Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Indoor Flowers for Winter - Orchids

 At the end of summer, when there were not many flowers to choose from in the garden (no actually, when I was too hectic to think about having fresh picked flowers to look after!), I bought two orchid plants to have in my office. They have flowered for months, and have filled a gap over the most boring part of the garden year. They are still going strong nearly 3 months on. Go the orchids!

In the afternoon, with the sun behind them, they glow beautifully.
Popped in a pot, they are the nearest to zero maintenance that I know of! Best thing is
that, rather than just dying off at the end of the show, the plant lives on, and will
 give me more flowers next year, as a white one from a previous year has just done.
Got to love that!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dwarf Kowhai - Sophora 'Dragon's Gold'

This gorgeous small tree is extremely adaptable - topiary, hedging, shrub, or a small spreading tree. It all depends on how you train it. The best thing about the Dragons Gold is the fact it flowers over winter, and the waxeyes and fantail birds love it. It flowers from about April right through until September, whereas the full- sized kowhai (microphylla and tetraptera) only flower in one big show in late spring.

It flowers for about 6 months
I have kept the trunks clear, training these to be wonky standards
Piwakawaka (fantail) flittering around the trunk
These are some examples I have growing at my office. Some (above) I am training to be wonky standards, that will join to form a cloud formation in the middle of a circular garden. Just a bit of randomness!
A taller standard kowhai, in a pot close to a window, so the birds can be seen from close-up
Keeping this one trimmed as a ball. 
Then this hedge (below) I saw at the hockey grounds in Palmerston North. It looked fabulous as a big wide clipped hedge.

I will try and find photos of it as a tree, too. We have some we planted at Masonic Hospital a few years ago, that we have been taking the lower limbs off each year, as it grows. So now those trees are about 2.5m high, and can be underplanted with rengarenga lilies etc. And close to windows, so the Waxeyes can be seen from close by in the middle of winter. A great small tree for a smaller property. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chimonanthus praecox - Winter Sweet

I have just come inside laden with branches of my favourite fragrant winter shrub - Winter Sweet. Just divine. Smells so sweet, and you can smell it from miles away (well maybe an exaggeration), and inside the house it permeates the space with deliciousness!!

It is not a particularly attractive large shrub, so I usually place it to the rear of gardens, because it really is only WONDERFUL while it is flowering, and then more as the fragrance rather than a showy flower. Every large garden should have one somewhere, particularly beside paths or places you visit over winter.

I have poked my Winter Sweet in with some Japonica, or Flowering quince - (Chaenomeles sp), with bright pink flowers on bare branches. And some yellow Ginkgo leaves to bulk it out. A splash of brightness on this drab winter's day! Am loving being back inside my office after such a lot of planting jobs that absorb so much time. Although I LOVE the planting jobs, too!! Great mix.
Chaenomeles sp.  - Flowering Quince, Japonica.......