Monday, July 20, 2015

Orange and Purple Garden Mid-winter

At home, the colourful perennial garden  of summer and autumn has given way to the main structural planting - Buxus balls, Dietes, and the front edge of Liriope and Primula, with young Camellia behind. The balls are only just starting to get big enough to have a visual presence. And thankfully the Liriope has filled out to give a hint of an edge line. June and July are the dullest months in the garden, so these structural elements are really important to avoid a dull and flat perennial garden.

Part of what I love about this garden, is the extreme contrast between the vibrant, bold flower colours of autumn, then this quiet period of green. Small bulbs will start flowering soon - daffodils, tulips and crocus.

This is it in full bloom, below!!

Let there be light

Not very often would I advocate chopping down a mature tree - but this 55 year old Atlantic Cedar has been on my radar ever since we moved into this house 10 years ago. Planted 10 metres from the house, on the north western corner - it not only blocked light and sunshine from 1/3 of the house over winter, but the needles have been a maintenance nightmare in the pool, and in the spouting. Not to mention a safety hazard in the high winds we often get, with enormous limbs hanging over the house. NOT ANY LONGER!! Haha!! So excited to get rid of this damn tree - and the pleasure I will get from burning the firewood will be immense.
The Victors!! 
I added the pink cross in desperation, and was preparing to pay a contractor to come
and take it down. The thought of me paying someone to do this is what finally galvanised
George into action!!
Probably a year's worth of firewood here. 
We had the entire tree processed in 1.5 days. Now just have to split the rings for fire wood. I am so happy to have sunlight in the bedrooms. Has made an immediate impact on the warmth during the day.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Totara, Michelia and Magnolia together

A favourite tree combination, particularly for properties with existing Totara trees on, is adding the bolder accents of Magnolia grandiflora and Michelia yunnanensis (or M. gracipes). They all have the same colour tones - olive green with bronze tones - and the foliage contrast looks fantastic. I believe it enhances the individual trees, to have these textural contrasts rather than all the same. They tie in so seamlessly with many of the NZ native plants, as well, such as Anamanthele grasses, and bronze flaxes. Love it.
Totara tree
Magnolia grandiflora

Anemanthele lessoniana - Gossamer Grass
Michelia yunnanensis with brown velvet flower buds
Totara tree foliage
Another favourite - Phormium Surfer Bronze - mini bronze flax. 


Lancewood - Pseudopanex crassifolius (Horoeka) or P. Ferox (Toothed or Fierce lancewood). I took photos of these 2 species growing at our pizza oven garden yesterday. I love the contrast of the two species. I also love using them to flank a path, or as an accent point in an area where a cabbage tree (Cordyline australis) would be too large. Their verticality is important in a low garden, too, and they also do not block any views.

Fierce Lancewood - P. ferox
Fierce behind, Horoeka in front
The Horoeka - P. crassifolius. I love the coloured striped midrib.
They add a great vertical accent in amongst low planting. Here with flaxes and hebes. 

We have them forming an avenue beside the path leading down to the pizza oven
I know some people hate lancewoods - and I can understand why - they are ugly - but they are also FASCINATING in their juvenile form, and the tree shape they form in maturity is fabulous. Like a giant wobbly lollipop. I also love the variation in the colour of the stripe on the Horoeka - ranging from yellow to orange and dark red shades. All makes life a little more interesting!!

Interestingly - some of these same lancewoods pictured were decimated by cattle a couple of years ago - with just the very top growth tip being left. We left them to see what would happen - and they all regrew. It was not the end of the world, as it turned out!!