Plant Guide

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Dry

pseudopanax-linearifolius

Pseudopanax 'Linearifolius'

Erect growing evergreen New Zealand native shrub, probably a hybrid of Pseudopanax crassifolius and Pseudopanax lessonii. Leathery leaves with three to five (3-5 foliolate) long, narrow leaflets with serrated margins. Leaves may become 3-foliolate or even simple (i.e. a single leaf per node) as the plant matures.

Requires well-draining soil and is not tolerant of damp soil conditions. Grows well in any light situation from shade to full sun. Tolerates light to moderate frosts, coastal conditions, dry shade, and exposed sites.

Ideal tub plant. Great as a backdrop for smaller plants and useful as a contrast plant in particular when combined with large-leafed shrubs such as Griselinia lucida or Meryta sinclairii.

rhaphiolepis-indica-enchantress

Rhaphiolepis indica 'Enchantress'

pink Indian hawthorn

One of the cultivars of Rhaphiolepis indica, the Indian hawthorn, a tough evergreen shrub from to southern China. 'Enchantress' is also known as 'Pinkie'. Thick, leathery, oblong leaves with toothed margins, dark green above, olive green beneath, developing a bronze tinge later in winter. Star-shaped, 5-petalled, pink with white flowers, 2-3 cm across, in clusters at the ends of branches, mainly during spring. Flowers are followed by small dark blue berries. Most named cultivars of Rhaphiolepis indica are smaller-growing than the species itself which usually reaches a height of about 2.5 m, but can grow even taller in suitable growing conditions.

Prefers a position in full sun and well-draining soil. In extremely hot climates, a partially shaded position is better. Tolerates coastal conditions, wind exposure, and relatively dry soils once established. Trim once a year after flowering to keep compact. Withstands hard pruning. Resents root disturbance.  Moderate frosts to about -10 deg C.  

Great choice for a coastal hedge. Also suitable as a filler, clipped specimen, container plant, or a shrub for flower display after the winter-flowering plants have stopped flowering, and just before the roses begin to flower.  

 

salvia-officinalis-purpurascens

Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens'

purple sage

A form of the common sage with purple young foliage that mature to grey green. The oblong to ovate, paired leaves are 5-8 cm long and have a puckered surface. Mauve flowers arranged in spikes, appear in spring or early summer.

Synonym: Salvia officinalis 'Purpurea'

Prefers a sunny position in light, well-draining soil. Disikes wet feet. Drought tolerant once established. Trim after flowering to keep compact. Becomes woody eventually, but can easily be propagated from cuttings or by layering. Tolerates moderate frosts to about -10 degrees Celsius. Suitable for coastal gardens.

Purple sage looks stunning in combination with the silvery-grey curry plant (Helichrysum italicum) as in the photograph. It also combines beautifully with golden oregano or thyme. The leaves can be used fresh or dried in herb butters, herb teas, soups, stews, or stuffings. Purple sage also has many medicinal uses.

salvia-uliginosa

Salvia uliginosa

bog sage

Fast growing, herbaceous, evergreen perennial, native to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Four-ribbed stems with somewhat sticky, lanceolate, toothed leaves. Azure blue with white, two-lipped flowers, 2 cm long, in whorls arranged in spikes, during summer and autumn.

Prefers a sunny or partially shaded position in any type of soil. Really likes moist soils, but tolerates, and usually spreads less vigorously in, dry conditions. Generally disease-free. Cut back to near ground level after flowering. Spreads by means of underground runners. Keep an eye on these and remove them where they are not wanted. Tolerates moderate frosts. Frost-hardy throughout New Zealand.

Reaches a height of about 1.8 m in one growing season, so plant in the back of borders for a gorgeous, long-lasting display of blue. Attracts butterflies.

scilla-peruviana

Scilla peruviana

giant scilla, Peruvian lily, Cubian lily, Carribean lily, Portuguese squill, hyacinth of Peru, star of Peru

Bulbous plant with basal, linear leaves (20-60cm long and 2-4cm wide) flowering during spring with starry blue, 1.5 cm wide flowers arranged in dense racemes. Foliage dies down after flowering and a brief dormant period follows in summer. Is naturalised and regarded as a weed in some parts of Australia.

Although 'peruviana' means 'from Peru', Scilla peruviana originates from South-West Europe to North-West Africa. Bulbs collected in 17th century Spain were shipped to England on a ship named 'Peru'. Carolus Clusius named the plant Hyacynthus stellatus peruanus, thinking that it came from Peru. Linnaeus continued the confusion by renaming the plant Scilla peruviana.

Scilla peruviana is still the most widely used name, but this species has been renamed Oncostema peruviana.

Prefers a sunny or lightly shaded spot in well-draining soil. Drought tolerant once established. Best planted during the dormant period in summer with the neck of the bulb just above soil level. Can be lifted, divided, and replanted, but may not produce flowers until after a year or two. Suitable for coastal gardens. Tolerates moderate frosts (zones 8-10).

Stunning spring colour. In areas where heavy frosts occur, Scilla peruviana can be grown in containers and placed outside once the spring frosts are over.

Stachys byzantina

Stachys byzantina

lambs' ears

Ground-covering plant with soft grey-green leaves. Stems and foliage are covered with silvery white down. Upright stems with tiny pale mauve flowers arranged in otherwise grey spikes.

Tagetes-lemmonii

Tagetes lemmonii

Mexican marigold, mountain marigold, perennial marigold, Copper Canyon daisy

Evergreen plant in the daisy family with finely divided, pinnately compound foliage and orange-yellow flowers during most of the year, but in particular during autumn and winter. The leaves have a strong fragrance, somewhat like the scent of passionfruit (according to some the foliage smells like a combination of marigold, lemon, and mint). Oils in the plant may cause skin irritation in some people. Attracts bees and butterflies.

Discovered in Arizona by plant collectors John and Sara Lemmon in the late 1800s. Its natural habitat stretches south from Arizona down to norther Mexico. 

Tagetes lemmonii does best in a sunny position in well-draining soil. Becomes leggy when it doesn't receive enough sunlight. In very hot climates, a partially shaded position is best. Drought-tolerant, but prefers some regular irrigation. Avoid over-watering. Easy to propagate from cuttings, and can also be divided or propagated from seed. Tolerates moderate frosts (zones 8-11). Although some frost damage may occur in zone 8, the plant will bounce back in spring. Trim once a year to keep the plant compact.

Tagetes lemmonii is supposed to flower in response to short days, but in my garden it has been in flower since it was large enough in spring and now, mid-summer, it is still covered with flowers. Each time I photograph this plant I am disappointed to find that the flower colour in the photo appears more yellow than orange, whereas in reality the flowers look more orange than yellow to me. The plant has a lovely, somewhat whimsical appearance.

teucrium-fruticans

Teucrium fruticans

shrubby germander, bush germander

Evergreen shrub with grey-green foliage, pale lilac-blue flowers, and a somwhat angular branching pattern. Native to Spain, Portugal, Italy and north Africa. Stems and undersides of leaves are covered with tiny white hairs giving the plant a silvery-grey overall appearance. Leaves are ovate to lance-shaped, 2-3 cm long. The pale lilac-blue flowers are two-lipped, and 2.5 cm long.

Prefers a sunny position in well-drained soil. Tolerates poor soils, dry conditions, and moderate frosts. Suitable for coastal plantings. Prune to keep compact or to create a specific shape.

Mainly grown for its attractive silvery colour. If you are particularly interested in a good display of flowers then the cultivar 'Azureum' with a much stronger colour contrast between flowers and foliage is a better choice. This cultivar combines well with other blue-flowering shrubs. The flowers of Teucrium fruticans itself fit in better with purple colour schemes.

teucrium-fruticans-azureum

Teucrium fruticans 'Azureum'

Evergreen shrub with grey-green foliage and blue flowers. Stems and undersides of leaves are covered with dense white hairs, giving the plant a silvery grey overall appearance. Leaves are ovate to lance-shaped, 2-3 cm long. Azure blue, two-lipped flowers, 2.5 cm long, mainly during summer. Teucrium fruticans (shrubby germander, bush germander) itself is native to Spain, Portugal, Italy and North Africa, and has pale lilac flowers.

Prefers a sunny position in well-drained soil. Tolerates poor soils, dry conditions and medium frosts. Suitable for coastal plantings. 

Mainly grown for its attractive silvery colour, which forms a beautiful contrast with the deep blue flowers. Can be pruned to any shape. A regular prune is a good idea since otherwise growth is somewhat lax, and its young foliage looks better than the older leaves.

 

thymus-pulegioides-bertram-anderson

Thymus pulegioides 'Bertram Anderson'

creeping thyme

Spreading, low mound-forming thyme with aromatic, light green to golden green leaves. Small clusters of lilac flowers in summer, but not as free-flowering as some of the other thymes.

Sometimes sold as Thymus x citriodorus 'Bertram Anderson' or Thymus x citriodorus 'Anderson's Gold'.

Prefers a sunny position in well-draining soil. Well suited to areas with dry, sandy soils. Water regularly until established. Tolerates occasional foot traffic. Frost hardy (zones 4-9). Suitable for coastal gardens.

Gives a lovely, mild thyme flavour in cooking. The foliage is attractive all year round, and appears lime green from a distance. Combines beautifully with purple sage or other purple-leafed plants.

trachelium-caeruleum

Trachelium caeruleum

thoatwort, blue throatwort

Herbaceous perennial originating from the Mediterranean region with toothed, oval leaves, and small purple, slightly scented flowers in domed clusters (8-15 cm wide) during summer. The common name alludes to the fact that the plant was thought to have medicinal powers and used as a gargle for sore throats.

Prefers a sunny position in any well-draining, fertile soil. Although Trachelium caeruleum prefers an average supply of moisture, it can handle quite dry conditions. Cut back after flowering. Self-seeds readily and flowers in its first year from seed. Usually pest and disease free. Lasts for about 2 weeks as a cut flower. Flowers are ready for picking when 1/4 to 1/3 of the florets are open. Tolerates light-medium frosts (to about -7 deg Celsius, zones 9-11). Often grown as an annual in colder climates. Suitable for coastal gardens.

In the photo Trachelium caeruleum is growing in a pot together with Agapanthus, resulting in a beautiful colour combination when both are flowering at the same time. Trachelium is also suitable for the flower border, and looks great in combination with either yellow (e.g. dahlias and yarrow) or red flowering plants (e.g. Rosa 'Flowercarpet red'). Great for bees and butterflies!

trachelospermum-jasminoides

Trachelospermum jasminoides

star jasmine, confederate jasmine, trader's compass

Evergreen, self-twining climber, native to eastern and southeastern Asia. Oval to lanceolate, glossy dark green leaves, 4-10 cm long, 2-4 cm wide, arranged in pairs. Some of the leaves turn bronze or dark to bright red in winter.  Flowering during late spring and summer with clusters of very fragrant, white, pinwheel-shaped flowers to 2 cm across.

Synonym: Rynchospermum jasminoides.

Plant in any well-drained soil. Flowers best in full sun, but copes well with partial or even deep shade.Tolerates relatively dry conditions once established. Suitable for exposed, coastal areas. Generally free from serious pests and diseases.Tolerates moderate frosts to about -120C. 

Versatile plant with intensely perfumed flowers that smother the plant from late spring. Climbs happily against support structures, and can be espaliered. Will not cling to masonry walls. Suitable as a ground cover, but may need regular pruning to maintain a tidy look. Also when growing Trachelospermum jasminoides as a climber, a yearly prune is recommended to keep the plant bushy. Also suitable as an indoor plant.