Plant Of The Moment

Leucospermum x “Scarlet Ribbons”

Leucospermum x “Scarlet Ribbons” – Pincushion Protea

This is a small bush, growing up to 1.5M, flowering through late spring and early summer. Orange stamens rise above a cushion of red ribbons in each inflorescence.

This year the Pincushion Proteas are out late in Motueka. The flowers are long-lasting, making the bush a stunning sight. Also excellent as cut flowers. However, this fabulous plant is not easy to come by, is difficult to propagate, and is not long lived. Which presumably explains why there are only a few of these around Motueka.

Click here to go to the Leucospermum x “Scarlet Ribbons” page in Karin’s Garden.

Calistemon citrinus – Australian Bottlebrush

Calistemon citrinus – Australian Bottlebrush

This is small tree, reaching 5M at maturity. Bright crimson  flower spikes cover the tree in late spring.

C. citrinus is a popular plant in Tasman gardens. Hardy, drought tolerant, and reliably free flowering. Last year we had a scarlet flowered variety as our highlight plant. So this year let’s have a look at a cerise variety, C. citrinus “Hot Pink”. There are several of these around Motueka and they are, if anything, even more floriferous than the scarlet flowered variety.

Click here to go to the Callistemon citrinus page in Karin’s Garden.

Kalmia latifolia – Mountain Laurel

Kalmia Pink – Mountain Laurel
Clusters of pink buds like cake icing pipings, open to little lampshade-like bells.

This is a relatively unusual plant in Motueka, despite its beauty and suitability to the Tasman soil and climate. There are a few around Motueka, mostly “Pink Charm” pictured here, and also a darker pink and Minuet with a distinctive purple band around the inside of each bell..

Click here to go to the Kalmia latifolia page in Karin’s Garden.

Salvia Argentea – Silver Sage

Salvia Argentea – Silver Sage

This is a short lived perennial plant, often grown only for its dramatic woolly foliage, which flowers to about 80cm. Wonderful, large, woolly leaves in spring, followed by spires of purple-tipped white flowers.

This is an eye-catching plant in spring when the new leaves have an especially luxuriant, soft, silvery appearance. It is evergreen in Karin’s Garden and the leaves are effective at suppressing weeds.

Click here to go to the Salvia argentea page in Karin’s Garden.

Lampranthus aurantiacus Pink – Ice Plant

Lampranthus aurantiacus Pink – Ice Plant

L. aurantiacus is a spreading shrub, never more than about 20cm tall, layering as it goes. A mat of long-lasting day-glow pink daisy-like flowers in late spring.

This is a dazzling plant that stops you in your tracks in late spring. Being highly drought tolerant it is particularly suited to coastal Tasman summers. The plant pictured below is towards the red end of the colour spectrum. A garden on the seaward side of Trewavas Street in Motueka has a pebble bank facing the footpath along the coast there; with the whole range of colours, from white through to red, including some semi-doubles.

Click here to go to the Lampranthus aurantiacus page in Karin’s Garden.

Scabiosa caucasica “Perfecta Blue”

Scabiosa caucasica “Perfecta Blue” – Pincushion Flower

Pincushion-shaped buds, borne on erect stems, open to lavender flower heads above a clump of finely divided leaves.

This plant has been popular in western gardens for 150 years, due to its reliability, long flowering period and use as a cut flower. There are a number in Coastal Tasman, though there are also instances of the species which an inferior plant in many ways..

Click here to go to the Scabiosa caucasica page in Karin’s Garden.

Zantedeschia aethiopica – Calla Lily

Zantedescghia Aethiopica – Calla Lily

Robust, evergreen, erect to 1.5 m high, with leathery leaves in close-set tufts from a tuberous rootstock of white fleshy roots. Clump forming plant with large arrowhead shaped leaves and large, pure white flowers.

This is a justly popular plant in Karin’s Garden – Striking, reliable, and robust. I also provides dramatic cut flowers – Having pulled [not cut] the flowers, do trim the ends to assist water uptake.


Click here to go to the Zantedeshia aethiopica page in Karin’s Garden.

Arenaria montana – Mountain Sandwort

This forms a dense, evergreen mat just 10cm tall. Carpet of long lasting white flowers in late spring and summer.

This is wonderful plant that is seen far too little in Motueka. A white carpet in late spring, this robust and very low maintenance plant can be used in borders, rockeries and around paving. Apart from our garden, I know of only the one in Woodlands Avenue; where ours came from.

Click here to go to the Arenaria montana page in Karin’s Garden.

Paulownia tomentosa – Foxglove Tree

Paulownia tomentosa – Foxglove Tree

Covered in large trusses of fragrant, lilac flowers in early spring.

There are a number of P. tomentosa around Tasman. Possibly the most striking in Motueka was on Whakarewa Street, until it was cut down a few years ago – an act that will probably remain beyond my understanding for life. In full flower these trees are absolutely stunning.

Click here to go to the Paulownia tomentosa page in Karin’s Garden.


Clivia miniata – Natal Lily

Red, orange or yellow trumpet shaped flowers rise above dark green strap-like leaves. Clivia miniata is a cluj p forming perennial which grows from fleshy underground stems.

This is a slightly tricky plant to grow, as it requires a shady spot that is not too dark and which does not dry out too much in summer. Also it may be damaged even by the gentle frosts in Karin’s Garden. And it spreads only slowly, so it takes a while to recover from any setback. However in those gardens where it has found a good spot it is an eye-catching star in its moment. Rather oddly, people tend to admire either the red form or the yellow form but not both.

Click here to view the Clivia miniata page in Karin’s Garden.