Autumn plants are blooming even though March has not cooled down

GENERALLY when nature's most colourful plants bloom in March the cooler weather has arrived. Not this year.

Still the autumn plants are blooming - perhaps the ground below is cooling as I've noticed larger trees such as London planes and golden robinias are dropping some leaves.

The magnificent purple of Tibouchina alstonville is brightening up many gardens. Although it is easy to grow it responds to regular pruning after flowering and shouldn't be neglected or woody growth will dominate the plant.

The baby of this family, Tibouchina jules is a delightful feature to add low colour throughout the garden. It only grows from 50 centimetres to one metre, and is covered in lovely mauve/purple blooms.

Normally crepe myrtles have finished flowering at the end of summer, but because of the continued warmth this year they are still blooming.

The flowers grow in large clusters in a range of pinks, red, mauve, purple and white.

Durantas are blooming beautifully - their stems gracefully droop, covering these hardy shrubs with white or blue flowers.

The most popular in the duranta family is the golden form, which is commonly used for hedging and topiary.

I wait eagerly for each March to arrive knowing that sasanqua camellias are beginning to flower.

This hardy, versatile shrub will grow in sun or shade.

It is great in a pot or as a specimen and is the best plant for hedging along a narrow driveway.

The Marge Miller sasanqua ground covers are ideal to plant in rockeries to cascade with their bright pink blooms. They are also available as a standard.

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