Author: karinsgarden

Gloriosa superba – Flame Lily

This plant grows as a vine, reaching 2-3M. Extraordinary red/yellow flowers in mid-summer justify the rather immodest latin name.

This is a completely astonishing flower, that will stop you in your tracks when you see it. I am aware of only one other garden that has this in it – the one my rhizomes came from! It was good enough for  Queen Elizabeth II received a diamond brooch in the shape of this flower for her twenty-first birthday while traveling in [then] Rhodesia. Once discovered it is hard to avoid a little gardening lust creeping into your life.

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

Trichocerus spachianus – Golden Torch cactus

This cactus is slow growing, eventually reaching about 2.0M tall with 10-15 ribs and 1-2cm long golden yellow spines. Architectural, spiky, parallel dark green columns, with occasional spectacular white flowers.

This provides welcome architectural interest year round, but it is the flowers that are absolutely amazing. And you do have to be patient – this plant had been in its current position for twelve years before flowering and it will have been a few years old when planted.

Click here to go to the Trichocerus spachianus page in Karin’s Garden.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Blue Jacaranda

Medium-sized tree growing up to 20M. Long-lasting clusters of vibrant purple-blue flowers in early summer.

This tree is said to not like salt winds. The city most famous for its Jacaranda’s is Pretoria, also known as Jacaranda City, which is some 400km from the sea. It is not a particularly common plant in Karin’s Garden, though it stops you in your tracks when you see it. In Motueka it does not seem to mind where it is planted, with a healthy specimen on the seaward side of Trewavas street. Maybe we just don’t get the salt-laden winds that some coasts do?

Click here to go to the Jacaranda mimisifolia page in Karin’s Garden.

Albizia julibrissin f. Rosea – Pink Silk Tree

This a small deciduous tree, usually growing to only 5-7M, with a noticeably broad crown. Profusion of bright pink flowers comprising many stamens that resemble silk filaments.

There are several of these around Motueka; in gardens, and municipal plantings as shown below. Many of these are too big to be the Rosea form, though they do look very similar otherwise. The spread means that this is just too big for normal section sizes in town, which is just fine in many ways, as we get to enjoy them anyway.

Click here to go to the Albizia julibrissin f. Rosea page in Karin’s Garden.

Metrosideros excelsa – Pohutukawa

Can grow up to 25M tall, this is the iconic New Zealand Christmas Tree. Spectacular red flowers are made up of a mass of stamens.

Pohutukawa is [obviously] the highlight at this time of year. Though not native to the South Island they are to be found all through Karin’s Garden. New Zealand native plants do have a justified reputation for being a bit green and boring, from an ornamental garden perspective. This is a glorious exception, along with its close relative the Rata which are flowering in Abel Tasman at this time as well.

Click here to go to the Metrosideros excelsa page in Karin’s Garden.

Grevillea robusta – Silky Oak

Grevillea robusta – Silky Oak

This the largest of the Grevilleas, growing to 40M, usually with a single trunk giving it somewhat the appearance of a conifer. Profusion of bright orange flowers cover this tall tree in summer.

I was delighted to see this tree directly ahead of me on the road out of Riwaka towards Kaiteriteri, at the banked 90o left hand bend. This is an unusual tree in New Zealand; there is a small stand at the Eastwood Hill national arboretum near Gisborne. So do make the most of this one!

Click here to go to the Grevillea robusta page in Karin’s Garden.

Lilium regale – Royal Lily

Lilium regale – Royal Lily

This is a tall lily, rising to as much as 2.0M, though more commonly about 1.25M. Majestic spikes of huge white trumpets with a yellow throat.

Widely regarded as having the best fragrance of all the Lilies, this plant deserves to be much more common in Tasman that it is. It is absolutely one of the top plants in Karin’s Garden.

Click here to go to the Lilium regale page in Karin’s Garden.


Aloe polyphylla – Spiral Aloe

Aloe polyphylla – Spiral Aloe

This is a stemless succulent to 1.0m tall when in flower. Pannicles of bright orange flowers in early summer, over spiral leaf rosette.

The spiral leaf rosette is the main feature of this plant, which is a joy year round. They can be expensive, and a quick check on TradeMe found on being offered for $135!

Click here to go to the Aloe polyphylla page in Karin’s Garden.

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.