Syringa – a joy to behold
One of the joys of spring is the flowering of the lilac – Syringa – from the Greek, surinx, meaning long slender corolla.The fragrant Syringa Laciniata is an ancient form from Asia first described in the 17th century. It is a graceful shrub some 2 metres tall with pale flowers. This also goes by the common name the ‘cut-leaf’ lilac, a description based on the jagged cuts into finely textured lobes on the leafs. If you only had room for one lilac this is the one for you.
A Flowering Cherry for the birds
If you yearn for the sight and sound of Tui in your garden grow Prunus Campanulata. A cherry tree native to Taiwan this tidy tree has bell-shaped (campanulata) flowers of a cyclamen red to enliven your garden in late winter or early spring. It grows 4 meters and can be a bit of a thug in Northland where it is banned for its unruly behaviour. Down here in the beautiful clement Otaki it rewards you with it vibrancy.
From near extinction to our gardens
From the wilds of Asia and Northern Europe to a home-grown delight Tecomanthe speciosa is a native climber which graces the front wall of Nga Purapura. A solitary plant, found on Three Kings Island, has been saved from extinction. A rampant vine with glossy leaves has never been found growing wild anywhere else. This vine needs a warm climate, is frost tender and produces its glorious flowers straight from the stem in one great cluster of creamy wonder. Just keep your goats away from it – that is what nearly eradicated this treasure.