Plant Of The Moment

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.

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.

Lampranthus aurantiacus Pink – Ice Plant

Lampranthus aurantiacus Pink – Ice Plant

L. aurantiacus is a spreading shrub, never more than about 20cm tall, layering as it goes. A mat of long-lasting day-glow pink daisy-like flowers in late spring.

This is a dazzling plant that stops you in your tracks in late spring. Being highly drought tolerant it is particularly suited to coastal Tasman summers. The plant pictured below is towards the red end of the colour spectrum. A garden on the seaward side of Trewavas Street in Motueka has a pebble bank facing the footpath along the coast there; with the whole range of colours, from white through to red, including some semi-doubles.

Click here to go to the Lampranthus aurantiacus page in Karin’s Garden.

Kalmia latifolia “Minuet” – Dwarf Mountain Laurel

Kalmia latifolia “Minuet” – Dwarf Mountain Laurel

This is a medium sized evergreen shrub (up to 1.5m high), flowering in late spring. Pink buds open from icing piping shaped buds, to gorgeous flowers with a striking maroon-red band around the inside edge.

This is a dwarf version of the usual Kalmia latifolia. It seems to thrive in the soil and climate of Karin’s Garden. The flower buds are the usual icing piping shape of a Kalmia, but the flowers are flatter and less bell-shaped than other Kalmias when fully open. The purple band inside the petals is an unusual and distinguishing feature.

Click here to go to the Kalmia latifolia “Minuet” page in Karin’s Garden.

Paulownia tomentosa – Foxglove Tree

Paulownia tomentosa – Foxglove Tree

Covered in large trusses of fragrant, lilac flowers in early spring.

There are a number of P. tomentosa around Tasman. Possibly the most striking in Motueka was on Whakarewa Street, until it was cut down two years ago – an act that will probably remain beyond my understanding for life. In full flower these trees are absolutely stunning.

Click here to go to the Paulownia tomentosa page in Karin’s Garden.


Gladiolus x Colvillei “Blushing Bride” – Sword Lily

This is a small Gladiolus, and the plant grows to a little over ½M, with a more lax form than many Gladioli. Spikes of brilliant white flowers with exquisite carmine markings rise above sword shaped leaves in spring.

G. nanus was the only small Gladiolus name that I was aware of before I was given these bulbs by a friend. They have opened my eyes to a whole new world of Gladiolus species and their hybrids, separate from the tall flashy flowers we see in the florist’s. It turns out that G. nanus is not a species, but rather a generic terms for all small Gladiolus varieties.

Click here to view the Gladiolus x Colvillei “Blushing Bride” page in Karin’s Garden.