Hydrangea aspera villosa has flowered wonderfully this autumn in spite of a truly awful summer in Victoria’s North East.

This superb shrub, sometimes known as Hortensia – a French feminine name for gardener derived from Latin hortus – has reached almost four metres high near a south-facing house wall.

It’s powder-barked birch-like stems happily accompany its cousin H. quercifolia, the swamp ti-ti or he-huckleberry Cyrilla racemiflora, a large double-flowered white Camellia japonica and a drift of Polygonatum multiflorum which have held their green against the odds.