By the Water
Each area of the Moosey Garden along the water race has Gunnera growing in it. In the Willow Garden these plants arrived from upstream as seeds, then chose a lovely spot on the edge of the garden to germinate and grow for me. How lovely! I'm so lucky - aren't I?
Tough Love Needed
Tough love is always needed with self-sown Gunnera, and I soon decided that they could grow on one side of the water race only. They would be encouraged around around the willow stump, Willow Bridge, and further upstream by the Car Bridge. Neither of the bridges is terribly sculptural, so the huge Gunnera leaves could take the spotlight in summer. As they most certainly do.
That's it. All naughty Gunnera seedlings anywhere else, or on the house side of the water race, were dug out and re-positioned. But for the first few years the seedlings are compact, and their fresh new leaves are so cute - it's easy to forget to weed them out. A Gunnera gardener needs to remain vigilant - and have a sharp shovel on hand, ready to slice any nuisances out.
Fresh Spring Gunnera Leaves
Gunnera is best admired in spring and summer. Later in autumn the frosts will burn the edges of huge leaves. And they'll be chopped down in winter, stems and leaves separate, to dry out before being thrown onto the bonfire.
Gunnera Clean-Up - Before and After
I sometimes have to chop off any spreading roots, lest they reach over to the other side of the water race and form a dam.
Young Gunnera by the Stream
For New Zealand gardeners Gunnera has a questionable status, environmentally speaking, and is not allowed to be propagated or sold. But if one turns up on your property it's allowed to stay. And just look how sweet these giant perennials are when they're juveniles. So pretty, so cute, so little!