• Preparing for a trip to New Zealand

    by  • January 3, 2011 • Summer, Take a NZ vacation, Winter

    Dunedin Botanical Garden

    Dunedin Botanical Garden

    Winter here in California is summer in New Zealand. Yes, the water circles the bathtub drain the other direction in the Southern hemisphere and from California, you lose a day going there and return three hours before you left on the trip back home!

    I’ve learned much more about New Zealand since my sister moved there 14 years ago. In a few days, I’ll be making my third trip down under.

    My sister, after moving there, began learning about the native Moari, the indigenous people, the history of New Zealand and since she enjoys gardening, about native NZ plants. She and her hubbie are wonderful hosts, always showing our family great times there, which usually include hiking through the rainforest areas, beach trips where the New Zealand silver ferns grow all the way down to the shore and spectacular trips to public gardens.

    Hebe, left, Flax, Mirror plant, bottom

    Hebe, left, Flax, Mirror plant, bottom

    To me, most of the names of the native plants are exotic and a mystery, so I have tried to do a little digging before I go. Here are some that we all know.

    New Zealand Tea Tree   Leptospermum
    New Zealand Flax Phormium

    and a few you may not know come from NZ:

    New Zealand Hair Sedge    Carex
    Totara, Mahogany Pine  Podocarpus
    Mirror Bush, Creeping Mirror Plant Coprosma
    Showy Hebe or Boxleaf Hebe   Hebe
    Pittosporum tenuifolium  ‘Silver Sheen’
    Cabbage Tree , or Palm Lily, Cordyline
    New Zealand Christmas Tree  Metrosideros

    A big nursery like Monrovia, which is in Southern California and also in a climate which is best for new Zealand natives, has several flaxes and other plants from New Zealand listed here.

    One you might think is from NZ, Kiwi vine, but it is actually from China!

    Rock Garden
    As a result of my last trip to NZ and a visit to the Dunedin Botanical Garden, I began a rock garden, and although it has far to go before looking like the fantastic rock garden I saw, it’s a start and gives me much pleasure. The photos below were my inspiration. Here layered among basalt rocks and decomposed granite paths were dwarf evergreens, fir, spruce and pine, and creepers and spillers, like sedum, helichrysum and Raoulia. A stunner was the Fairy Wand, Dierama pulcherrimum.

    Not all were natives here as in most botanical gardens, but since that’s what we’ll be concentrating on for my sister’s garden, I’m sure to learn some new names.

    See plants from New Zealand:

    New Zealand Garden at UC Santa Cruz
    The Gardens at Leaning Pine Arboretum Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
    Los Angeles State and County Arboretum
    Stanford University, California
    Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California
    University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley, California


    New Zealand Week posts:
    New Zealand Week- Sunday- Rarangi Beach
    NZ Week- Monday – Blenheim Wineries and Gardens
    NZ Week- Tuesday – Totaranui and Abel Tasman Nat’l Park
    Wild birds of NZ
    NZ Week- Thurday — Art and Gardens of Nelson, NZ
    NZ Week- Friday — Picton and the Marlborough Sounds
    NZ Week- Saturday — The Plants of New Zealand

    Another NZ post!
    A New Zealand inspired California rock garden


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.