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Nikau Hill Nursery Newsletter May 1 2008

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Winter wonders See www.nikauhill.co.nz

Winter wonders See www.nikauhill.co.nz

I love winter time because once you’ve done the big cleanup the garden looks so tidy and the evergreen plants come into their own. You can see the structure of your patch of paradise. The charm of falling autumn leaves does make for some raking but the joy of the colour is worth it. I like the liquidambers at the moment and our golden weeping willows are dripping with yellow foliage. The scarlet oaks are really beautiful and have a red sheen at the moment. The magnolias have silvery buds ready for spring.

There are plenty of evergreen shrubs with bright red foliage. One of my favourites is Pieris ‘Lord Wakehurst’. The new growth is brilliant. The camellias have great colour in their new growth but ‘Night Rider’ has shiny, dark, red, new tips. Everyone loves the new growth on photinia Red Robin. Trachelospermum jasminoides, the fragrant star jasmine shrub or climber has evergreen, foliage that deepens to red tones in the winter. It has white star flowers all summer. I like to use the evergreen burgundy foliage of the Heuchera family to make a massed groundcover in winter and Ligularia reniformis ‘Martian Invader’ is a mass of wavy edged grey-green foliage in the coldest places. Ligularia ‘Spotted Leopard’ has green foliage splashed with yellow. It is odd but interesting. It has another family member called dentata with round, deep burgundy leaves. This one is winter dormant but well worth growing.

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<<From other column

This is when evergreen natives keep on going. They form strong structural plantings and encourage the birds. We are having a windless season but the shelter our natives bring is precious in the bad times. I like the coprosmas especially the tangled twiggy stems of virescens as it colours up to orange. This picks up the burnished tones of autumn colours of gossamer grass and the fantastic bronze toned, landscaping plant Libertia ‘Taupo Sunset’. I like to contrast this with black and silver foliage and fresh greens such as Hebe ‘Wiri Mist’, Pitto ‘Mountain Green’ or the little round buns of Pitto ‘Golfball’.

I like helleborus in the early winter garden. We have cut the big leaves off our orientalis or winter rose hybrids as the flowers are all budding up will brighten up our whole garden. The nursery plants are starting to flower. We leave the foliage on the spectacular corsicus and sterni types that flower in later winter, spring and early summer. Corsicus has lovely lime green, cupped flowers and serrated foliage forming 60cm to 80cm high x 60cm wide plants. The pretty primroses are also showing signs of flowering soon.

I am not sure if Derek enjoys the early winter garden as much as me. The pressure has been on this year so the roses are pruned early and the place looks extra tidy. The staff have been amazing and have stuck with me through a wonky period as I am going to have my left hip replaced tomorrow. Life will be good again by early spring. Unfortunately, every time I see Derek at the moment I hear myself saying the same familiar words, “It’s got to go”. Poor man!
Kind regards Doreen Higginson

See www.nikauhill.co.nz



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