In My Garden – Marmalade bush

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The Marmalade Bush (Streptosolen jamesonii) is a bright, long flowering evergreen. A South American plant (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru), it does very well in temperate areas of Australia. Its blooms are loose clusters of small flared trumpet shaped flowers which range in colour from yellow to bright orange, the colour deepening as the flower matures. While the literature says it is spring flowering, mine blooms on and off throughout the whole year but is at its brightest in mid-spring to early summer. It has flexible canes that can grow up to 6 feet high. I have found though that, if let go, it tends to spread itself over everything around it so I prune it quite severely once it has finished flowering at the start of winter and remove older and dead canes. It is frost sensitive as I discovered some years ago. Frosts are very rare in my part of Melbourne as houses are on small blocks and quite close together. When I found that the tips of the canes had wilted I immediately started worrying about fungal infection and other gardening horrors; however, after noticing similar problems on a variety of plants in neighbours’ gardens, I remembered that such a thing as frost existed. Hard to believe that I had forgotten but then as a child, cracking frozen puddles and walking on crunchy grass on my way to school in chilly Ballarat, garden plants were far from my mind.

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