Nel­son’s gar­den of earthly de­lights

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

If you want to view a host of plants from around the globe in the one spot, you might like to visit Gar­dens of the World, a 2.4 hectare land­scaped beauty in Nel­son, which houses a mixed bag of herbs, shrubs, peren­ni­als and trees from New Zealand, Aus­tralia, Asia, Amer­ica, Africa and Europe. Noth­ing un­usual in that you might say – you may all have plants from th­ese coun­tries in your own back­yard. But th­ese plants are grouped ge­o­graph­i­cally, so you phys­i­cally walk the gar­dens of the world, and many are quite rare. Olden­ber­gia gran­dis, for ex­am­ple, is not of­ten seen in New Zealand gar­dens. I have it in mine – but that’s the only gar­den I’ve seen it in. Ex­cept for Gar­dens of the World. That’s not to say it’s not in some­one else’s gar­den – I’m sure it is. But you don’t of­ten see it amongst the shrub­bery of the or­di­nary Kiwi gar­den. The plant hails from South Africa and has large stiff leaves which have a woolly cov­er­ing and vel­vety white un­der­sides. It sup­pos­edly grows 3-5 me­tres, but mine, which I keep con­tained in a fairly small pot, has only grown a few cen­time­tres in the past six or seven years. It prob­a­bly tops only 1m high at present, so it’s un­likely to take over my gar­den. In cooler ar­eas it’s best planted in pots. There are gor­geous ix­ias in the African sec­tion at Gar­dens of the World too, not the usual pink or pur­ple sorts, but the palest bluewhite ones. Ix­ias are cor­mous plants that be­long to the iris fam­ily and thrive in dry cli­mates. In the African Gar­den (a par­tic­u­lar favourite of gar­den cre­ator Ge­off Ether­ing­ton who is from Africa him­self) you’ll also find rare aloes and cacti. Fur­ther along we come to the Amer­i­can gar­den and an in­trigu­ing Monterey cy­press ( Cu­pres­sus macro­carpa). This plant can be grown as a small lowspread­ing tree or even a ground cover. Ge­off had trained it into a stan­dard where its branches, spread out and hang­ing slightly, looked for all the world like a thatched um­brella. It would make the per­fect shade tree, with a seat be­neath and a cock­tail in hand. There were gi­ant white pop­pies, Rom­neya coul­teri, which are also not com­monly seen in New Zealand (you may find plants on Trade Me). They are one of the most re­gal pop­pies in the world, with their crepe-like petals and bright yel­low sta­mens. Th­ese plants, also known as gi­ant white Cal­i­for­nia pop­pies, are her­ba­ceous peren­ni­als na­tive to the Amer­i­can south­west. They grow in river bor­ders as well as dry stream beds, on open hill­sides and fer­tile val­leys. They flower from spring, the blooms reach­ing 15-20cm across and flower stalks top­ping 2m high. There is a Euro­pean gar­den and an English rose gar­den, plus a fab­u­lous herb gar­den, filled with both medic­i­nal and culi­nary herbs. In bloom at the time was evening prim­rose ( Oenothera bi­en­nis), va­le­rian ( Va­le­ri­ana of­fic­i­nalis), com­frey and a yel­low Leono­tis leonu­rus. The Gar­dens are well worth a visit to spot beau­ti­ful and un­usual plants. Sit be­side the wa­ter gar­den and have a pic­nic, or have a drink be­neath the thatched um­brella. Gar­dens of the World is listed on the Na­tional Gar­den Reg­is­ter and a re­cip­i­ent of a Gar­den of Dis­tinc­tion award.

Bright spots: Ix­ias are cor­mous plants that be­long to the iris fam­ily.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.