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Creating 365 days of interest

A poinciana can add beautiful colour to a garden

When used to their advantage, plants offer a kaleidoscope of interest throughout the year with flowers, seeds, fruit, foliage colour and shape, bark and architectural outline — not bad for a growing asset.

Without flower, no seed or fruit is produced. It is therefore wise to consider this when planning the layout of the garden. There is a tendency when a plant grows — to an unspecified size determined by the owner or garden hacker — that it is cut/pruned/hacked, thereby removing the potential flowering that was on the removed branches.

Without flowers most plants are simply green foliaged edifices, lacking interest and visual impact to enhance the area for which they were purchased.

Below are plants that flower — sometimes intermittently — throughout the year, especially when weather conditions prove beneficial for continuous growth:


Royal poinciana (delonix regia): summer flowering crimson/red flowers, long black seed pods; lilac tree (lonchocarpus violaceus): violet flowers in the summer; black ebony (albizzia lebbek): yellow flowers in summer followed by distinct pods.

Scarley cordia (cordia sebestena): a medium tree with scarlet blooms and rounded seed to follow; Mexican pepper (schinus terebinthifolious): white flowers with the very decorative red seed to follow for the Christmas period; Bay grape (coccoloba uvifera): a commonly seen plant on the shoreline with colourful foliage and purple seeds; calabash (crescentia cujete): unusual adaptation of flowers growing on the branches followed by the large fruits.


Peregrine (jatropha hastata): an almost year-round flowering plant with crimson flowers, holds its leaves well for most of the year; hibiscus (hibiscus rosa-sinensis): will offer flower for most of the year with its many colours highlighting the garden; Scotsman’s Purse (malvaviscus arboreus): referred to as it never fully opens, it is found in red and pink throughout much of the year.

Cape honeysuckle (tecomaria capensis): holding onto its crimson blooms well into the cooler months of the year; cloth of gold (thryallis glauca): showing its bright yellow blossoms to full advantage, enveloping the light green foliage; heavenly bamboo (nandina domestica): an architectural outline with white flowers and red seed, improves with age as it suckers from the base.

Surinam cherry (Eugenia uniflora): blooms twice a year showing attractive white flowers followed by the ribbed red fruit; dwarf umbrella plant (schefflera arboricola): flowers are insignificant but followed by an attractive cluster of yellow/mustard-coloured seeds with a variegated foliage form for added interest; natal plum (carissa varieties): starlike white flowers followed by red, plumlike fruits, also a very hardy plant.

Pomegranate (punica granatum): a deciduous shrub with red flowers followed by edible red fruit; pineapple guava (feijoa sellowiana): crimson and white flowers followed by an edible fruit; pigeon berry (duranta repans): a great candidate for growing along a wall with its mauve flowers drooping through the foliage followed by mustard/yellow drooping seed heads.


Chalice vine (solandra grandiflora): a strong growing vine rambling through greenery while displaying its large, cupped yellow flowers; lesser balloon vine (cardiospermum halicacabum): whitish flowers followed by paper thin “balloons” containing the seed. There are two vines that extend the flowering period — lonicera sempervirens and L. japonica whose yellow and red flowers ramble through neighbouring plants and also act as a weed suppressant. Passion fruit and passion flower (passiflora edulis and P. caerulea): interesting flowers followed by fruit; Barbados gooseberry (pereskia aculeata) has spines growing on the stems and creamy white flowers followed by yellowish berries.

To add interest with variety to the plant beds use shrubs with variegated foliage such as croton (codiaeum variegatum). Acalypha godseffiana heterophylla has finely divided green leaves edged with cream and polyscias scutellaria marginata has variegated rounded leaves. Meanwhile, steak plant (pseuderanthemum atropurpureum) has purple and green foliage which creates a good contrast with neighbouring plants.

Colour and interest abound in the garden if given the opportunity and consideration to do so. When choosing, think about what is best for your location being mindful of the elements — sun, shade, wind and salt spray.

Malcolm Griffiths is a trained horticulturalist and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture in the UK. He is also past president of the Bermuda Horticultural Society, Bermuda Orchid Society and the Bermuda Botanical Society

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Published April 18, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated April 18, 2022 at 7:58 am)

Creating 365 days of interest

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