Daphne alba

Just looking at this photo makes me imagine the scent which is wafting about our courtyard at the moment. I’ve got two daphnes planted, this D. alba and Fragrant Princess which is the pale pink Jury selection. The latter has taken a while to settle in to what is probably a too wet site but looks as though it will be OK now with just a few flowers this year. This D. alba has gone berserk and has been flowering for weeks with much longer to go. I’m waiting until it finishes flowering to remove one substantial branch which is encroaching over a precious Vireya rarilepidotum.

Cymbidium Orchids Outside

Bed of Cymbids at Whangarei Quarry Gardens

This is the time of year to see cymbidium orchids in flower. They do well outside in a frost free area. Too much rain is their biggest threat so they need to be planted high and in a well-drained spot. Ideally a bit of shade is the best but they will tolerate full sun and too much shade will definitely be detrimental to flower production.

Mini Cymbid at the Quarry Gardens

They are gross feeders so a good handful of slow release fertiliser after flowering will get those new growths away – that’s where next year’s flowers come from. Choose varieties that have strong, thick petals and stems. There is great variation between varieties including flower production. The miniatures are good value—smaller plants but more, shorter, strong flower stems which stand up to the winter weather well.

Mini Cymbid “Elfin Beauty” in my courtyard – 9stems!

Make sure you throw around some slug bait when the spikes first appear. It is usually possible to obtain reasonably priced plants after the flowering season from commercial cut flower growers who are dividing and rationalising their varieties. There is a great range of colours and they make a great show in the winter garden.

Cymbid “Big Chief Kiriwee” – 8 stems

Magnolia Auroa

Magnolia “Aurora”

This young magnolia tree is flowering very well. It is M. “Aurora” which was bred by Os Blumhardt (M. “Star Wars” x M. sargentiana var robusta.) It grows into a columnar tree and flowers from a young age as you can see here. The top flower has been out for sometime and unfortunately looking tatty now with all the high winds and rain we have been having recently. Real August weather!

Magnolia “Aurora”

Tibouchina “Alstonville”

Tibouchina “Alstonville”

Tibouchina lepidota is commonly called “Alstonville” which is an Australian selection of the species. It has larger flowers I think. It flowers over a long time, very bright and showy in the winter sun. This is still shrubby – only two years old after all – but can eventually grow to a small tree up to 12 metres.

Michelia “Snow Dove”

Michelia “Snow Dove”

This is a great plant! It had so many buds you couldn’t see the stems. Now in full flower it has withstood the heavy rain we have had in the last few days – 62mm – vicious winds and today a frost. The older flowers are slightly spotted but no petals have fallen and for a small young tree it is making a great show, I think. There are lots of new Michelia varieties on the market now, mostly fully evergreen which makes them much tidier looking over winter than the species M. doltsopa which can look quite straggly as it drops its leaves when in full flower. They are all scented and don’t mind a prune. Michelias have been re-classified as magnolias which is very confusing. I suspect the general public will continue to call them Michelia to avoid confusion with magnolias.

M. “Snow Dove”

New Garden

The new garden beside the driveway is finished! Rocks in place, new plants in and mulch spread.

There are four climbers against the fence: Petrea, Bougainvillea “Pedro”, Gelsemium and Sollya. They should give a good range of colour throughout the year once they get established. In front of them is mixture of Grevilleas, Leucospernums, Protea and a red Waratah. On the top corner is a Pohutakawa “Springfire” which is not too large and flowers several times during the year. At lowest end there are three echiums and a poinsettia which started life out as a Christmas decoration in a pot. It will be interesting to see how it does outside. Their natural time to flower is in the winter—they are brought on by artificial means to produce those bright red displays at Christmas.

All looking very bare at the moment!

Deciduous Trees

Newly delivered trees
We have just bought eight large trees from Leafland in Palmerston North. Except for a flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia) they are all deciduous species that colour well in the autumn in Northland – Liriodendron, Nyssa, Acer rubrum “Autumn Glory”, Quercus rubra ( Red Oak), Metasequoia, Gledizia “Limelight” and Liquidamber “Worplesdon”. The flowering gum has been added to our line up of screening evergreens between us and our neighbours. It is cutting grown so should be an excellent flower colour.
Newly planted trees