Plant Of The Moment

Narcissus papyraceus – Paperwhite Daffodil

This is a medium sized Daffodil, growing to around 40cm. Several, strongly scented, white flowers on each stem in late autumn / early winter.

N. papyraceus is the earliest Daffodil to flower in Karin’s Garden, telling us that spring is not far away even before autumn has given way to winter. As well as lighting up the darkening days this is a wonderful cut flower, where its powerful fragrance fills the room.

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

Euryops virgineus – Honey Daisy

This is a fast growing, spreading shrub that grows up to 1½M tall. Masses of scented yellow daisy-like flowers cover this evergreen bush.

Collectors of South African plants have raved about this attractive plant. It provides a welcome blast of bright yellow in winter.

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

Kniphofia uvaria – Red Hot Poker

The flower spikes of this robust plant rise to over 1½M. Spikes of red/orange flowers rise above untidy mats of strap-like leaves.

This Kniphofia flowers in winter. It is reasonably popular around Motueka, and rightly so, where it provides a welcome dash of colour in mid-winter, along with Aloe arborescens (Krantz Aloe) which is also in the Asphodelaceae family.

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

Aloe arborescens – Krantz Aloe

This Aloe can grow up to 3M tall, but more typically to 2M in Karin’s Garden. Sprawling succulent with red flower spikes rising above rosettes of toothed leaves.

This is one of the winter flowering Aloes. It is reasonably popular around Motueka, and rightly so, where it provides a welcome dash of colour in mid-winter, along with Kniphofia (Red Hot Pokers) which are also in the Asphodelaceae family.

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

Vitis cognetiae – Crimson Glory Vine

This is a vigorous, deciduous climbing vine that can reach 20M. Large rounded leaves which turn fiery shades of red, gold and orange in autumn.

V. cognetiae makes an eye-catching spectacle each autumn. Unlike many other plants that you grow for their autumn colour, V. cognetiae seems to be indifferent the weather year-to-year. This is a reliable source of dramatic autumn colour.

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

Cyclamen x “Violet” – Sowbread

A low growing, tuberous plant that flowers for six months from early autumn. Outlandish flowers have recurved pink petals, forming a shuttlecock shape. This plant is a real jewel during the colder months in Karin’s Garden.

These Cyclamen hybrids seems to love Karin’s Garden. They provide vibrant flashes of colour when many other plants are fading towards autumn. You can even have the florists Cyclamen, Cyclamen persicum, if you have well protected spots, possibly close to the house.

Click here to view the Cyclamen x “Violet” page in Karin’s Garden.

Acer palmatum “Bloodgood” – Japanese Maple

This is a small tree, growing up to 5M if left un-pruned. Deep purple foliage in summer, turning brilliant red in the autumn.

Magnificent autumn colour that glows in sunlight. It is an elegant plant through the summer, but you grow it for that three weeks a year when it really takes the breath away.

Click here to view the Acer palmatum “Bloodgood” page in Karin’s Garden.

Plectranthus ciliatus – Speckled Spur-Flower

This is a frost tender herb that trails along the ground, forming effective ground cover up to 40cm high. Racemes of speckled white to light purple-pink flowers on stems with purple hairs over ornamental foliage.

I first came across this one in the Nelson Botanic Garden, where it was doing a wonderful ground cover job, in a shady place near one of the ponds. Indeed there are other Plectranthus in the gardens there. The pale flower spikes really stand out against the darkish foliage in a darkish place. I think the foliage timing will work really well with some of the spring bulbs, like Erythronium and Trilium.

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

Oxalis hirta – Wood Sorrel

This is a ground covering plant that grows to only 15cm, from pretty golden bulbs (officially rhizomes). Tight clusters of leaves along its stems, crowned with rich magenta blooms with cheery yellow eyes. Just when autumn seems to be taking hold this beauty pops up and delights us all winter.

Gardeners are often frightened of Oxalis, and some are indeed horribly invasive. But not all, and this is one of the good ones. Indeed it will thrive in places that are baked hard in summer, such as beside a road kerb. In this sense, in garden design terms, O. hirta is something of an alternative to Rhodohypoxis.

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