Friday photo – Christmas colour, Adenanthos cuneatus

Branches of a shrub reach from lower left to upper right. Each branch has many tightly placed wedge-shaped flat leaves, many bright glowing red in the sunlight. The remaining leaves as well as those in the background are grey-green. There are a couple of small dark pink unobtrusive flowers tucked into leaf axils.

The summer new growth of Adenanthos cuneatus, with a couple of flowers tucked in. This plant puts on a wonderful colour show across summer in its foliage. The flowers are equally beautiful but easily overlooked. I have tried to plant more of these in my zone 1 garden but they are native to the south coast of WA – too far south. They cope beautifully with local sand quality and rainfall quantity/distribution, but our hot summers are becoming too hot too often for them – their heat tolerance is surprisingly low. They have been planted extensively in landscaping around Perth and are still a popular choice – if they can establish, they will do well. This bush was here before we moved in, probably part of the original native garden. I consider this species one of the ones that canaries for local climate change – within a few decades you won’t find it growing in Perth any more because the existing bushes will die out and living replacements will become more and more rare. I will probably try to grow it at least once more though before I give up.

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