New Zealand Flaxes
Red Flax Stripes
New Zealand flaxes come in all shapes and sizes, with subtle coloured striped leaves. The Moosey garden is full to overflowing with different hybrids - and some of the large species as well. This is a flax festival garden!
In the middle of the summer garden I take my flaxes totally for granted. They are in the background - strappy foliage to fill the space between roses, their natural colours ready to offset the brilliance of summer flowering perennials. They're often too subtle to notice.
In summer I am always making vicious plans to remove some which have grown too big, and I am forever complaining about others reverting to the dull olive green colour of the species. But it's another story in the middle of winter, when garden colour is limited and days are short and cold. This is the time when my hybrid flaxes shine. Their stripes amaze me. Too many flaxes? Bah! No way!
Alas I am not a flax-name expert. Most of my plants are from bargain bins, with no labels. I suspect I have a tribe of Maori Chiefs, Princesses, and/or Maidens - and a few Rainbow Sunsets for them to enjoy.
Several years ago I collected enough little Yellow Wave flaxes from the local nursery's sale table to fill the Pacific Ocean. Now I have mature Yellow Waves in every possible corner of the garden, all thankful for their rescue. They are big and droopy, with clear mid-green and warm yellow stripes.
Flaxes in the Willow Tree Garden
I know I have some Cream Delights (they sound edible) - every winter they catch my colour-starved eye and are duly photographed. Tones of sage green and cream - what stylish stripes these flaxes have! And I love my darker red toned flaxes, particularly in mid-winter when everything else looks so dull. My weeping red flaxes in the house gardens have never put a flax-foot wrong!
Cream and Pink Stripes - Close-Up
New Hybrid Flaxes
New hybrid flaxes are released in New Zealand every year - in a rather random fashion I try and keep up. I have several Jesters (flesh pink and avocado green - yum!), and a stiff leaved tall flax called Merlot which hopefully will stay like the wine - dark maroony-red - since I paid rather a lot of money by New Zealand standards for it!
Rusty and the Water-Side Flaxes
Many of my flaxes grow near the water. Their forms vary from the big weeping purple (planted by me in the Dog-Path Garden) - whose leaves dance on the surface of the water race - to the stiff olive drabs further along past Middle Bridge. These originals must be at least two meters tall. They are majestic giants of the species Phormium Tenax, and they look like they've been here since the early settlers.
Cream and Pink Toned Flaxes
The house patio has a pair of cream and pink flaxes which look amazing in winter. This is one of the Moosey designer success stories. The patio tiles have the same tones, and together with the rich green lawns a beautiful, harmonious, warm, winter colour picture is made. And photographed, often, particularly in winter...
Selection of Coloured Striped Phormiums
Striped patterns in flax leaves are tremendously varied - even on the same plant. No two leaves on the same bush are the same. Some patterns are intricate, with many threads of different colours - others are completely bi-coloured, exactly half and half.
A Pair of Flaxes in the Dog-Path Garden
I hope you'll enjoy seeing some of these my latest stripy flax photographs. They bring some mid-winter magic into the Moosey garden.