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Friday 25th September, 2020
Difficult growing positions need the right plants
You know, you never stop looking, it's plants and plantings that I'm on about and I have to say that windy Welly has some pretty cool street plantings to excite those that like plant combos. Not just any plant combos, but inner city plantings, these have to be pretty tough in what you may describe as quite extreme gardening situations.
If you think about it, city gardens have to struggle against the heat of all the concrete, pavements and roads. Light levels will be low due to high rise buildings, not to mention all the street tree plantings. Hard surfaces collect water and channel it to roads, gutters and storm water drains so the planted areas may suffer from excessive water to almost non existent in the summer. In short the conditions are relatively extreme compared to those of our home gardens.
When in Wellington I often walk past this garden and it never ceases to impress me with how cool it looks. Its a simple combination of Acorus variegata that contrasts well against the Clivias dark green wide strappy leaves. Clivia, mass planted, look amazing especially when in flower, which is often followed by bright red berries. Clivia love dry shade positions which is why they work so well here. The high buildings and when the deciduous plane trees leaf up... well it would be quite a low light spot with no real sun. It's worth noting that Clivia also get sunburnt, or their leaves become quite yellow if they are in a too high, light spot, which is not that attractive in my book. Too wet for Clivias, is no good either, as the leaf ends tend to go brown... we even have to keep them out of the irrigation.
On checking further in this garden there were liriopes which is another perfect plant for dry, shade... Liriopes are tough as but again their foliage can yellow if they are in too much sun. Surprisingly Daphne, which can be fickle, has adapted to these conditions as well.
There are plenty of city native plantings and the underplanting of the trees down of of the main drag consists of great use of Renga Renga lilies or Arthropodium cirratum combined with Hen and chicken ferns which give such a simple but quite tropical look and both theses plants actually cope quite well with those dry shady areas under trees.
It's worth noting though that when autumn arrives, and all the foliage falls, then you must clear the carpet of leaves as this can exclude all the light to the detriment of your plants... this is the case with any planting made in the shade of trees.
Poor Knights Lily... Xeronema Callistemon, I just love, love, love this plant. There is something about those fleshy, sword like leaves, and the flowers are just to die for! Callistemon is the genus name for bottle brush, so it won't be a surprise to know that these tooth brush shaped flowers are bright red and bottle brush like in habit. It was fab to come across these troughs, packed full of leaves and flower spikes that are just starting to emerge and show colour. Great for full sun and even coastal exposure.
Kumara... Red, Gold and Orange, coming soon!
Kumara will be available closer to labour weekend, the slips are delicate and it is always important to get them in the ground as soon as they are ready, so to that end we aren't planning to hold onto these for very long. Get them ordered and the ground prepared so that you will be ready for them as soon as we let you know they are in stock. We expect that to be around mid Oct, a week or so before Labour weekend. If you haven't ordered yours then get online and do so as these plants have a short shelf life and we don't plan to have many extras... beside you need to plant them as they need quite a long growing season.
Photinia Red Robin large grade, big, bushy plants. This is a popular hedging plant but is also a gorgeous flowering shrub as a stand alone with it's deep red new growth which lasts for long periods in spring then the leaves gradually turn a deep glossy green. Tough, easy shrub to grow.
Nandina Fire Power and Gulfstream great for low hedging, these plants colour up for winter. Evergreen and compact.
Metrosideros excelsa AKA Pohutukawa, lovely chunky plants. Attractive leathery blue-grey foliage and beautiful crimson, tufted blooms that appear in summer.
Woodlands Antique affair is on this weekend, check out the 'old stuff' and then go for a wander around the beautiful gardens.
Book a small break away in Taranaki to enjoy the countryside and perhaps check out some of the local gardens by going on one of the rambles happening in early November. There are two running simultaneously from 30th October through to 8th November which will give an amazing opportunity for anyone visiting the area to see a large number of amazing gardens. You will find more details on our Events page for both the 33rd Taranaki Garden Festival and the Taranaki Fringe Garden Festival.
Support an amazing service in the community and enjoy some beautiful gardens by purchasing tickets, $65/person, to the Franklin Hospice Garden Ramble. They have a great selection of gardens, including Jack Hobbs's, a church that will be adorned by floral arrangements and a garden that is having a market (not a 'market garden' as I posted last week). Dates are 14-15 Nov. Click this link for more info.
It's a double whammy, well not really, but I'm sure all will know, especially those who have children, that today is the start of the school holidays and tomorrow night/Sunday morning is when we push those clocks forward for daylight savings. I feel a tad sorry for those that like the morning light, like all those farmers out there, but I'm sure that many will enjoy the longer evening time to, well, get out there and garden.