Fireworks For the New Year

hamelia patens with fruit

This post is a sort of visual fireworks from the small, sunny garden.  


There is no doubt that Hamelia patens is spectacular in December.  The show starts late as there is no frost to trigger it (fortunately, as this is a true tropical shrub); but when the leaves do turn, they are delightful - a rich, mahogany red that shows well in our strong sunlight.

hamelia patens winter foliage

It's not just the leaves; there are also the bright red fruits...

hamelia patens foliage and fruit

...and still a few flowers.

hamelia patens foliage and flowers

The whole bush has turned various shades of mahogany...

hamelia patens in the north border

...mixed with yellow.

hamelia patens

With its size, it dominates the top of the North Border, though nearby Lavandula multifida helps keep it in scale.  The lavender and the smaller Salvia farinacea keep the spot supplied with blue nearly year-round. For a little more red in spring, there is a Hippeastrum.  And at the Hamelia's feet I recently planted out the ivy-leafed geranium I managed to carry through this last summer.  It won't get very big before next summer, when it must be dug and potted up for a quick retreat indoors.  But it will supply a little extra interest when the Hamelia goes through its wan phase in late winter/early spring.  By then, it deserves a rest, having provided color, one way or another - flowers, leaves, and fruit - from June through January.

hamelia patens with pelargonium

So much color!

One other plant richly deserves mention as the year turns.  Euphorbia tirucalli "Sticks on Fire" is another very exotic take on winter color.

euphorbia tirucalli sticks on fire

It is getting pretty large now.  I like the way it combines with the early bloom of Senna nemophila at the back of the border.

euphorbia tirucalli sticks on fire

Do you get the idea that I like orange and red?  I do - especially in this garden, where they seem very much at home.


Posting just as the year turns and we all begin to discover what our gardens do in 2018...  


Wishing you and your gardens all the best!  Happy New Year!

hamelia patens winter foliage

Weather Diary: Partly cloudy; High: 73 F (23 C)/Low: 39 F (4 C); Humidity: 17%-52%

Write a comment

Comments: 8
  • #1

    Derek Grant (Sunday, 31 December 2017 20:14)

    My goodness...... a lot of inspired work and talent on display here..... Nature's own fireworks display. WOW! A wonderful way for you to entertain your fans and supporters and bring in the New Year.

  • #2

    Kris P (Sunday, 31 December 2017 22:54)

    I didn't make good on my intent to find a place for Hamelia in my 2017 garden but I hope to do so in 2018. Best wishes for the new year, Amy!

  • #3

    Cathy (Monday, 01 January 2018 06:20)

    Lovely colours. Happy New Year Amy!

  • #4

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 01 January 2018 14:58)

    Derek - Big thank for the big compliments! :) Sending wishes for a wonderful 2018 for you and Georgette!

  • #5

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 01 January 2018 15:07)

    Kris - I hope you can find a spot for it! :) I'd recommend backfilling with plenty of compost. Mine is in one of the few places with really sharp drainage, and I think it took a little longer to establish because of that. Having said which, I do think you'd love it!
    Happy New Year!

  • #6

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 01 January 2018 15:08)

    Cathy - Thank you - glad you enjoyed them! I hope you have a wonderful 2018! :)

  • #7

    Diana Studer (Thursday, 11 January 2018 16:17)

    Hope my firesticks gets as big as the ones I admire on USA garden blogs, and the mother plant it started off from.

  • #8

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Sunday, 14 January 2018 12:14)

    Diana - Hope it grows well for you! Mine has done very well in my rather tight clay soil. Light shade too, though that is probably only necessary for low desert conditions...!