Plant Of The Moment

Pandorea jasminioides – Bower Vine

This is a vigorous, evergreen, climber that can reach 5M. Bunches of bright pink flowers cover the evergreen leaves in summer.

Various varieties of P jasminoides can be found around Motueka, often having outgrown their original space. It does seem that you have to be mindful of just how vigorous this plant can be, when choosing where to plant it. However, it is a real joy when you come across it bursting over a fence.

Click here to visit the Pandorea jasminioides page in Krin’s garden.

Amaryllis belladonna – Naked Lady Lily

This plant grows from a large bulb that sits on, or close to, the surface of the soil. Extravagant pink flowers rise on bare stems in mid-summer.

A little watering has brought mine on a little early. Naked Lady lilies can be found all round Karin’s Garden over the next few weeks. They are reliable, colouful, and trouble free. We really are lucky that this beautiful plant is happy to naturalise here.

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

Nerium oleander – Oleander

Vigorous shrub that will grow into a small tree if not pruned. Clusters of pink, funnel-shaped flowers over lance-shaped grey-green leaves.

This is a relatively common plant in Karin’s Garden, often forming part of a screen or even a formal hedge. It is justly popular as reliably producing showy flowers over many weeks, with just the annual prune as maintenance.

Click here to go to the Nerium oleander 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.

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.

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.

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.