There are so many good reasons to plant a New Zealand native as gardeners all over the world have discovered. During a recent trip to Europe I swear I saw a Cabbage Tree (Corydline) in every back yard I peeked into! Here at home, planting a NZ Native is really an act of conservation as it ensures the continuation of native plant species. Along with that there is the added bonus of attracting native birds to your garden and beneficial native insects. However before we get too "Green" and serious lets just apreciate the wonderful layers of colour, texture and distinctive form that NZ Natives offer the gardener.
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What could be more architectural than a Cabbage Tree? Perhaps the only competitor would be our NZ Flaxes (Phormiums) which are available in small, medium and large with a wide colour palette. These cannot be beaten for toughness and adaptability and are simply fabulous planted en masse. Can you imagine New Zealand without Kowhai trees (Sophora) driping with bright yellow bells in summer and being squabbled over by noisy Tui's? Did you know that some Kowhai plants only reach 1m and are therefore ideal for smaller gardens or container growing? And what about our own unique Christmas Tree, the Pohutakawa (Metrosideros) which is so easy and rewarding to grow in frost free areas.
You won't get a better ground cover for difficult sites than our native Coprosma varieties. Then there are native "grasses" for mass planting and Hebes for adding year round colour. Corokias and Pittosporums for hedging, windbreaks, or no nonsense background foliage fillers. Did you know that the shy Pittosporum flowers have an exquisite perfume? Pseudopanax offer unique foliage form and colour and are ideal for adding height. In garden design our native plants can stand alone or combine superbly with exotic imports to provide a rich tapestry.
For best results plant Native plants in early spring in a well considered position as, just like us, they resent being moved unnecessarily. Other than that most natives are extremely easy and rewarding to grow.
The Australian Silky Tea Tree is a graceful, open, evergreen tree with stunning red bronze foliage. In summer masses of single white flowers with green centres smother the branches and make the bees happy. Quite tolerant but happiest in the sun with good drainage.
'Coppersheen' looks good as a single specimen and the foliage colour combines well with other garden colours. Equally it looks great as a closely planted screen or hedge and for this purpose it trims very well.
Colour: White / Green Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2.5m x 2m
Aust. Native. Merinda has vibrant magenta flowers that cover the bush in colour. Flowers occur in late spring. Early growth of this plant is spreading or cascading but will develop into a small shrub. Frost tolerant.
Colour: Red Habit: Cascading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Native Standard. An unusual form of our native Manuka (Tea Tree) which has a low semi-prostrate habit that makes it ideal for a lovely cascading head of flowers on a topiary standard. Can be grown in a pot/ tub or used as an attractive specimen in the garden.The foliage is tiny, narrow and pointed, the flowers are in tones of rose red and pink. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink / Pink Habit: Cascading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: STD
Native. Call it Tea Tree or call it Manuka or even by its botanical name of Leptospermum this ubiquitous native tree is a familar site in our landscape. The scented white flowers that appear in summer attract bees that produce delicious honey. Will grow almost anywhere. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 5m x 3m
Gorgeous single white flowers massed on ornamental dark foliage make this low growing, prostrate ground cover a good choice for cascading over walls or covering banks. The flowers appear in late winter. Prefers full sun and shelter from the wind. Tolerates most soils. Trim after flowering. Hardy. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Prostrate Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm
Native. The NZ Iris is an attractive clump forming perennial with spears of fresh green foliage. In summer white 'butterfly' flowers dance above the leaves on stiff, wiry stems. These are followed by ornamental seed pods. Well worth planting and easy to grow. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 0.6m
Muehlenbeckia astonii is a divaricating, deciduous shrub that can add interest to any garden and works well contrasted with bold foliage. The unique habit of growth and foliage makes for a great feature shrub or mass planted. It is extremely hardy and can be used as a low informal hedge or clipped to shape for a more formal hedge and sculptural topiary.
Colour: Assorted Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 75cm
The twisting, tangled stems of this native Climber make for an interesting and useful plant that can be trained as a climber or used to scramble informally wherever you want quick cover and a plant of interest. Plant in morning sun in soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Semi-evergreen.
The flowers on the female form of Muehlenbeckia are inconspicuous but emit a pleasant fragrance. The flowers are followed by little white berries. This plant also responds well to clipping and is often used for informal topiary work.
Habit: Twisting Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x spreadscm
This native Daisy is not the easiest of plants to grow but if you have just the right position it is well worth the effort. Large grey green, leathery leaves are highlighted in summer by crisp white daisy flower heads with a yellow centre. Must have a sunny spot with excellent drainage. Evergreen.
Colour: White / Yellow Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 80cm