Category: Uncategorized

Acacia dealbata – Silver Wattle

This is a fast growing, evergreen tree to 30M, that grows readily from seed – often called by its English name Mimosa. 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.

Systematic botanist have recently separated the Australia / Pacific Acacias from the African Acacias, now in the genera Vachellia and Senegalia. This still leaves us with several hundred Acacia species and we see several around Motueka. Apparently Giraffes on the planes of Africa no longer browse on Acacia trees!

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


Autumn is a wonderful time for Nerines. First the scarlet Nerine fothergilli “Major”, then the main showing of grass-leaved Nerines (N. filifolia and N. masoniorum) and the “standard” N. bowdenii. Then the various smaller varieties such as N. bowdenii “Armandi” and the superb N. undulata “Alba”, finishing up with the showiest hybrids such as “Cranfield” shown below.

Nerines are a Bulbous member of the Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae) with a flower stem that rises about 30cm above strap-like leaves.

Click here to view the Nerine “Cranfield” page in Karin’s Garden.


Hibiscus syriacus “Coelestris” – Rose of Sharon

An upright, hardy, deciduous shrub growing to about 3M. Large mauve flowers with a crimson blotch that radiates in to the petals, born over a long period through mid- to late-summer.

Hibiscus are an indispensible part of many hot, dry gardens. The are robust plants that provide a long-lasting display of showy blooms through mid- to late-summer. Each bloom is eye-catching on its own, making the bush as a whole a striking addition to many Karin’s Garden

Click here to view the Hibiscus syriacus “Coelestris” page in Karin’s Garden.

Corymbia ficifolia – Red Flowering Gum

This is a substantial tree, growing up to 15M tall and 20M across. Profusion of orange flowers made up of stamens, can completely obscure the foliage.

Seeing a massive tree covered in bright orange flowers is an astonishing sight. There are three in the southern section of Motueka High Street. However, the space required and the problem of having to wait so long to discover if you have a good, true version of this plant, will always limit the number of specimens that are grown. All the more reason to treasure the ones that we have.

Click here to visit the Corymbia ficifolia page in Karin’s Garden.

Eucomis comosa – Pineapple Lily

This is an eye-catching plant that has a low-growing basal rosette of strap-like leaves, with attractive 50-90cm spikes of interesting green, white or pink flowers topped by a “head” of leaf-like bracts. 

This is an unusual plant that provides a point of difference in almost any garden. If you are a gardener who like green flowers then this is a must-have for you. It is also a relatively easy plant to grow, forming substantial clumps over time.

Click here to go to the Eucomis comosa page in Karin’s Garden.

Crimun x powellii “Alba” – Swamp Lily

C. x Powellii typically produces a clump of narrow, strap-shaped green leaves to about 3 feet. A naked flower spike rises to 4-5 feet, topped with umbels of 8-10 showy flowers (each up to 4” diameter) which bloom in succession from mid summer to early autumn.

Crinums start flowering in late December in Coastal Tasman, which helps to fill that lull after the spring flowers and before full summer has arrived. They are trouble-free plants which bring some drama to the garden, especially when a mature clump has developed. The pink flower is remarkably reminiscent of Amaryllis belladona, so maybe go for the white of wine red if offered a choice.

Click here to go to the Crinum x Powelli “Alba” page in Karin’s Garden.


Vigorous herbaceous plant with flowers rising to about 1m above leaves to about 50cm. Violet-blue flower heads 6” across, above deep green, strap-like leaves.

Widely grown in Karin’s Garden, this is a fabulous plant, providing masses of colour year after year with little or no maintenance. This is one plant that even non-gardeners in New Zealand will recognise and enjoy.

Brilliant Blue:

There are many varieties. In smaller gardens it is best to avoid the larger varieties which can be a bit of a thug. Agapanthus “Brilliant Blue” is medium sized and one of the lighter blue colours, which helps it to stand out. Agapanthus “Timaru” is also medium sized and a darker blue. Agapanthus “Silver Baby is smaller and has near white flowers edged with blue/lilac.


Silver Baby:

Many other varieties are available. Click here to go to the Agapanthus “Brilliant Blue”page in Karin’s Garden.

Geranium “Rozanne” – Cranesbill Geranium

Spreading herbaceous plant growing to about 50cm. Violet-blue flowers growing atop mounds of slightly marbled, deep green foliage. Lengthy flowering period from November to April.

Certainly one of the all-time great plants, for its reliability and flowering persistence. A “good doer” if ever there was one. The flowers are large and individually striking for a Geranium, and are borne over a very long period. In Tasman it is probably best given shade for part of the day, preferably in the afternoon. Karin’s Garden would be much the poorer without this gem.

Click here to go to the Geranium “Rozanne” page in Karin’s Garden.

Hymenosporum flavum

Hymenosporum flavum – Australian Frangipani

This is normally grown as a small garden tree, pruned to about 6M tall. Clusters of fragrant white flowers, ageing to yellow, cover this tree in early summer.

This plant is widely grown in coastal Tasman, where it reliably produces light shade and fragrance. The one pictured below was planted four years ago and is probably about ten years old.

Click here to go to the Hymenosporum flavum page in Karin’s Garden.

Trachelospermum jasminioides – Star Jasmine

Trachelospermum jasminioides – Star Jasmine

This is vigorous vine that can reach 5M tall. Covered in a mass of highly fragrant white flowers in late spring and early summer. it is usually grown as a climber, though I recently found it on Nile Street in Nelson growing as municipal ground cover.

This can be casually mistaken for true Jasmine, which also flourishes in Tasman. T. jasminioides is most commonly seen covering a fence, as pictured here. The scent is astonishing. It is a vigorous plant. The one pictured here is one plant that has been pruned to keep it within its allotted space.

Click here to go to the Trachelospermum jasminioides page in Karin’s Garden.