Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Time To Start Planning

With the thought of autumn lurking, I am starting to get booked up again with people realising they need to get planning for autumn and winter planting. The design process takes a few weeks, and then months for structural landscaping. The landscape contractors get very booked up leading in to autumn, so GET PLANNING NOW!! I am usually booked up about two weeks in advance, so the sooner you contact me the faster we can make it happen.

Email: rachel.george@xtra.co.nz - I would love to hear from you!

My planting team hard at work in the mud 
Newly planted landscape transformation

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Pink Shades?!!

I admit I am known for my general dislike of pink. Certainly never worn it, and one of the only colours I had never tried in my own garden. BUT - I am in love with the dusky pink toned Echinacea purpurea and Eupatorium maculatum 'Atropurpureum', so two years ago I created a garden at home based on those two plants. Being a new colour for me, I have been experimenting, with some better successes than others. Needless to say, I am now hooked on these shades of pink - wine, burgundy, crimson, cerise, dusky pinks to name a few.

I had a tricky area behind an ugly pool fence (not up for changing fence at this stage), so colours need to be strong to show up from across the pool, and behind bars. The bold flowers of Echinacea are perfect for this, but to extend the colour season, I have thrown in all sorts of other plants. I bought some verbena the other day - not my fave V.bonariense, but the ground cover plant my lovely friend Becks told me is a 'Nana' plant!! Yes - it is. Honestly - used in the style favoured by the generation that just love all colours of annuals jumbled in together it can be truly awful. But in the right context, I figure it will be spot on - it flowers for such a long time, and has a great display of colour at ground level - just what I am after to complement the leggy Echinacea. Who knows - I might start a Nana plant revolution!
Echinacea purpurea, with pink Allium, and lily above

This is the predominant view from the kitchen, so it needs to be interesting year round.
The ugly pool fence bars don't help, but they are there so let's work around them.
I will be splitting and multiplying the numbers of each plant this year for bolder clumps.
Many of the plants are only new this year.
Salvia with the 'Nana plant' Verbena ground cover underneath!
Dahlias flower for months and months - just keep them dead headed. Should have done that
before I took the photo, shouldn't I? See the pointed head to the right - those ones are the dead
head, not be mistaken for the round buds about to open (not seen in pic). 
Scabiosa 'Crimson Clouds' - another ground cover mass of colour
The different lily species around my garden have been flowering for three plus months

Up to 2m tall Eupatorium maculatum 'Atropurpureum'. Gorgeous flowers, foliage and
stalks, and so tall for the back of the border.  Flowers last ages.

Echinacea, Lilies and Eupatorium
Penstemon Garnet
Photoshopped pic of the Dahlia
There are of course many other plants in this garden (buxus balls, dietes, irises, camellia etc for structure), but this post was about showing you the many pink shades I am experimenting with. Who says you can't change your opinion on colours??? My Mother-in-law thinks this is hilarious, as she has always despaired at my lack of liking for pink! Funny. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Macleaya Cordata - Plume Poppy

This is one of my favourite plants, and this year it is thriving alongside a hot dry wall at home. I took these photos in early morning, from the deck, when the background was still in shade, and the leaves and 'flower plumes' were brightly lit. Aren't they gorgeous?

The underside is white and felt-like, so it has extra interest in the wind, seen above.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September - Textures

In early spring the new growth on perennials really stands out. I adore my office garden right now - with just a few valiant flowers, the anticipation of bulbs flowering, and the really strong contrast of leaf form and texture. And the spring growth on the Buxus is gorgeous. I took a few photos this morning, to capture the essence of what I am talking about.

Bearded Irises have an amazing leaf form that really stands out at this time of year. I like the flowers, but perhaps oddly, I prefer them when they are at this stage - just strong upright leaves. 

Lilies are an all time favourite - I love them from the moment they pop up. Part of the pleasure is the anticipation of their flower, but that is not all. I love the leaf texture as well. 

Hellebore leaves are striking amongst the contrasting Euphorbia 
The garden has hardly any flowers in it right now, but I am enjoying it so much with just leaves and growth. 
Michelia yunnanensis - the fragrance is superb

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Crocus - Little Winter Treasures

In the depths of winter, it is all the more important to have little treasures dotted around the garden that you can enjoy. I adore these tiny Crocus, which have faithfully been popping up for the last 8 or 9 years. They have fascinating details.

Good idea is to put them next to herbaceous perennials, so that they have relatively bare ground around them during flowering, then their dying leaves get covered up by spring growth of surrounding perennials.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sophora Dragons Gold

I know I have mentioned this superb miniature Kowhai before - but I couldn't resist sharing these pictures taken FROM MY DESK the other day, of the dear wee Wax-eye (Silver-eye) flitting about in them. They are such a great plant - either as a small tree, if limbed up from a young age. Or topiary shapes such as standards, of balls. Definitely as a hedge, too. Plant near a window, as the main flowering season (about 4 months worth) is in the depths of winter - just when you need some action to cheer you up!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Autumn perennials - COLOUR in April

Wow it HAS been a while since I have posted - shows how busy I have been!! Met some wonderful people, and designed lots of exciting spaces in the last few months, so now just waiting for them to be created. I love that element of my job. Meeting people passionate about creating great spaces. Bring it on!

For now, though - some photos I took in my own garden at home on the weekend. My garden is large, and I have it divided into quite separate spaces with different colour schemes in each. Gives me a chance to experiment, but also to indulge my passion for colour combos, and growing things.....

The stand out colour is absolutely the dahlias - they are in full blast flower until the frosts arrive. Have a look for yourself:


Dahlias in all shades of red, at the front door. 


And around the corner.....ORANGE AND PURPLE

Old fashioned Alstromeria
Salvia Black and Blue - really valuable in the perennial garden
Geranium Johnsons Blue or Rozanne - not sure which.
Orange dahlia - Salvia behind
Verbena bonariense

Then beside the pool ......

This is the main player in the pink garden at the mo - low growing, forming a colour mass at
 the base of the other perennials that have kept growing upwards. Just gorgeous. If you
want  to know the variety ask me in the comments section and I will look it up.
The Echinacea have finally faded from their strong hue earlier in the season. The other
perennials are still getting taller around them, and won't cease until the first frosts.
Toad Lily - (Tricyrtis hirta).  Great edging shrub gardens.
Euphorbia Chameleon
Penstemon 'Garnet'


Woodland Anemone
Quince - fabulous tree for blossom and fruit
Rose hips on climbing rose
Viburnum Trilobum
There - just a wander around the garden on a Sunday afternoon. If you want late season colour in your garden, (and you have the space) there are no excuses. Especially with the array of dahlias on the market these days. Most of my reds have self-sown from an original 3 different sorts, which is half the fun. You never know what you are going to get. Just have fun with the colours - experiment!