Plant Of The Moment

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.

Gladiolus cardinalis x – Waterfall Gladiolus

Gladiolus cardinalis x – Waterfall Gladiolus

This is a small Gladiolus, and the plant grows to a little over ½M, with stiff upright leaves. Spikes of vibrant red flowers white markings and silvered backing to the petals rise above sword shaped leaves in spring.

This is an outrageous plant. Whereas other delightful small gladioli have white petals with attractive markings, this one goes for tomato sauce red petals with white markings. And attractive silvered backing to the petals. This is an unusual plant that you have to snap up if you ever come across it.

Click here to go to the Gladiolus cardinalis x page in Karin’s Garden.

Cantua buxifolia – Sacred flower of the Incas

This is an evergreen shrub with an open habit that benefits from pruning, growing to about 2½M. Gorgeous clusters of 8cm long tubular flowers, orange at the base and flared pink at the tip.

Cantua buxifolia seems to be rather hardier than is generally reported, and provides an eye-catching spectacle in spring. There are several of these around Motueka.


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

Pratia pedunculata “Country Park”

Pratia pedunculata “Country Park” – Blue Star Creeper

A mass of tiny star-shaped blue flowers cover this mat forming ground cover in spring. This is a vigorous prostrate, evergreen, herbaceous, mat-forming perennial with rooting stems.

This can be invasive for some people, but as dense, very low-growing, free-draining tolerant, flowering ground cover there is nothing else quite like it.

Click here to go to the Pratia pedunculata “Country Park” page in Karin’s Garden.

Aloe striata – Coral Aloe

This is a stemless succulent to 1.0m tall when in flower, with Pannicles of bright orange flowers in spring.

Aloes of all sorts are fairly common in coastal parts of Tasman, adding striking colour in springtime. Amongst Aloes, A. striata has particularly bright and attractive flower spikes.

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

Ixia “Venus” – Corn Lily

This is a clump forming member of the Iris family (Iridaceae) that grows to about 0.8M. Lipstick pink flowers, darker at their centre, rise on stiff, slender stems that wave in the wind.

Ixia “Venus” is a relatively common plant in Karin’s Garden. And no wonder. It provides eye-popping colour – it is the sort of colour that a TV or computer screen does not properly convey – and is a robust and reliable plant. The picture below shows something of the range of colours available – there are also white and yellow Ixias. Venus is the one on the extreme left in this collage.
Click here to view the Ixia “Venus” page in Karin’s Garden.

Pleione Orchid – Himalayan Crocus

These are small plants with flowers to 15cm followed by leaves to 30cm. Exquisite showy pink to purplish flowers arise on bare stems in spring.

These are charming, vibrant spring orchids. Growers have developed an amazing range of colours, which you can inspect at The Pleione Website. A good range of varieties are available from Blue Mountain Nurseries in Tapanui. These are flowering in my garden just now, having been planted in August. My challenge will be getting them through next winter.


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

Aloe plicatilis – Fan Aloe

This is a succulent Aloe that can grow in to a small tree, as much as 5M tall. Bright orange tubular flowers on impressive flower spikes, usually in early spring.

Flowering in the wild is triggered by autumn/winter rainfall in the Western Cape. In the Auckland Botanic Gardens ten days ago, their collection of Aloes was in full flower – completely astonishing, if you have the chance to visit. In Karin’s garden the flowering time seems to be a little more variable, with the mild frosts sometimes delaying flowering until springtime.

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

Hyacinthoides hispanica – Spanish Bluebell

This is a classic woodland bulb, growing to about 40cm, putting up leaves and flowering before the tree canopy has come into leaf. Spikes of bright blue flowers rise above strap-like leaves in spring.

Whilst gardeners often seem to wish for the English Bluebell, the Spanish Bluebell is a much better garden plant. Indeed there are named hybrids if you can get them, with “Excelsior” being probably the pick of the bunch. There are also pink and white forms of the Spanish Bluebell as there are of the English.


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

Forsythia x intermedia “Karl Sax” – Golden Bell

This is a bushy shrub growing 2M tall, flowering on one or two year old growth. Bright yellow flowers, about 4cm across, cover the bush and arrive before the leaves.

There are a range of Forsythia varieties available and Karl Sax is one of the very best. Flowering along with the shrub Rhododendrons, Forsythia are one of the earliest flowering shrubs. Robust, reliable, and always eye-catching, this is a popular plant in Karin’s Garden.


Click here to view the Forsythia x intermedia “Karl Sax” page in Karin’s Garden.