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

New Garden

We have started creating a new piece of garden by extending the bed at the side of the drive. After the fence was extended up our boundary the existing bed divided the fence in two so we have decided to take it up to the end of the fence. This shows the preparation. The grass has been sprayed and the rocks we had on hand laid out but we need a few more interesting rocks to complete the job.

New garden on right

I found a photo taken from roughly the same place almost exactly two years ago.

May 2019

This was taken a few days earlier and from the other direction.


I found other now and then photos.


My complaints about slow progress are not really justified!

Autumn Flower Arrangement

I like to have some flowers in the house but since we moved I have often had to buy them. Recently I was tidying up the Eucomis whose flower (now seed) stems were lying along the ground. They looked interesting so I took them back to the house to try in a vase. They have lasted for weeks so I have just upgraded the arrangement with some antiqued hydrangeas and a couple of stems of the boldly coloured Iresini which is threatening to smother a young magnolia. I’m quite pleased with the result!

Tibouchina “Cool Baby”

Tibouchina “Cool Baby”

This plant has been covered in buds for what seems like months but they started opening in February and have been a constant show ever since. The small, neat bun shaped plant will probably stay dwarf. Several new Tibouchinas have come on the market in recent years, the result of someone’s creative hybridising. They are all great plants, varying in height from this dwarf size to small trees. They seem to be better behaved than some of the older varieties which could spread wildly and were very prone to wind damage.

I have been trying without luck to find this beautiful small tree, Tibouchina granulosa “Rosea.” I had two at the farm and would love one here. It is in full flower now and remains colourful for several weeks as the flowers open along the spires.

Progress Autumn 2021

Photos are a great way of keeping track of changes in the garden. I think everything is growing slowly and there is little progress until I look back at photos take a year ago. Here are some taken now, which clearly demonstrate that there has been plenty of growth.


It is taking a long time to grow us privacy to the north but we have the plants in place—they just have to gain some height! Recent rain has been wonderful – we haven’t seen a green lawn for so long we had forgotten what it looked like.

Bamboo Orchid

Arundina graminifolia

Also called the roadside orchid but correctly Arundina graminifolia, it evidently grows abundantly along the roadsides in South East Asia. It therefore likes a sunny position and flowers in all but the coolest months. It does need an occasional tidy up because the spent stems send out kiekies (that root easily) which muddle the clean, bamboo-like lines. I am planning a curved row of clumps in the courtyard.



This creamy white Brugmansia flowers all year round in waves about two months apart. It really is a stand out plant in this exposed new garden. Despite the wind it never looks tatty. It grows readily from branches stuck in the ground – a bit like poplar poles. It has a reputation as a dangerous source of hallucinating drugs and some people wont grow it in their gardens. However it is widespread in the north so easily accessible to anyone really wanting to use it for risky purposes. Looking up Fransham’s/Mac’s catalogue I think it is Brugmansia versicolor “Ecuador Pearl”. There is such a range of different colours available now but most are not as floriferous or tree-like as this one and there is a charm in its single blooms. The evening and early morning perfume is an added bonus.

Courtyard Update

Everything is growing well in the courtyard. It will probably end up a jungle but in the meantime it is beginning to soften at the edges, blur the walls and the hard concrete. We have spent a lot of evenings out there over summer and are often joined by birds enjoying the bird bath and any insects they can find. A tomtit is a regular visitor – they must have bred in the bush close by because they are no longer a rare sighting around here.

The crucifix orchids have been in continuous flower.

Vireya “Satan’s Gift” in the pot had a great flowering and the Medinillar has recovered from its tatty winter garb and is nicely co-ordinated with the Vireya “Merlot” which is flowering almost continuously this year.

Crepe Myrtles

Lagerstroemia indica “Kimono”

Crepe Myrtles (Lagerstroemia) are having a wonderful flowering around Whangarei this year. I have only two, a soft pink and a white. They have both made massive new growth on the end of which is the very generous flowering. Obviously severe cut back in winter has paid off making these young plants branch well, producing lots of new growth on which the flowers come. However they do make very nice small trees with attractive bark becoming a feature over winter – they are deciduous. I will have decide how to manage these but am thinking I will keep them well pruned and shrubby. I must look out for a few more different colours – they obviously like this site.

Pink Crepe Myrtle