Visitors to the Australian National Botanic Gardens are pleasantly surprised to find New South Wales Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum) thriving in Canberra and still red in late autumn. This effect varies according to the season but is a natural outcome of a cool summer and a mild autumn with no late heat waves, along with regular watering to give a good, and long, flowering season. In exceptional seasons the last fading tints are present until mid-June but generally they are over by late April or earlier.distribution mapIt is hardy in Canberra as may be seen by older, 5m high specimens in these Gardens, growing on sheltered rocky slopes, in full sun. The position was carefully chosen when planting in existing sandy loam, and for several winters the plants were covered nightly with sacking over a light timber frame. No protection is given now and the only damage is withering of the margins of some leaves catching early morning sun on frosty mornings.Many plants are growing freely on the slopes of the Sydney Region Flora sections and the Rainforest Gully, in roomy beds and sheltered by trees or other shrubs. The soil is built-up and mulched with bark chips or leaves, and light annual dressings of a complete fertiliser are given.It is always interesting to watch the emergence of a plant's form from the beginning, especially where at least a dozen can be observed. Young shrubs, loosely rounded at first and flowering at 50 cm high, show strong central, upright branches by the time they are 1.3 m high, and a pyramidal trend.Like Bougainvillea and Poinsettia the petals are not the brightest part of the plant; in these plants the calyx lobes enlarge after flowering and are highly coloured. However, in C. gummiferum the flowers also are attractive; soft cream clusters over the light green glossy foliage. The leaves are thin, each consisting of three leaflets with finely toothed margins, and golden green while young in summer. At this time a well-watered shrub is beautifully tinted with cream flowers and the first pink tints.