Poppies are best sown from seed where they are to grow. Often planted in autumn for winter and spring flowering. Full sun and good drainage are essential. Good in poorer soils.
Paulownia, the Princes Tree, is a Chinese treasure with heart shaped leaves and large, upright clusters of mauve, blue or purple trumpets in spring. Cool, open position in full sun.
Pelargonium, commonly known as geranium, gives a great show in sunny, dry spots but is best when given a little extra summer water and an occasional helping of a liquid plant food.
Penstemon is a Mexican and Texas native preferring gravel and sand in a perfectly drained, sunny site. Good cut flower.
Petunias come in every colour shade and many forms from trailing cascades to climbers and upright shrubs. Hot summers, full sun, and light, sandy soil enriched with compost give best results. Extra summer water stimulates bigger blooms while extra feeding often creates more foliage. Cut back after flowers fade and the plants will rejuvenate to bloom again.
Phebalium from Queensland thrives in sandy, coastal positions provided the drainage is perfect. Makes an excellent hedge with it's evergreen foliage and tiny white flowers.
Philadelphus species flower after most of the spring shrubs have finished. Most species are deciduous with sweetly scented white blooms. Good in almost all soils, on the coast, and in droughty positions in full or part sun.
Phlomis, the Jerusalem Sage, is little grown but hardy on the coast and in dry positions. Whorls of yellow flowers accent the aromatic grey, green foliage on tidy shrubs.
Phlox drummondii is an easily grown annual which can be seeded now through midsummer in a sunny or partly shaded site in dry, light, sandy but enriched soil. Don't overwater!
Photinia is a very hardy shrub or small tree with glossy, evergreen leaves that start off glowing red or russet. Flat heads of white flowers in spring are followed with blue/blackberries. Makes a hardy hedge in sun, part shade and dry sites.
Phylica, the Flannel Bush, is an unusual South African shrub for coastal but frost-free gardens. Upright branches are topped with fluffy star-like bracts that last for months.
Pimelia, or Riceflower is an Australian native which creates a round mound of green covered with small, pink or cream button flowers. Excellent on the coast, in wind, poor soil, in sun or part shade. Plant when young as it is difficult to move.
Other hardy shrubs and small trees include: Pittosporum, Plumeria, Podalyria (the Sweet Pea Bush), Polygala, Potentilla (Cinquefoil), Prostanthera (the Mint Bush), Psoralea (the Blue Butterfly Bush), Punica ( Pomegranate) and more than 100 species of Protea. All thrive in the drier garden if given good sun, well drained soil and excellent air circulation.
Portulaca may be the smallest of all at only a few centimetres tall but the bright rose-like flowers make a giant show all summer. Plant seedlings now in a light, sandy soil. Seed sown now will flower in as little as 6 weeks!