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  • Marianne Cox

Pink in the late summer garden

As the cooler days of autumn beckon, there's late summer glory in our cottage garden, despite the dry conditions.

Just outside our door, there's the breath-taking Crepe Myrtle - Lagerstroemia- "Lipan" - ours is a brilliant mauve-pink (though I've noticed other colours thriving in Port Lincoln gardens). It's a wonderful small tree for dry gardens, once established. It flowers for many weeks, from summer into mid-autumn. And there's more. During its winter dormancy, it has beautiful white mottled exfoliating bark - an added attraction.

In full bloom

And standing tall, adjacent to the Crepe Myrle, there's the majestic Cleome - Cleome Hassleriana - commonly known as the "Spider Flower" - well named because it's very prickly. An old-fashioned, very tall and long-flowering annual, it has unusual spider-shaped large flower heads in pink (there's also white or mauve).

My mum's favourite annual

The stunning Cleome was a great favourite of my mother's at her Port Lincoln home, where her garden had a street frontage onto Gloucester Terrace. Indeed, the Cleome gave her a unique advantage in forming gardening friendships, because its spectacular form attracted passers-by. People even came to her front door, to enquire whether she could save some Cleome seeds for them when the flowering ended.

I keep a look-out in my garden in December, because self-sown seedlings of Cleome can be found. Then, I transplant them to the cottage areas where they can be fully enjoyed as the abundance of summer continues.

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