Author: karinsgarden

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.

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.

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.

And they don’t just come in shade of red!

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.

Hebe “Wiri Prince”

An erect bushy shrub with long branches, with broad spear-shaped dark green glossy leaves, growing to 1.5M. Spikes of violet-purple flowers with white stamens cover this bush in late summer.

I will not be highlighting every beautiful Hebe that flourishes in Karin’s Garden. Too many. However, Wiri Prince was bred specifically for New Zealand conditions and makes an especially dramatic show with the white stamens in its violet-purple flowers.


Click here to view the Hebe “Wiri Prince” page in Karin’s Garden.

Plectranthus ciliatus – Speckled Spur-Flower

This is a frost tender herb that trails along the ground, forming effective ground cover up to 40cm high. Racemes of speckled white to light purple-pink flowers on stems with purple hairs over ornamental foliage.

I first came across this one in the Nelson Botanic Garden, where it was doing a wonderful ground cover job, in a shady place near one of the ponds. Indeed there are other Plectranthus in the gardens there. The pale flower spikes really stand out against the darkish foliage in a darkish place. I think the foliage timing will work really well with some of the spring bulbs, like Erythronium and Trilium.


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

Liquidambar styaciflua – American Sweetgum

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.

L. styraciflua is a relatively common plant in coastal Tasman. However, it will pass un-remarked through most of the year – until it has its moment each autumn. And then, it can be casually mistaken for a Maple or Scarlet Oak, both of which are also found here.However the leaf colours light up in a way that Oak really doesn’t and develop from apricot through to claret-purple in a way that Maple doesn’t.


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

Senna corymbosa “John Ball” – Buttercup Bush

This plant forms a rounded bush up to 4M tall with a relatively open habit. Racemes of bright yellow flowers, the colour and texture of buttercup petals, from autumn through winter. S. corymbosa is included in this section as, though it can grow to 4M, it is really a bush and not a tree under a normal pruning regime.

This is a spectacular plant in autumn in Karin’s Garden, and it could usefully be planted more widely. It is hardy in our climate, relative pest and disease free, easy to propagate (semi-ripe cuttings). What’s not to like?


Click here to view the Senna corymbosa “John Ball” – Buttercup Bush page in Karin’s Garden.

Oxalis hirta – Wood Sorrel

This is a ground covering plant that grows to only 15cm, from pretty golden bulbs (officially rhizomes). Tight clusters of leaves along its stems, crowned with rich magenta blooms with cheery yellow eyes. Just when autumn seems to be taking hold this beauty pops up and delights us all winter.

Gardeners are often frightened of Oxalis, and some are indeed horribly invasive. But not all, and this is one of the good ones. Indeed it will thrive in places that are baked hard in summer, such as beside a road kerb. In this sense, in garden design terms, O. hirta is something of an alternative to Rhodohypoxis.


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