Plant Guide

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Deciduous shrub


Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Crimson Queen'

Crimson Queen Japanese laceleaf maple

Deciduous shrub or dwarf tree with finely divided, palmately lobed leaves. The burgundy-red foliage turns bright scarlet in autumn. Small, reddish-purple flowers in spring. Branches are cascading, unless the plant is pruned quite hard each year. Gradually increases in height by mounding over itself. 

Prefers a sheltered position in any well-drained soil. Tolerates sun, but is happier when partially shaded, in particular in areas with hot summers. Trunk height can be influenced to a degree by selecting a strong leader when the plant is young, and staking it to the desired height.

A delightful small maple with delicate foliage that retains its gorgeous reddish-purple colour throughout the summer. An obvious choice for gardens with an oriental theme, but 'Crimson Queen' can be incorporated in many different garden styles, including tropical and cottage gardens. The weeping growth habit with branches reaching down to the ground, looks beautiful next to ponds. Suitable for containers.


Aloysia citrodora

lemon verbena, lemon beebrush, sweet-scented verbena, lemon-scented verbena, lemon tree, herb Louisa, verbena oil plant

Shrub in the Verbenaceae family, native to South America, evergreen in tropical areas, but deciduous everywhere else. Lance-shaped, mid green leaves with a somewhat rough upper surface, about 8 cm long, arranged in whorls of three. Foliage emits a strong lemon scent. Panicles with tiny white or lilac flowers in summer.

Synonyms: Aloysia citriodora, Aloysia triphylla, Lippia citr(i)odora, Lippia triphylla, Verbena triphylla.

Prefers a sheltered, sunny position in free-draining soil. Is also happy in a partially shaded spot, especially in areas with hot summers. The plant tends to send out long shoots, in particular when not receiving all day sun, but it responds well to regular trimming. In the dormant season it can be pruned hard if required. Fertilise regularly during the growing season. Quite drought-tolerant once established. Caterpillars, spider mites and whiteflies like to feed on the foliage.Tolerates light to moderate frosts (zone 8). In colder climates, grow Aloysia citrodora in a pot, and overwinter indoors. It will most likely loose all leaves after the move, but this is normal. When grown outside, the leaves will drop in response to cold temperatures or stress. Avoid overwatering, in particular when the plant is dormant.

Not just a pretty plant, but very useful too. Leaves are used to make herbal teas. They can also be added to jams, puddings, fish and chicken dishes, salads, teas and other drinks to impart a lemon flavour. Essential oil extracted from the foliage is used in perfumery. Dried leaves add a lovely fresh scent to potpourries. Plant Aloysia citrodora where you can appreciate the gorgeous fragrance. You can train it to a single leader, much like a topiary subject.


Chimonanthus praecox

wintersweet, Japanese allspice

Loose vase-shaped deciduous shrub native to China. Very fragrant, waxy, cup-shaped flowers, 1.5-2.5 cm across, on previous season's bare wood during winter, pale yellow with purplish-red stain in the center on the inner petals. Opposite, lance-shaped, dark green leaves, 7-12 cm long, with rough upper surface, turning yellow in autumn. Chimonanthus praecox 'Grandiflorus' has larger deep yellow flowers to 5 cm across. Chimonanthus praecox 'Luteus' has slightly larger yellow flowers without the purplish-red stain.

Prefers a sheltered position in full sun or light shade with good drainage. Best planted against a dark background where you can enjoy the flowers and their fragrance.

Synonyms: Chimonanthus fragrans, Meratia praecox


Clerodendrum trichotomum

harlequin glorybower, glorytree, peanut butter tree

Large, evergreen shrub, native to Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and India. Can be trained to grow as a tree with a single leader. Soft, downy, ovate leaves to 12 cm long, arranged in opposite pairs, emitting a peanut butter scent when crushed. Fragrant, white, jasmine-like flowers in clusters during late summer, followed by blue fruit, each subtended by a red calyx. Regarded as an 'unwanted organism' in New Zealand, where it has become invasive and poses a threat for the native vegetation. Seeds are poisonous and the rest of the plant may irritate the skin.

Prefers a sheltered position in full sun and any well-draining soil. Copes with partial shade also.Tolerates moderate frosts (USDA zones 7-10). Generally disease-free.

Beautiful shrub when in flower, and even more attractive when in fruit. May get leggy at the base, so use underplanting to hide this. In New Zealand, you will not be able to purchase Clerodendrum trichotomum since it has become somewhat too enthusiastic! There are still quite a few growing in parks and private gardens.


Cotinus 'Grace'

smoke tree

Small deciduous, round-headed tree or large shrub with burgundy-coloured foliage and large pink 'clouds' of tiny flowers in summer. The leaves emerge wine red in spring, gradually darken during summer and finally turn scarlet red in autumn. The sap may cause skin/eye irritations.

Raised in the UK during the late 1970s, 'Grace' is a hybrid between the cultivar 'Velvet Cloak' of Cotinus coggygria (European smoke bush) and Cotinus obovatus (American smoke tree). 

Prefers a sunny position for best foliage colour. Grows in any soil-type as long as it is well-drained. Tolerates poor soil. Can withstand periods of drought once established. Vigorous when young. Responds to pruning. Frost-hardy (zones 5-10).

Beautiful plant with striking foliage colours throughout the growing season, and tiny flowers in large panicles that resemble smoke-like plumes. Use as a focal point, and repeat the foliage colour in lower-growing shrubs elsewhere in the garden.


Magnolia stellata

star magnolia

Deciduous shrub or small tree with rounded canopy, and smothered with flowers during late winter and early spring. Native to Japan. Slightly fragrant, pure white, star-shaped, 8-12 cm wide flowers with at least 12 narrow petals emerge from large, grey, hairy flowerbuds before new leaves. Flowers are occasionally flushed with pink. There are a couple of pink-flowering cultivars in existence. Young leaves are bronze green when they first appear, turning mid to dark green on maturity, and changing to yellow just before they fall in autumn. Leaves are oval to oblong, about 10 cm long and 4 cm wide.

Prefers a sheltered position in full sun or part shade in moist, but well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Tolerates lime. Frost hardy, but flowers may be damaged by late frosts. No or minimal pruning during late summer is all that is required.

Lovely magnolia suitable for flower display in the smaller garden.


Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'

Hardy, deciduous shrub or tree, growing to about 6-8 m, with fragrant flowers on bare branches. Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel' originated from a cross between Magnolia kobus and Magnolia stellata 'Rosea' in Leonard Messel's garden at Nymans estate in Sussex. Oblong to elliptic, mid-green leaves, to about 12 cm long and 5 cm wide, turning yellow and brown in autumn. Rose-pink buds open in late winter or spring to scented flowers with up to 12 narrow petals, similar to those of the star magnolia (Magnolia stellata), pink mainly on the outside and white inside, 10 cm wide. Flower colour tends to be paler when spring temperatures are low, and darker pink in warm spring weather.

Prefers a position with a cool root run, in full sun, well-drained, slightly acidic soil, and sheltered from strong winds. Flowers are more frost-hardy than those of most other magnolias. Minimal pruning required. Just remove damaged, dead or crossing branches in mid summer. Avoid root disturbance.

An elegant specimen tree, flowering profusely for about 4-5 weeks. Looks great as a feature plant with night-lighting. Plant close to an area where you can enjoy the subtle fragrance.


Rosa 'Absolutely Fabulous'

Repeat-flowering floribunda rose with glossy mid green foliage and old-fashioned, butter yellow flowers with an unusual sweet anise-licorice scent. Flowers have 30-45 petals, and are about 10 cm across. Neat, rounded growing habit and self-cleaning (petals of spent flowers drop off).

Registration name: Rosa 'WEKvossutono'. Bred by Tom Carruth (USA). Introduced in Australia as Rosa 'Soul Mate' and in the USA as Rosa 'Julia Child'. Master chef Julia Child selected this rose herself to bear her name. Known as Rosa 'Absolutely Fabulous' in the UK and New Zealand.

Prefers a sunny position in any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Good mildew and blackspot resistance. Heat tolerant. Fertilise in early spring and again in early summer. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune in winter.

Gorgeous rose for flower display, flowering prolifically throughout the season. Can be grown as a standard or a shrub in garden beds or borders, as a single specimen or en masse. Good for cutting. Suitable for containers.


Rosa 'Andrea Jane'

Hybrid tea rose, flowering in flushes throughout the season with showy, delicately perfumed flowers and dark green foliage. Large, 10-14 cm wide, double flowers with creamy white and pale yellow petals and rosy pink edges.  

Registration name: Rosa 'MACberli'. Bred by Sam McGredy (New Zealand).

Prefers a position in full sun and any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Frost-hardy, but may need some protection from spring frosts in cold climates. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune in winter.

Gorgeous full flowers with beautiful colour combinations. Good for sunny beds and borders. Excellent for cutting.


Rosa 'Class Act'

Vigorous, but well-behaved floribunda rose with dark green foliage, flowering continuously throughout the season with small clusters. Yellow buds with a hint of reddish, opening to semi-double, pale lemon yellow to white flowers, gradually revealing yellow stamens. Very faint fragrance only. Attractive hips.

Bred by William A. Marriner (USA, 1988). Registered as Rosa 'JACare'. Also traded as Rosa 'First Class' or Rosa 'White Magic'.

Prefers a sunny or lightly shaded position in any, well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring, and again in early summer. Dead-head during the season. Good disease resistance. Prune in winter or early spring. Frost-hardy; tolerates -20 deg C. 

Rosa 'Class Act' is a very classy rose with strong, straight stems and beautiful, long-pointed buds with delicate colour combinations of yellow and a little bit of red. Initially the flowers themselves are white with a pale yellow sheen, maturing to white and opening to show the yellow stamens.  Good all-round performer in groups or as a single specimen in beds, borders, or containers. Suitable for cutting. 


Rosa 'Dark Moments'

Vigorous floribunda rose with glossy dark green foliage and russet brown flowers with a clove-like fragrance. Flowers are medium-sized, and are produced throughout the season in both small and large clusters. May produce long stems in autumn, reducing flower production later in the season.

Registration name: Rosa 'Simdamo'. Bred by Nola Simpson (New Zealand) from a cross between Rosa 'Mary Sumner' and Rosa 'Kirsty Jayne'.

Prefers a sunny position in any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring and again in early summer. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune in winter. Good disease resistance, but may get some powdery mildew. Grows wider than many other roses, so needs to be given sufficient space.

Who wouldn't like a rose with flowers in the colour of dark chocolate! The flowers hold their unusual colour well (unlike some other brown roses). Good for cutting. 


Rosa 'Dear One'

Floribunda rose, free-flowering in flushes throughout the season with soft pink flowers, fading to white. Flowers have a mild fragrance.

Registration name: Rosa 'CAMalpha'.  Cross between Rosa 'Sexy Rexy' and Rosa 'Valentine Heart'. Bred by David Benny (New Zealand).

Prefers a sunny position in any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. May be somewhat slow in getting established. Fertilise in early spring and again in early summer. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune in winter.

Very pretty rose with exquisitely shaped flowers. Lovely shrub for flower display in garden beds and borders.


Rosa 'Easy Going'

Repeat-flowering floribunda rose with a rounded habit, lightly perfumed flowers and glossy bright green foliage. Flowers with about 25-30 wavy, apricot-coloured petals, 10 cm wide. Grows on its own root system.

Registration name: Rosa 'HARflow'. Developed by Harkness (UK) from a sport of Rosa 'Fellowship' (=Rosa 'Livin' Easy'), and is very similar in every way except for the flower colour.

Prefers a position in full sun and any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring and again in early summer. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune in winter. Good disease resistance.

Combines beautifully with blue or mauve flowering plants such as delphiniums, lavenders and catnip. Great in groups or as a single specimen for flower display in borders. Excellent for cutting. Suitable for containers. Can be grown as a standard.


Rosa 'Fellowship'

Repeat-flowering floribunda rose with glossy mid to dark green foliage and scented flowers. Bright, dark orange flower buds open to two-toned, 9 cm wide flowers with ruffled petals, apricot orange with yellow towards the center. Flowers are solitary or produced in clusters. Moderate citrus fragrance. Grows on its own root system.  

Registration name: Rosa 'HARwelcome', bred by Harkness (UK). Rosa 'Fellowship' was named for the Rotary movement in the UK, but was introduced as Rosa 'Livin' Easy' in the USA.

Prefers a position in full sun and any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring and again in early summer. Good disease resistance, including black spot. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune to about 1/3 height in early winter.

Free-flowering rose with gorgeous colour combinations of perfectly formed dark orange buds with lighter orange and yellow mature flowers. Suitable for flower display in beds, borders or containers. Great for cutting.


Rosa 'Flower Carpet Pink'

Bushy rose with wide-spreading, arching branches. Carmine pink, semi-double flowers, 3-4 cm wide, in large clusters throughout the season. Glossy mid to dark green foliage.

Bred by Werner Noack (Germany). Registered as Rosa 'NOAtraum'. Commercially available as Rosa 'Flower Carpet Pink', 'Blooming Carpet', 'Emera', 'Emera Pavement', 'Foral Carpet, and 'Heidetraum'.

Suitable for a sunny or partially shaded position in any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring, and again in early summer. Excellent disease resistance. Remove spent flower clusters to promote subsequent flower production, or leave on the shrub to eventually reveal small, dark orange hips. Prune during winter. 

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Pink' is an easy care rose, covered with masses of brilliant pink flowers from late spring to late autumn. Unfortunately the flowers are not fragrant. No particular skill is required to grow and care for this top performer. To prune; simply reduce the height of the shrub to about 1/3 of its height. Although this rose is generally marketed as a ground-cover shrub, remember that it can grow to about 0.5-1 m in one season. The rose in the photos grows in a position that only receives late afternoon sunlight in summer, and none for the rest of the year.