of its life in the winter but to cut off the flower heads in full summer seemed a bit drastic. Well here we are just a few weeks into autumn and this area of shrubs has come into bloom again with a full show of its bright ‘Spanish flag’.
As I think I have mentioned before, a summer cutting back doesn’t seem to harm any of our flowering shrubs, in fact it gives them a new lease of life for the rest of our late summer days. OK the calendar tells us that it is strictly autumn , but what is in a number when the days are still sunny and warm and we haven’t put all those summer clothes away even if there is need for the odd cardigan in the evenings. It’s still time to enjoy the garden and keep on planting it up.