Michelia “Snow Dove”

Michelia
Michelia “Snow Dove”

This hybrid between M. maudiae and M. doltsopa is a wonderful small, evergreen tree. It flowers profusely and over a long season from a young age. Its perfume is deliciously sweet and spicy, wafting round the garden.

Michelia “Snow Dove”

I chopped the top off this plant which was given to me as a pot plant, grown tall but a straggly shape. I held my breath but it sprouted vigorously and is now, a year later, this tidy shape.

The Michelias have all been re-named Magnolias but I am not inclined to change. However you might need to look under Magnolia at plant sales places.   

Michelia “Snow Dove”

Vireya Rhododendrons

Vireya Rhododendron
Marshall Pierson Madison

I grow a lot of Vireyas. They are temperamental plants, prone to sudden death. Generally this is caused by Phytophthora soil born diseases which is helped in its destructive action by excess moisture which is a bit hard to avoid in Northland. However many varieties seem to be much less susceptible than others and I have many growing well and flowering brilliantly. Here is “Marshal Pierce Madison”, grown from cutting, flowering for the first time – you can see two more fat buds ready to take the place of this huge scented flower when it falls. It makes persevering with these tricky plants worthwhile.

French Vanilla

Although I do feel very sad when I see this good sized “French Vanilla” dying. As soon as the leaves start drooping slightly you know there is no going back. This plant has flowered several times in the last three years and has made considerable growth – how dare it die! Covered in buds too!

Spraying with Foscheck is said to help stop the spread of phytophthora root rots. Perhaps I left my spraying a little late this autumn.

Justicia aurea

Justicia aurea
Justicia aurea

Also known as Yellow Jacobinia, this plant shines a golden glow in the late autumn early winter. Grows in sun or shade and unless cut back can reach up to 2-3 meters but becomes straggly and untidy unless growing through other plants. Given a hard cut back after flowering the foliage on the regrowth remains attractive all year. Easily propagated from cuttings or rooted off shoots.

These young plants are probably not doing as well as they should—too wet perhaps.

Yellow
Justicia aurea

Gordonia

Gordonia yunnanensis
Gordonia yunnanensis

Gordonia yunnanensis is a fabulous shrub/small tree. It has a huge number of very large white, camellia-like flowers over a long time from now on through winter. You can see from the number of buds how floriferous it is. The foliage is slightly bluey and stands up to wind well. It would make a very good informal hedge as it grows quite upright and remains well clothed right to the ground. It is much more manageable than its fellow species, Gordonia lasianthus which grows into a large spreading tree also covered in smaller white flowers for a long period. 

Gordonia yunnanensis
Gordonia yunnanensis