Plant Of The Moment

Daphne odora – Winter Daphne

This is a spreading, slow-growing, evergreen shrub growing to about 1M tall. Fabulously scented, waxy, white flowers from white buds, cover this bush in early spring.

Daphnes do well in Karin’s garden and even a single sprig as a cut flower will fill a room with scent. They are not long lived and are not easy to propagate, but other strongly scented flowers at this time of year are really quite hard to find. Make sure to plant your next one before the current one senesces.

Click here to view the Daphne odora “Leucanthe Alba” page in Karin’s Garden.

Acacia dealbata – Silver Wattle

This is a fast growing, evergreen tree to 30M, that grows readily from seed. Racemes of yellow balls of stamens over blue-green leaves with silvered underside in early spring.

It is that time of year again. This is one of those wonderful plants that produce a wonderful display for no effort on our part. It does have an Award of Garden Merit from the RHS in the UK, but I suspect it is seldom planted here. Most likely the display we see every spring, on river banks and road-sides, results from the plant self-seeding.

Click here to view the Acacia dealbata page in Karin’s Garden.

Rhododendron arboreum – Tree Rhododendron

This is an evergreen tree that typically grows to about 12m in Karin’s Garden. Trusses of pink bells cover this substantial tree in early spring.

There are many of these beautiful plants around in Karin’s Garden and they are flowering early this year. This one is beside the road as you drive from Riwaka into Motueka. Whenever I see a large tree covered in flower in this way, it always seems somehow “wrong” in a very, very good way.

Click here to view the Rhododendron arboreum page in Karin’s Garden.

Iris reticulata – Netted Iris

This is small plant, growing to only some 15cm, which forms drifts over time. Richly coloured fragrant flowers of purple or blue petals with yellow and white markings rise above stiffly erect leaves.

I. reticulata flower early in Karin’s Garden, often before the Snowdrops, making them more winter flowering than spring flowering. These little gems appear so suddenly that they always take you by surprise.

Click here to view the Iris reticulata page in Karin’s Garden.

Narcissus papyraceus – Paperwhite Daffodil

This is a medium sized Daffodil, growing to around 40cm. Several, strongly scented, white flowers on each stem in late autumn / early winter.

N. papyraceus is the earliest Daffodil to flower in Karin’s Garden, telling us that spring is not far away even before autumn has given way to winter. As well as lighting up the darkening days this is a wonderful cut flower, where its powerful fragrance fills the room.

Click here to view the Narcissus papyraceus page in Karin’s Garden.

Euryops virgineus – Honey Daisy

This is a fast growing, spreading shrub that grows up to 1½M tall. Masses of scented yellow daisy-like flowers cover this evergreen bush.

Collectors of South African plants have raved about this attractive plant. It provides a welcome blast of bright yellow in winter.

Click here to view the Euryops virgineus page in Karin’s Garden.

Kniphofia uvaria – Red Hot Poker

The flower spikes of this robust plant rise to over 1½M. Spikes of red/orange flowers rise above untidy mats of strap-like leaves.

This Kniphofia flowers in winter. It is reasonably popular around Motueka, and rightly so, where it provides a welcome dash of colour in mid-winter, along with Aloe arborescens (Krantz Aloe) which is also in the Asphodelaceae family.

Click here to view the Kniphofia uvaria page in Karin’s Garden.

Aloe arborescens – Krantz Aloe

This Aloe can grow up to 3M tall, but more typically to 2M in Karin’s Garden. Sprawling succulent with red flower spikes rising above rosettes of toothed leaves.

This is one of the winter flowering Aloes. It is reasonably popular around Motueka, and rightly so, where it provides a welcome dash of colour in mid-winter, along with Kniphofia (Red Hot Pokers) which are also in the Asphodelaceae family.

Click here to view the Aloe arborescens page in Karin’s Garden.

Vitis cognetiae – Crimson Glory Vine

This is a vigorous, deciduous climbing vine that can reach 20M. Large rounded leaves which turn fiery shades of red, gold and orange in autumn.

V. cognetiae makes an eye-catching spectacle each autumn. Unlike many other plants that you grow for their autumn colour, V. cognetiae seems to be indifferent the weather year-to-year. This is a reliable source of dramatic autumn colour.

Click here to view the Vitis cognetiae page in Karin’s Garden.