Seeing as it’s Queens Birthday Weekend, seems only right and fitting to dish out a few awards in the garden, on behalf of her majesty of course…
- A Knighthood to: Sir Kowhai (Sophora). You have to love a tree that smothers itself in gorgeous gold flowers, and there’s one for every part of NZ - in fact it’s our national flower. Flowers in August and September and is a sign that spring is coming, losing its leaves right before flowering. Kowhai fix nitrogen in the soil creating their own fertiliser. They’re tough, drought tolerant and there’s one to suit any size garden, even dwarf ones (Sophora prostrata).
- A Knighthood for Gallantry and Bravery - the Pohutukawa, Metrosideros excelsa. Any tree that can cling tenaciously to cliff faces and rocky outcrops and not only survive but grow really big, deserves a knighthood! If it dies back it has the ability to resprout, and has some amazing adaptations to help it survive. If you’d love to grow one in the garden choose one of the smaller growing cultivars like Metrosideros ‘Maori Princess’ or ‘Vibrance’. It deserves a medal as it faces off against its worst adversary yet – Myrtle rust.
- A Queens Service Order – the silver fern, Cyathea dealbata. Easy to grow, tolerates drier conditions than most ferns. Grows in sun or light shade. Also Astelia banksii and Astelia ‘Silver Spear’. Tough and shiny silver!
- The NZ Order of Merit - Cordyline australis, ti kouka, the Cabbage tree. Literally grows from Cape Reinga to the bluff. You’ll find in rich soils, damp soils, wet areas, open hilly dry sites, poor soils.... everywhere. Even jammed in your lawnmower blades (nobody’s perfect!)
- For services to Gardens in NZ and around the world: Nikau – NZ’s well behaved native palm. The Chatham Island nikau is a good form. Macropiper Melchior – Three Kings kawakawa with glossy heart shaped leaves, lovely in a subtropical garden. Hebes – because they play so nicely with others, suiting lots of different garden styles. Poor Knights lily (Xeronema callistemon) with giant red toothbush flowers, thriving on neglect. We breed ‘em tough!