The Blue-flowered Leadwort (Ceratostigmaplumbaginoides ‘Summer Sky’)is a hardy, evergreen perennial growing about 80 centimetres high and wide.
From mid-summer to early winter it has a prolific display of loose, lacy heads of dainty, powder-blue flowers. During autumn, the foliage takes on attractive autumn shades of yellow and orange.
Summer Sky prefers a sunny spot in fertile, well-draining soil. It looks great growing in rockeries or on embankments, and mass planted it’s perfect to cover low maintenance areas.
Planted in a decorative container on a balcony or courtyard, Summer Sky adds charm and appeal throughout the year.
Once established, this easy-care plant is very tolerant of dry conditions, only requiring an occasional long soak during extended periods of heat.
No pruning is generally needed but removing flower stems after the main display to tidy the plant encourages further blooms. To stimulate vigorous growth, simply apply some slow-release fertiliser in spring.
Ideal plant partners include other dry tolerant perennials such as Arthropodium ‘TePuna’ and Euphorbia ‘Cragieburn’.
Top gardening tips for December
• Give yourself and your garden a special treat. Add some interesting plants or accessories - a statue or a large, stylish container can make an interesting focal point.
• Pot up some herbs for some last minute gift ideas. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are not only fragrant in the garden but have culinary uses as well.
• Hang some fairy lights in the trees near your entertaining area.They create a touch of fantasy at Christmas time.
• Brighten up the entrance to your home and entertaining area with some “instant colour” from your favourite garden centre. Select pots of petunias, salvias, alyssum or marigolds for sunny spots, and impatiens, begonias and coleus for the shade.
Become a friend of the Royal Botanic Gardens:
This is a non-profit organisation, and among other benefits, Friends receive a quarterly magazine packed with interesting articles on plants and gardens, free entry to Mount Annan and Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens, and discounts at various activities and functions. For more information, phone 9231 8182.
Join a team of Bushcare Volunteers:
Bushcare is all about community volunteers working with Council to conserve and rehabilitate publicly-owned natural bushland. There are over 270 volunteers who work at over 50 different sites throughout the northern beaches. For more information phone Northern Beaches Council on 1300 434 434.
Judith Sleijpen is an experienced horticulturist, columnist and garden designer advising clients on all aspects of their gardens. For more information, phone 9907 6460.