Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Awards

The RNZIH has been kind enough to send a copy of its mid-year journal containing the 2019 awards.

Garden History Award: Annemarie Endt-Ferwerda, who has published at least seven booklets and books on horticultural topics. She and her late husband, Dick Endt, established the Landsendt garden in west Auckland, today run by their daughter. Read a 2012 profile of the property and about a family of three generations of plantspeople. The garden is no longer open to the public.

Plant Raisers’ Award: Ian Duncalf, former owner of Parva Plants and a former international director of the International Plant Propagators Society, of Te Puna (near Tauranga). His breeding and selection work includes Agapanthus Thunder Storm, Agapanthus Finn, Alstroemeria Rock & Roll, Clivia Barbara, Clivia Deanna, Clivia Lydia, Eucomis Tiny Piny Opal and Eucomis Tiny Piny Ruby. His introductions include Bergenia Marshmallow, Galtonia Moonbeam and Gazania rigens Takatu Red.

Fellows of the RNZIH:
Chris Webb of Thames/Paeroa, a member of many horticultural groups and a member of the RNZIH since 2001.
Malcolm Woolmore of Auckland, a former international director of the International Plant Propagators Society, and founder of Lyndale Custom Mix Ltd (wholesale bulk potting mixes), Lyndale Intellectual Property Ltd (dealing with plant variety rights, PVR) and KiwiFlora Ltd. He has been responsible for the production and distribution of 100 million young plants in New Zealand. Since 2002 he has been a member of the National Pest Plant Accord.
Nicola Rochester, regional sales manager for ICL and actively involved in the RNZIH Education Trust (since 2005) and Young Horticulturalist Competition (since 2003).

Associates of Honour of the RNZIH (limited to 60 people at any one time):
Dr Marion MacKay, senior lecturer in environmental management at Massey University, specialising in plant diversity and conservation. A member of the Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust board since 2004 and author of the 2011 book, Plants of Pukeiti Forest. Marion is a founder, and leader, of the NZ Rhododendron ex situ Conservation Project and is a member of the steering committee of the Global Rhododendron Conservation Consortium. In 2013 she was appointed to the NZ Indigenous Flora Seed Bank project. She has been a Fellow of the RNZIH since 1997.
Professor Helen Leach, emeritus professor of anthropology at Otago University, specialising in culinary anthropology and the domestication of food plants. Her most outstanding book (of 22 published) is still 1000 Years of Gardening in New Zealand, published in 1984. She has been a Fellow of the RNZIH since 2004 and in 2018 was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to culinary anthropology. Read a 2016 food profile here.

Tropical paradise

We all want to create our little corner of paradise in our gardens and it’s fair enough that Kiwis look to the tropics for inspiration, after all, most of us have had a memorable South Pacific or north Queensland holiday.

The bad news is that we live in the sub-tropics which means we can’t have a true “tropical” garden as it’s not only about temperatures and rainfall but the almost unvarying levels of daylight through the year nearer the Equator.

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The white-flowered variety of Justicia carnea, the Brazilian plume flower. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Palms are the backbone of any tropical garden and while we can’t grow the coconut palms so typical of an island paradise, we do have access to a range of trees to suit our climate.The good news is we can achieve “tropical-look” gardens if we do our homework and are clever about plant choice.

Layers of planting – canopy, sub-canopy, under-storey and groundcover – creates depth and gives the impression that a garden is bigger than it actually is.

Large trees and plants include Parajubaea cocoides (Quito mountain coconut palm) that can handle strong winds and hard frosts; Chatham Islands nikau, Rhopalostylis sapida; Atherton palm (Laccospadix australasica) from Lord Howe Island (not below minus 2C); the fish-tail palms Caryota ochlandra and C.obtusa; the smaller Dipsis boroni (hardy sugar cane palm); Strelitzia nicolai (giant bird of paradise, looks like a banana palm); banana palms; and Meryta sinclairii (puka) which although frost tender, can be grown in shade.

In the display garden at Palmco in Kerikeri they have created a coconut palm effect by planting bangalow palms on an angle – as the trees straighten up and grow towards the light a bend develops in the trunk.

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Bendy bangalow palms in the Palmco garden, Kerikeri. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Other plants to help the island paradise feel include hibiscus, bromeliads, taro, gardenias, day-lilies, rengarenga lilies, Chatham Island forget-me-nots, hostas, pineapple lilies (eucomis), canna lilies, vireya rhododendrons, star jasmine, orange jessamine (Murraya paniculata), cymbidium orchids, hoya and clivia.Smaller hardy orchids, such as Australian Dendrobiums or Zygopetalums, can be grown on trees or in ponga posts.

Ferns and tree ferns also add to the tropical look and are relatively easy to source.

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Vireya Tropic Glow. Photo: Sandra Simpson

If you don’t have room for a pond, water lilies can be grown in a half-barrel or a large, glazed pot.

And don’t omit bamboo from your line-up just because of its weedy reputation. Choose carefully and it will add a grace to your garden that few other plants can achieve.

Robin Booth of Wharepuke garden in Kerikeri finds that once an area is planted, plants create their own micro-climate and “support one another”.

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Cordyline fruticosa Fiji in Wharepuke garden. Photo: Sandra Simpson

He imported Cordyline fruticosa Fiji in to New Zealand “many years ago” and says the small tree with its brightly coloured leaves will do well in a cooler climate. New Zealand grass trees (Dracophyllum) are another shrub-size alternative.

For more information and to buy plants, try these specialist New Zealand websites:

Don’t forget to check the listings on the Group page – members of specialist groups are always happy to help.