Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Fungus treasure

 I spotted these beautifully coloured fungi growing on an old tree stump in the garden the other day. Three different ages/stages and three different colours. They are growing like little horizontal shelves. Would be gorgeous inspiration for a jersey, or a painting. If I could do either!! 

And the stump itself, from above, showing all three age stages. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Potted Colour

It can be a bit dreary in the winter garden, so I like to put special bulbs in nice pots, so I can move them into view once their growth is activated. These Lachenalia are a perfect shot of colour - particularly when the sun goes behind them - they just glow. Notice the spots on the stalks? Gorgeous. South African, they prefer well drained, light soils in the sun.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Archway on the QE Park Island

This archway I designed has recently been installed on the island at Queen Elizabeth Park (see separate page in right hand column). I am so excited to see the idea from my head transformed by the talented crew at Progressive Engineering. It is made from Corten steel, with the eels cut-out, and stainless steel put behind to give a translucent effect (and stop little fingers getting snagged). I love it!

Also much of the furniture has been installed on the island, including a board walk across the water inlet, and three picnic tables. Things are finally falling in to place, which is thanks to the great efforts of a team of volunteers. Fantastic.

I would be interested to know how many family groups use it as a frame for family photos. Would be perfect.

The view as you walk under the arch is of 'Thinking Man'
Stainless steel gives a translucent effect to the eels and bubbles

The well used picnic tables have been a welcome addition. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Daylilies - Hemerocallis

These plants come in so many colours - in fact, almost every colour except blue. I use them as background fillers (the plant can get a bit ratty into autumn), and they add a great height and colour to any kind of garden, be it perennial of shrub.
These are just a few I have in my own garden.

They are, of course, related to the Lily family. The following are some of the Asiatic Lilies I have flowering in my garden right now. They will be succeeded by many other species until late autumn.

And of course the Martagon Lily. Possibly my favourite. I have them in pots so
I can bring them right up to the kitchen window. They are fascinating close-up.
They last for weeks and weeks. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Attracting Tui and Bellbirds Into Your Garden

Nothing beats having these special birds hopping from plant to plant right next to where you are sitting (or sleeping). I have had these flax plants in my garden for quite a few years, and they have never failed to attract the birds, including when we a house load of Christmas guests right next to them.
This year I have been intrigued by a juvenile Tui (see photos) who is particularly fearless (or naive?) and even flew into the house the other day to land on the Christmas tree!!
Flaxes are Phormium Merlot and Dark Delight. Both are a perfect fit in the rear of the largely perennial garden. Having a mixture of varieties guarantees a longer flowering period.

Flaxes are planted to the rear all the way along the front of the house. 
The flaxes mingle with the perennials
Bellbird seen from our bedroom window
The juvenile Tui - hasn't quite developed his full adult colours yet. He flits from flax to flax. 
The juvenile won this battle

Silly juvenile Tui in the house after landing on the Christmas tree!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

White Daffodils

Not everybody is a fan of yellow. I admit I find it disappointing when yellow daffodils are flowering at the same time as pink cherry trees - ruins both, in my opinion. BUT - a great answer to that is white daffodils, which can't possibly clash with anything. There are so many varieties around. These ones at my office are Thalia. Tall enough to peep over the top of a buxus hedge, and particularly valuable amongst deciduous shrubs like Hydrangea and Fothergilla, as they flower when the shrubs are still leafless.

Tall enough to peep over the top of a buxus hedge. 

There is a huge variety of predominantly white daffs to choose from these days.

Monday, August 27, 2018


The Cancer Society's Annual Daffodil Day has arrived again - another reminder Spring is almost almost here. We are lucky enough to have a driveway full of these beautiful doubles that last for weeks and weeks. An oddly warm winter has meant they opened 3 weeks early, so many were too old to pick, but I still found hundreds of clean fresh buds to take in to the amazing team that bunch them to sell this week. Fingers crossed they make loads of money.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Oriental Lilies - Black Beauty

For any of you wanting a beautiful pink lily - this one comes very highly recommended. The plant is tall and sturdy, and the flowers last for months. I love the foliage as it is growing over summer, then the dying leaves glow yellow into late autumn - adding a great colour highlight to the garden. I cannot recommend it highly enough - I love it. And that is coming from someone who does not like pink!!
Lilium Black  Beauty - Oriental Lily
Really sturdy plants, that withstand wind.
Autumn colours - the leaves glow amongst evergreen foliage
And below are some of the plants I have partnered with the Lily - more burgundy than pink for me
Echinacea purpureum and Allium

Scabiosa Crimson Clouds
Eupatorium maculatum
This lily is being advertised in at least one NZ bulb catalogue right now - (Garden Post). Not sure if you can buy it in shops. Get some!!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Fothergilla and Salvia 'Ember's Wish'

This sight greets me each morning as I arrive at my office. The early morning sun just glows on the leaves of the Fothergilla, and the Salvia next to it is a perfect match. The trees above are Acer Bloodgood. I did a post on Fothergilla many years ago, and it is still difficult to source the plants. Well worth it if you can get hold of some. They hold their autumn colour for months, then have lovely flowers in spring.

The view from my computer.