Our native plants: Winika orchid

If you go into the bush this summer you might be lucky enough to see a Winika in flower. Native to New Zealand, it is an epiphytic orchid with the sole species Winika cunninghamii (syn Dendrobium cunninghamii). It is commonly found in rainforest in the North, South, Stewart and Chatham islands and usually flowers in summer and early autumn. Its common names are winika, pekapeka (confusingly, also the word for a bat in te reo), Christmas orchid and bamboo orchid (owing to the bamboo-like stems).

Winika cunninghamii was first catalogued by Daniel Solander (who voyaged with Cook and Banks) as Epidendrum pendulum.

Botanist Richard Cunningham (1793-1835) collected a specimen in the Whangaroa area in 1833-34, and it was subsequently named Dendrobium cunninghamii by botanist and orchidologist Professor John LindleyRead more about Richard Cunningham and his botanist brother Alan here.

Australian scientists Mark Clements (M A Clements) and David Jones have more recently (about 2007) removed it to form Winika cunninghamii. Read more about the re-naming of NZ orchids here.

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Winika in bloom in East Harbour Regional Park, Wellington. With a diameter of 2.5cm, the flower is the largest of New Zealand’s epiphytic orchids. Image: Kotare (Wikipedia)

The orchid gave its name to a Waikato war canoe – legend has it that in 1838 once the totara for the hull was felled “masses” of the orchid was found on the tree.

Te Winika, which was buried during the Land Wars, was restored in the 1930s by a team including carving student – and later renowned opera singer – Inia Te Wiata. The waka, again refurbished in 1972, was used ceremonially from 1938 to 1973. Now on display in Waikato Museum, Te Winika was gifted to Hamilton city in 1973 by the Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

New Zealand Post released a native orchid miniature sheet to mark the 1990 World Stamp Exhibition in Auckland. Winika was a 40c stamp, alongside the sun orchid (Thelymitra pulchella), spider orchid (Corybas macranthus), greenhood orchid (Pterostylis banksii) and odd leaved orchid (Aporostylis bifolia).

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Te Papa Museum’s Herbarium has various specimens of Winika cunninghamii, several with images.

2018 NZ Rose Trials Awards

By Hayden Foulds

The annual New Zealand Rose Society International Rose Trial Ground awards were announced in Palmerston North at the beginning of December.

Tauranga rose breeder Rob Somerfield (Glenavon Roses) took the top prize –
the Gold Star of the South Pacific – with Ladies Night, which has pink blooms ageing to cerise. 

Rob Somerfield with Ladies Night at the trial grounds in Palmerston North. Photo: Hayden Foulds

Rob also received the World Federation of Rose Societies People’s Choice Award for the orange-red Amanda’s Choice, and Certificates of Merit for the pink French Connection and apricot Champagne Breakfast.

Champagne Breakfast, bred by Rob Somerfield. Photo: Hayden Foulds

The other Certificate of Merit was presented to Whanganui rose breeder Bob Matthews (Matthews Nurseries Ltd) for the yellow My Dad – Bob is also the breeder of the coral-pink My Mum, and My Dad has been bred from that.

My Dad, bred by Bob Matthews. Photo: Hayden Foulds

The New Zealand Rose Society trials are now into their 48th year and test new varieties from New Zealand and international rose breeders. The trial roses are judged over a period of 2 years by a panel of 20 judges who assess such things as freedom of flowering, plant health, flower quality and fragrance.

At the conclusion of each 2-year trial, those roses which have gained an average of 70% are recognised with awards and reflect the consistently high performance that they have achieved during the trial.

In 2020, the trials celebrate their 50th anniversary and a number of activities and events are planned to mark this occasion including the hosting of the National Rose Show in Palmerston North, the naming of a new rose for city and the publication of a book on the rose trials.

NZFGS 2018 Gold Medals, Part 2

Since WordPress essentially ate my first version of this post, I’m doing it again. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it look ‘normal’ this time!

In all 15 Gold medals have been awarded across all categories in the NZ Flower and Garden Show (see yesterday’s posts for the balance).

Convenor of judges and award-winning designer, Penny Cliffin, says: “Judging more than 200 exhibits that reflect a world-class standard of horticultural and floral design is no easy feat. Each medal was awarded based on a number of key elements including; ‘wow’ factor, originality of design, the quality and appropriateness of plant material and quality of construction.”

Franca Logan has done it again in the Floral Fashion section – taking her second Gold in the show’s 2 years – with ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’.


The bench has been positioned so people may lie down and look up into the floral cloud. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Franca, who was born in The Netherlands, owns Florienne in Takapuna and says of her return flights to New Zealand which inspired the installation: “As the plane started to descend through the clouds there were intermittent glimpses of a beautiful place with trees and abundant nature, a hidden paradise … It was like a secret unveiling …”

‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ also won a Special Feature excellence award.


All the white blooms have been grown in New Zealand and are shrouded in muslin and cotton wool. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Other Gold medals in Floral Fashion:


By Lisa Gilmour of the Manukau Institute of Technology. Photo: NZFGS


‘Force of Nature’ by Valmae Cameron of the NZ Floral Art Society. Photo: NZFGS


Detail from ‘Standing Tall in the Pacific’ by Lorraine Usher and Geri Nielsen of the NZ Floral Art Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Do you like the Auckland skyline in ‘Standing Tall in the Pacific’? The installation also included an Easter Island-type head which a small sign revealed has been carved from Bio Floral Foam and covered in beet seeds.

Two Gold medals were awarded in the School category – both thoroughly deserving.

A group of uniformed children from Roscommon Primary School in Manurewa was looking at their entry, guided by an older woman who pointed out various things and then said, “this is a garden that brings us all together”, before bustling off to straighten the cushions!


From hangi pit to pizza oven to a barbecue made from a washing machine drum; from taro plants to kumara plants to strawberry plants; from a coconut scraper to a fishing net, the Nesian Fusian garden has it all. Photo: Sandra Simpson


Nesian Fusion even included a beautiful table setting. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Mairangi Bay School, on Auckland’s North Shore, has presented a very cool Kiwi bach garden.


Good on them, I thought, having flowers on a pohutukawa this early. The realistic looking flowers turned out to be plastic! Photo: Sandra Simpson


Who wouldn’t want to stay in a bach like this? Photo: Sandra Simpson

Besides the two Hobbiton Gold medal gardens I featured yesterday, there was one other in the Upcycle Challenge, awarded to Christine Mawhinney (who shared a Gold last year with her sister and daughter in the same category). ‘Winslow Girls’ is about using grey water – water recovered from sinks, showers and washing machines and perfectly fine to use on a garden.


The Winslow Girls garden. Photo: NZFGS

Back in the Pavilion, two Golds were awarded in the Community Gardening section.


The backyard scene created by the NZ Gardens Trust. Photo: NZFGS


Bonsai on the Rocks is presented by the Auckland Bonsai Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson


A coloured rope creates a ‘mountain range’ with the key components of bonsai noted. Pictured here are a Liquidamber (front) and a golden totara. Photo: Sandra Simpson

NZFGS Gold Medals, Part 1

Thought you might like to see some images of the Gold Medal display gardens at this NZ Flower and Garden Show, open until Sunday at the ASB Trust Arena in west Auckland (easy to access if you’re coming from the south thanks to the new Waterview link).

Lost and Found by Christian Jenkins of Victoria, Australia is a ‘wellness garden’. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Australian designer Christian Jenkins has been specialising in ‘wellness gardens’ for 4 years and explains that he includes water because it is ‘very calming’ and that a space for people to ‘come together’ is also very important to wellbeing.

A stepping stone path leads into the garden and then from the deck there’s another path to a  more private area. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The garden, which also won awards for Horticultural Excellence and Design Excellence, was built in an extraordinary 8 days. It includes Australian plants, such as Brachychiton rupestris (Queensland bottle tree) and a grass tree which still has its soaring spent flower head on it. Plants were sourced from Matakana Palms and Christian has nothing but praise for its owner Bruce Whistler who grows many of his rare plants from seed.

Christian Jenkins talks to freelance media from China. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Pollinator gardens are a bit of a theme this year with first-time exhibitors Christine Prebble (Mosaic Design) and Katrina Christison (Tidy Gardens) are showing them how it’s done by walking off with a Gold medal.

A Pollinator’s Paradise Garden by Christine Prebble and Katrina Christison. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The garden includes insect hotels, a water bowl for bees, butterflies and other insects, a dummy beehive, fruit trees and lots and lots of flowers.

Katrina Christison (left) and Christine Prebble in their Gold medal garden. Photo: Sandra Simpson

In 2014 Christine – who in 2012 retrained in landscape design – went to the Chelsea Flower Show and worked for the Hillier’s Nusery plant staging team helping to create two exhibits, The Bee Garden and The White Garden, while Katrina has gone to Chelsea for the past 5 years to be part of Jo Thompson’s team and has also worked at the Hampton Court Flower Show and the Singapore Garden Show.

A bumblebee enjoys the garden. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Last year’s Supreme winner Hobbiton this year presented two small gardens in the Upcycle Challenge in partnership with Matamata Primary School – and won Gold for both with Bushman’s Backyard winning the category overall. 

Bushman’s Backyard includes a recycled bath and copper piping. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Students at Matamata Primary School germinated and grew seedlings for the garden using old cardboard rolls, newspaper tubes and egg shells. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Hobbiton’s second garden, and another Gold medal garden, is Bee Natural – old beehive boxes have been used as planters. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Hobbiton’s art department has done a great job with the giant bee that hovers over the garden. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Matt McIsaac of Industry Landscapes won Gold for his sleek, pared-down Urban Oasis garden in the Balcony Garden competition.

Urban Oasis by Matt McIsaac. Photo: NZFGS

This was another Zen-inspired garden – there’s a rill through the middle of the decking, the timber of which has been charred using an ancient Japanese technique to include fire as an element. The Acer palmatum Crimson Queen has been hung with Spanish moss to create further movement and interest.

NZ Flower & Garden Show 2018

Dashed to Auckland and back yesterday for the media day for the NZ Flower & Garden Show (NZFGS). It opens its doors to the public today and runs until Sunday – and it’s looking good!

I was thrilled to see many of my assessments ended up chiming with the judges after medals and awards were handed out in the afternoon, and won the bet I placed with myself as to the Supreme winner, which was announced at a function last night.

Jules Moore at the fire corner of her garden – underneath the burning lamp is Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica) with Pamela, the 100-year-old maple, in the background. Photo: Sandra Simpson

It was no surprise (to me, anyway) that it was Jules Moore and her team for their magnificent Zen garden. The idea of representing the five Chinese elements – earth, air, water, fire and metal – is something of a sub-theme at the show this year, along with pollinator gardens. 

Update: Jules’ Zen Garden has also won the People’s Choice Award.

Bayley LuuTomes shows a fellow exhibitor through the garden. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Jules’ project manager Bayley LuuTomes, himself a well-known landscape designer, walked me through Jules’ Zen Garden, explaining that each corner represented the elements earth, water, air and fire, with metal symbolised by a collection of temple bells in the centre of the pavilion, a place where all the elements come together. Visitors are also treated to a soundtrack of a temple bell being struck.

The corner that highlights water. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The garden, which took 20 days to create (some of it in torrential rain), also won Gold and the award for Construction Excellence. From above, Jules says, it has a distinct yin and yang pattern.

The garden is a credit to its creators. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Much of the plant material has come from Jules’ own nursery with the rest sourced from places she’s worked with for years – including ‘Pamela’, the 100-year-old maple who has her roots in a surprisingly small pot. Jules says she’s known Pamela for years and has long wanted to do something with her. She also thinks that after the show she might just take Pamela home! I wanted to bring the entire garden home, but apparently the $50 in my pocket wasn’t quite enough … Jules is, however, open to ‘sensible’ offers.

BOP Floral Art

The BOP Floral Art group had a great display at the Historic Village in Tauranga during the recent Garden and Art Festival, using both the lawn and the old schoolroom to stage their work – and were thrilled to exhibit their major pieces in the open air.

The BOP Designer of the Year competition – with the theme Nature into Art – was won by Ruth Wilson with Francine Thomas second.

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Detail from Ruth Wilson’s winning entry. The pieces shown outside were refreshed each morning to stay in tip-top condition for visitors. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Francine Thomas explains  she constructed her moss-covered ‘old log’ (she got a jig-saw for Christmas last year), which includes jute-wrapped hula hoops. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Ruth Wilson was also placed first in the Hang On section. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Winner of Storm in a Teacup (front) was Lesley Burgess. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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An innovative Storm in a Teacup entry from Jocelyn Sutton. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Marion Lewin was second in the Illusion section. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Diane Hinton’s entry for In Days Gone By. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Winner of In Days Gone By was Francine Thomas. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Gladys Possin won second for her In Days Gone By entry. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Garden & Art festival: Day 4

And the rain came down (briefly) at 3.20pm … just as the gardens were closing on the final day. Most places reported quieter visitor numbers today and I certainly didn’t go as far or spend the full day out, although I did see a fair few people wearing day-pass tags so presumably they were making the most of it.

Perhaps it was because I was already pretty sated or perhaps it was just the luck of the draw but today I met a few ‘gardens’ that were actually about something else – a cafe (x 2) and a nursery. Nothing necessarily wrong with that but I was expecting more in the way of a garden at each stop.

Anyway, here’s a batch of photos from today’s gardens that I loved.

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An impressive grape pergola at the Tauriko home of Debby Sanders and Rick Rimmer. To the left are two envy-making enclosed growing spaces – one for veges and one for berries. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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The decorative metal frame of this seat came from a Dunedin picture theatre. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Intrigued by this gravel planting in the Larking garden, labelled ‘Canterbury Patchwork’, and including tussocks and clover. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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The zig-zag rose arbors are each named for a famous garden the Larkings have visited, although Peter said ‘Stonehenge’ was a joke! Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Bronwyn Towersey has filled her large, undulating garden on the edge of Tauranga with trees, shrubs and flowers, but still has plenty of ‘fairway’ lawn. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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And she has two large ponds to play with as well. Photo: Sandra Simpson