Author: karinsgarden

Magnolia stellata “Jane Platt” – Star Magnolia

This is a large multi-stemmed bush or small tree, up to 3M tall, with an open growth habit. More than a dozen 5cm long finger-like petals in each flower, covering this large bush before the leaves open.

There are many Magnolia stellatas in Karin’s Garden, ranging in colour from white through to pink. They are easily the most small garden friendly Magnolia and require no maintenance once established. Also, we just don’t get the kind of frosts that can wipe out the year’s blossom overnight. If you can plant yours so that the ground under the plant is in shade during the heat of a summer day, then that will help greatly in the long run.

Click here to view the Magnolia stellata “Jane Platt” page in Karin’s Garden.

Aloe speciosa – Tilt-Headed Aloe

This one of the tallest Aloes, reaching up to 3M. Tall spikes of bright red flower buds in spring. This is a very striking plant, even when not in flower.

This is not a common plant in Karin’s Garden, possibly because it does grow into a large plant. The one in our personal garden has grown to about 2½M, as you can see in the picture below. And the long, succulent leaves are edged with sharp spines which do tend to snag a passer-by.

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

Erythronium – Fawn Lily

This is a hardy, spring flowering bulb growing to 30cm, and working as ground-cover once established. Nodding yellow, pink or white flowers over marbled foliage in early spring.

There are few Erythroniums in Karin’s Garden, though I am not sure why. They flower in Late August / Early September and provide a wonderful continuation from Snowdrops and Crocus. They are not easy to find, so get them whenever you can. And the nomenclature may be uncertain – if you see a yellow variety named as E. revolutum that is unlikely to be right. But it honestly does not matter, they are all charming.

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

Coronilla valentina – Mediterranean Crown Vetch

This evergreen shrub has a spidery growth habit and grows to about 0.8M. Fragrant, bright yellow flowers cover this plant for a long period over winter.

To the best of my knowledge these four plants are the only specimens of Coronilla valentina in New Zealand. I had to buy seed from Portugal and pass the phytosanitary requirements of MPI to bring them into New Zealand. However, it is a glorious plant and definitely one that I shall be trying to share around.
Click here to view the Coronilla valentina 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.

Ipheion uniflorum – Spring Starflower

This is a small herbaceous perennial growing from a bulb, flowering over a long period from later winter into spring. Six-pointed star shaped white flowers with a blue blush and blue centre line rise above shiny grass-like leaves.

This little gem provides a welcome point of interest at a time of year when there may be little other colour in the garden.
Click here to view the Ipheion uniflorum 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.

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.

Camellia x “Festival Of Lights” – Spring-Flowering Camellia

This is a well-behaved, upright, evergreen, shrub growing to 3M tall. Miniature, single, pastel pink blooms adorn the glossy green foliage in spring .

This has quickly become a popular plant, since it was bred in New Zealand in 1995. The upright habit and modest ultimate height make is particularly suitable for smaller gardens. It is one of the modern range of Camellias that hold their flowers for longer and do not suffer from Camellia petal wilt.

Click here to view the C x “Festival Of Lights” page in Karin’s Garden.


Galanthus x “Kildare” – Snowdrop

This is a clump-forming bulb that thrives in well-drained woodland situations. Nodding white flowers with delicate green markings, over strap-like leaves, in mid-winter.

Snowdrops are ubiquitous in Northern European gardens, but less so in New Zealand. Their origins are from similar latitudes to New Zealand’s South Island, so the climate is unlikely to be a problem; and they are available. Maybe, if you do not grow up with them you just don’t think to look out for them. Certainly they are a wonderful reminder that the year has turned and days will soon be lengthening.

The particular one pictured here is in a friend’s garden, and it has beautiful “transient” markings, to use the galanthophile terminology, on the outer petals. However all Snowdrops are a delight. If you have the choice, maybe go for the slightly larger and more robust Galanthus elwesii.

Click here to view the Galanthus x “Kildare” page in Karin’s Garden.