We have seen the back of the shortest day, the garlic has been planted, and the compost is dug into the vege patch…….now its time to turn your attention to creating that perfect place to chill out during the long hot days of summer. And if the last two years are anything to go by you will need plants that will tolerate drought.
One of the best plants for coastal or dry garden areas is Corokia. Whilst there are only a few species (Corokia buddleioides, C. cotoneaster and C. macrocarpa) natural variation is wide and hybridization common. This has resulted in a large number of natural varieties and named cultivars; many of which make superb plants for urban gardens.
Corokia have a tight branching habit, small yellow flowers and coloured (red, yellow or orange) fleshy berries that are attractive to birds. They typically grow 1-3m high; will tolerate strong wind, coastal exposure and very poor soil.
Many of the selected varieties have dark or silvery coloured leaves making them useful for contrasting with other plants. They also clip well so are a great choice for low hedging. The divaricating nature of varieties related to Corokia cotoneaster are a must for rugged rockeries or gardens designed around a coastal theme. Try combining Corokia with drought tolerant native grasses (eg Carex testacea), creeping NZ iris (Libertia peregrinans), a coastal groundcover (eg Pimelea prostrata) and a few well selected pieces of driftwood/rocks for an easy low maintenance garden.