Plant Of The Moment

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.

Indigofera decora – Chinese Indigo

Indigofera decora – Chinese Indigo

This is a small spreading bush to about 60cm tall. Racemes of pink, pea-like flowers in late spring / early summer.

This plant never fails to attract admiring comments from visitors, and it deserves to be grown much more widely than it is.

Click here to go to the Indigofera decora 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.

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.

Yucca filamentosa – Adam’s Needle and Thread

Yucca filamentosa – Adam’s Needle and Thread

The flower spike is up to 2.0m tall raising above leaves that lend to fold, so they never rise above about 60cm. Spikes of bell-shaped, green-white flowers rise from a basal rosette of sword-like leaves with filaments along their margins.

This stemless Yucca (it does not develop a trunk) deserves to be much more common in Karin’s Garden than it is. A highly reliable and trouble free plant that comes in non-variegated forms as well as the variegated form shown below. The eye-catching flower spikes provide interest for at least a couple of months. Normally I would expect these to flower in Autumn, so maybe these young plants in our personal garden are unusual in flowering this early.

Click here to go to the Yucca filamentosa 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.


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.

Arenaria montana – Mountain Sandwort

This forms a dense, evergreen mat just 10cm tall. Carpet of long lasting white flowers in late spring and summer.

This is wonderful plant that is seen far too little in Motueka. A white carpet in late spring, this robust and very low maintenance plant can be used in borders, rockeries and around paving. Apart from our garden, I know of only the one in Woodlands Avenue; where ours came from.

Click here to go to the Arenaria montana page in Karin’s Garden.

Zantedeschia Purple Haze – Calla Lily

Zantedeschia “Purple Haze” – Calla Lily

This is a herbaceous plant, growing to about 40cm; with purple, spathe shaped flowers for a prolonged period from early summer. Dramatic rich purple spathes rise above spotted, arrow-shaped leaves.

Whilst the large white Zantedeschia aethiopica is common in coastal Tasman, and there are some of the larger golden hybrids, there are few of the smaller, usually purple, hybrids. They are not easy to come by, so you have to snap up any rather unpromissing rhizomes that you come across, and some of those offered for sale can be miserably small. They bulk up quickly – the plant pictured here is in its second year.

Click here to go to the Zantedeschia “Purple Haze” 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.