Hebes are native to New Zealand and there are around 90 different species. Hebes range from dwarf shrubs to small trees of up to 7 metres in height. Being able to cope with most soil types they are easy to grow, and as their flowers come in a multitude of colours, they are excellent at attracting butterflies.
They can be planted in groups for effect or as an informal hedge and at Watson’s Garden you will find Mary Antoinette with its mauve flowers covering it en masse during autumn, Franciscana with rich violet blue flowers, Inspiration with its arching branches and rich purple flowers. Oratia Beauty are pink in bud, opening white, whilst Champagne start pale lilac fading to white.
Corokias are mostly native to New Zealand with one species native to Australia. They are a hardy native shrub with divaricating branches which can handle strong winds, coastal conditions and dry soils once established. Geentys Green has a bushy habit with mildy fragrant, starry yellow flowers and small yellow berries. Frosted Chocolate and Little Prince’s fragrant yellow flowers are followed with red berries whereas the yellow berries of Pip Squeak contrast nicely with their atractively coloured foliage.
We have a number of Pittosporum including Tenu Sunto and Silver Sheen which share similar characteristics. Small, rounded, bright green leaves and dark maroon, almost black, flowers in spring. Great as a feature or undulating hedge, they are hardy to frost and most soil conditions, but do avoid wet ground. Trim them anually to maintain their shape and also encourage new foliage.
Erica (or heath/heather as it is called in England) are typically small shrubs with minute needle-like leaves. Cerinthoides Red‘s stem is topped with a cluster of stunning tubular red flowers throughtout winter and spring. Trim the stems well after flowering to maintain its shape. Melanthera Improved defines winter flowering with its tiny pink bell shaped flowers covering the plan in early winter. In autumn to spring, White Delight‘s pink buds open to tubular white flower covering the stems, aging to a rosy pink. Great for floral work and again trim after flowering. Winter Fire flowers with bright orange-red flowers.
The iconic Pohutakawa is well known around coastal New Zealand. Over time it forms a broad spreading tree with gnarled trunks and branches. The leathery leaves are light grey-green above with dense white hairs below. Showy clusters of stiking red flowers with a mauve tone cover the tree in early summer.