New Zealand Native Plants

 Chinocloa and tussocks.
New Zealand Grasses

In presenting my list of favourite New Zealand Native Plants I realise I take these natives totally for granted. For example, I don't know the names of my Hebes - and what about the different types of tussocks I use in the borders? Oops.

New Zealand natives have such a variety of foliage and texture, and most (if not all) are evergreen. I often see pictures of my cherished New Zealand plants in British magazines and feel quite superior. These are MY PLANTS!!!

I also feel smug when I read the prices of the hybrid Phormiums in British nurseries. These are my bargain bin heroes, my absolute favourites. I hope you'll enjoy my list of New Zealand Native Plants. Please accept my apologies for sometimes not knowing or using the correct botanical names.

Lemonwood - Pittosporum EugenoidesLemonwood - Pittosporum Eugenoides...
A much loved and admired New Zealand evergreen native is the small shrubby tree called a Lemonwood, or Pittosporum Eugenoides. The leaves are a shiny green and smell faintly lemony, hence its common name.
AciphyllaAciphylla...
The Aciphylla shrub in my garden is not the prickly variety. New Zealand Natives are not necessarily spiky and prickly - some of us are soft and rounded, and really friendly...
CorokiasCorokias...
If I was a modest New Zealand evergreen shrub, for example a Corokia, and my Head Gardener called me 'hard-working', I'd be furious! Surely there are more eloquent adjectives to better describe my many, varied attributes...
Variegated Cordyline AlbertiiVariegated Cordyline Albertii...
My garden is full of Cordylines. Many start their Moosey lives as spiky spikes in pots, particularly any have the audacity to be the tiniest bit expensive - like Cordyline Albertii, the super-stylish variegated model.
Using Phormiums in the GardenUsing Phormiums in the Garden...
I'm an expert on using Phormiums in the garden. I grow so many varieties, and love squashing them in with the roses and perennials, or at corners of borders, without any thought as to their spread of height. One should always grow what one loves...
OleariaOlearia...
Olearia is a New Zealand evergreen native plant used very successfully for medium sized hedges. The leaves are a clean avocado green, and the shrubs are easy to keep trimmed to size.
Flax (Phormium) Cream DelightFlax (Phormium) Cream Delight...
There are now many different flax (Phormium) hybrids which are available in nurseries and garden centres. A particularly beautiful variety is named Cream Delight. In New Zealand flaxes are very well priced - so I can justify having more than one!
Cloud Farm - a New Zealand GardenCloud Farm - a New Zealand Garden...
A gardener I visited recently has deliberately decided to plant only native New Zealand plants. She's an environmentalist, looking after the regeneration of native bush-forest. Her property is called 'Cloud Farm'.
AsteliasAstelias...
Astelias are spiky aristocrats of the New Zealand native plant scene - whether in the ornamental garden, in pots, or in their natural bush surroundings. I love them.
Carex trifidaCarex trifida...
Hee hee - a lovely ornamental grass called Carex trifida, with the scariest seed heads, is destined for higher honours in my garden. I just hope I haven't introduced a variegated monster...
Green CordylinesGreen Cordylines...
Green Cordylines (or cabbage trees) are THE plant which evokes instant homesickness in New Zealanders overseas, whenever they spy one in someone's garden. The connection with cabbages is a little odd, though...
Senecio - Daisy BushSenecio - Daisy Bush...
Senecio is a New Zealand shrub with a heart of gold, and it flowers energetically in mid-summer. I love those yellow daisies - and so do my bees!
Hybrid CoprosmasHybrid Coprosmas...
Coprosmas used to be considered boring evergreens with their small, shiny, plain green leaves. There have recently been some new hybrid varieties released with leaves of various colour combinations - much more colourful!
PseudopanaxPseudopanax...
Pseudopanax are evergreen shrubs or trees which grow in the New Zealand native bush and forests, and, of course, in the Moosey garden. A Pseudopanax tree can be transformed in a flash (with a little help from saw, loppers, and secateurs) into a luxuriant shrub.
Striped Flax (Phormium) LeavesStriped Flax (Phormium) Leaves...
Phormium leaves often have the most beautiful stripes, and on one flax bush there can be many different leaf designs. Different colour patterns and subtle colour shades all contribute to the beauty of the whole.
Beverly Hills HebeBeverly Hills Hebe...
Hebes bred in New Zealand normally have sturdy, no-nonsense names like Southern Snow, or Maori names like Wiri Dawn. Imagine my surprise when I found a clutch of Hebes on the nursery sale table called - wait for it - Beverly Hills.
Toetoe - CortaderiaToetoe - Cortaderia...
High on the list of New Zealand native plants which are taken for granted are the Toetoes (Cortaderias), the New Zealand pampas grasses. They are often banished to country fence lines, well away from a fussy gardener's critical eyes.
Flowering Kowhai TreeFlowering Kowhai Tree...
The yellow flowering Kowhai is a small New Zealand tree whose flowers enjoys iconic status. Each island (north and south) has its own dominant type, but there are also many hybrids in the wild and in gardens. This tree is a sociable separatist!
Flax FiascoFlax Fiasco...
Aargh! My love affair with New Zealand flaxes is officially over. We've broken up - well, some of the big Phormium Tenaxes have been, literally, with the axe, shovel and a sharp kitchen knife.
Cordyline and Phormium FlowersCordyline and Phormium Flowers...
Many of New Zealand's much loved landscaping plants are spiky. The big stiff flaxes, Phormium tenax, are a natural feature of much of our land, as are the iconic Cabbage trees, or Cordylines. These plants start coming into flower in early summer...
Bronze Flax (Phormium)Bronze Flax (Phormium)...
I love the large weeping flaxes (Phormiums) with fat, dark leaves in shades of brown and bronze. They grow head high and clump out two metres wide, with thick gently arching leaves. Such super-sized plants need to be respected, and planted in sensible locations. Oops...
Flowering HebesFlowering Hebes...
I am trying to remember to get more in touch with the New Zealand native Hebes planted in my garden. The first step is to photograph them all and note their flowering times (and colours). The second step should be to find out their names!
Red and Green CordylineRed and Green Cordyline...
Often my new coloured Cordylines start life in pots, then go into the garden when their trunks start to lengthen. This is a striped variety which I ordered from a mail order catalogue - sorry, name forgotten, label lost.
Jester Flax (Phormium)Jester Flax (Phormium)...
New coloured flax (Phormium) hybrids are released in New Zealand every year. The latest pink toned one is called Jester, and I have two growing in different parts of my garden.
The Story of the Little Red FlaxThe Story of the Little Red Flax...
In all my early garden borders there would be at least one little red flax, or Phormium hybrid. They would brighten up the winter days, and were supposed to stay neat and beautiful throughout the other seasons. This meant that they were supposed to stay red, and stay little.
Renga Renga - ArthropoduimRenga Renga - Arthropoduim...
Renga Renga is the New Zealand Maori name for Arthropoduim cirratum - one of the best landscaping native plants I have ever grown in my garden. Some local gardeners use the name Rock-Lily.
Libertia Perigrinans Libertia Perigrinans ...
Libertia is often used in council landscaping with other New Zealand native plants. It has strong and striking spiky growth, with a strong burnt-orange stripe on olive green leaves.
Variegated HebesVariegated Hebes...
Variegated Hebes are grown a lot in my garden. The variegated foliage always works well in planting combinations, looking clean and tidy in all seasons. Purple flowers appear in summer, and I love them almost as much as my bumble bees do.
Chatham Island Forget-Me-NotsChatham Island Forget-Me-Nots...
In the Apple Tree Border there are some beautifully majestic Chatham Island Forget-me-nots (Myosotidium Hortensia). They arrived as small seedling plants, all blue flowering, and were planted here when this border was well shaded in summer.
New Zealand Myrtle - LophomyrtusNew Zealand Myrtle - Lophomyrtus...
I have to use the words subtle and stylish to describe the New Zealand native myrtle, Lophomyrtus. It's a small shrub with the most beautiful variegated leaf markings, hardy and easily kept in shape in the mixed garden border.
Cream & Green CoprosmaCream & Green Coprosma...
This variegated Coprosma is living for now in a pot, sheltered from the winter frosts. I also have several larger shrubs growing in the Wattle Woods.
Flax (Phormium) Yellow WaveFlax (Phormium) Yellow Wave...
Yellow Wave is one of the cheeriest New Zealand flax (Phormium) hybrids. It is reasonably large and bulky, and has a weeping form. In some photographs it looks more like a Green Wave - the leaves are much more yellow in summer.
Hebe GeometryHebe Geometry...
I love the geometric symmetry of this small-leafed blue-green hebe. The leaves are like a series of reflections coming up the stem. They are a subtle colour, and the shrub has small white flowers.
Hebes and BeesHebes and Bees...
When Hebes turned up in my local bargain bin I am always tempted. I'll often buy them all, and then find spaces in the garden. Hebes trim easily, make great little hedges, and look beautiful when in flower. And the bees in my garden love them!
CarexCarex...
Anyone who has travelled in New Zealand has experienced the beauty of the tussock grasses, or Carexes, blowing around in the wind. Some hug the ground, some are taller and stiffer, and their colours glow in the sun. Actually, Carexes are grass-like plants, properly called 'sedges'.
Cortaderia - Pampas GrassCortaderia - Pampas Grass...
Pampas grass (Cortaderia) is an iconic grassy feature of the New Zealand landscape. It can be rather too bulky for a small border, and its leaves have cutting edges, but the flowering plumes are magnificent. Gardeners, beware! There is a beautiful, even bulkier Argentinean imposter...
Red Flax (Phormium)Red Flax (Phormium)...
There are many beautiful small coloured hybrid flaxes (Phormiums) with red-toned leaves and a variety of different New Zealand names to confuse the gardener - Maori Maiden, Maori Chief, and so on. My favourites are fountain-shaped and grow neatly, never getting too large. Names? Unknown, sorry.
Pepper TreePepper Tree...
The native New Zealand Pepper Tree is a small shrub with red blotches on its leaves. Some are green and some are more a buff or beige colour, depending on how much sun the shrub gets.
Anemanthele GrassAnemanthele Grass...
The feathery cascading grass Anemanthele lessoniana is very light and weightless, with reddish tones from mid-summer on. I've always called it either Mountain or Fountain Grass, and other gardeners call it Gossamer grass. Whatever its name, I think it's rather stylish...
Flax (Phormium) TricolorFlax (Phormium) Tricolor...
One of my most favourite of all the plants in the garden is this beautiful hybrid phormium, or flax. I think it's called Tricolor. This is a three dollar bargain bin flax from the local nursery - it has the most amazing coloured stripes I've ever seen in any plant.