There are so many good reasons to plant a New Zealand native as gardeners all over the world have discovered. During a recent trip to Europe I swear I saw a Cabbage Tree (Corydline) in every back yard I peeked into! Here at home, planting a NZ Native is really an act of conservation as it ensures the continuation of native plant species. Along with that there is the added bonus of attracting native birds to your garden and beneficial native insects. However before we get too "Green" and serious lets just apreciate the wonderful layers of colour, texture and distinctive form that NZ Natives offer the gardener.
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What could be more architectural than a Cabbage Tree? Perhaps the only competitor would be our NZ Flaxes (Phormiums) which are available in small, medium and large with a wide colour palette. These cannot be beaten for toughness and adaptability and are simply fabulous planted en masse. Can you imagine New Zealand without Kowhai trees (Sophora) driping with bright yellow bells in summer and being squabbled over by noisy Tui's? Did you know that some Kowhai plants only reach 1m and are therefore ideal for smaller gardens or container growing? And what about our own unique Christmas Tree, the Pohutakawa (Metrosideros) which is so easy and rewarding to grow in frost free areas.
You won't get a better ground cover for difficult sites than our native Coprosma varieties. Then there are native "grasses" for mass planting and Hebes for adding year round colour. Corokias and Pittosporums for hedging, windbreaks, or no nonsense background foliage fillers. Did you know that the shy Pittosporum flowers have an exquisite perfume? Pseudopanax offer unique foliage form and colour and are ideal for adding height. In garden design our native plants can stand alone or combine superbly with exotic imports to provide a rich tapestry.
For best results plant Native plants in early spring in a well considered position as, just like us, they resent being moved unnecessarily. Other than that most natives are extremely easy and rewarding to grow.
The striking foliage starts out chartreuse and then shades to golden yellow through the summer. Great for brightening up shady spots, or for adding a pop of colour to a mixed container. This easy care evergreen grass can be used as a groundcover, to edge a path or patio, or tucked into a living wall or window box. Perennial
Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 60cm
Native. A tough, hardy shrub discovered by the late Mike Geenty in the Waikato. A top plant for hedging or background planting. Attractive olive-green leaves, small yellow flowers in spring followed by red berries that birds love. Tolerates regular trimming. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.5m
This NZ native can reach over 60m when fully mature but that takes quite some time, our height is for 10 year growth. Juvenile trees have fine drooping bronze 'needles' which eventually change to a green, more a flattened leaf. Produces berries which are loved by birds. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 7m x 4m
Phormium cookianum Purpurea is a smaller red foliage variety of mountain flax. Gracefully drooping long bronze leaves and in spring long flower spikes, loved by native birds. This all purpose plant adds colour and texture to your garden. Thrives in wet or dry soils and tolerates sunny, shady and exposed areas. Evergreen
Colour: Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
NZ Native. A particularly nice form of Pittosporum with fresh green glossy foliage that always looks good. Perfect plant for screens and hedging as it responds well to clipping. Happiest in sun or part shade and likes well drained fertile soil however is tolerant of less than ideal conditions. Hardy and evergreen.
Pittosporums bloom in spring with inconspicuous dark purple-brown flowers that will only come to your attention when you notice their strong fragrance on the evening air.
Colour: Brown / Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2m
A very attractive form of our NZ Pittosporum that forms a neat, evergreen tree ideal for screening or hedging. Glossy, wavy leaves of mid grey-green on stems that have a bluish hue. Easy and quick growing, trims well. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 5m x 3m