Tikorangi notes: Friday 16 July

Latest posts
1) Early, frilly and fragrant – one of the first rhododendrons for this season is R. cubittii.
2) Exotic trees versus native plants – Abbie’s column (spare me from politically correct ignorance).
3) Cranberry update
4) In the garden – tasks for this week.

Our magnificent Podocarpus henkelii will see the nursery capillary beds surrounding it both come and go in its lifetime

Tikorangi update:
I was listening to a radio interview last weekend with Peter Arthur, a keen dendrologist and NZ’s foremost retailer of garden and plant books. In a country where it is currently quite difficult to sell any plant which is not a vegetable or a fruit tree, he was asked to predict what the next big gardening craze will be. He didn’t hesitate: trees. A return to trees.

I thought of Peter’s comment as I looked at a beautiful specimen of Podocarpus henkelii. When Mark established the nursery here, he worked around existing trees on site so we have tended to have obstacles – a citrus tree amongst the vireya rhododendrons with the overhead shade cloth cut around to fit, an eriobotrya in the hosta block – and this magnificent African podocarpus set amongst the capillary beds. Now the day has come, as we wind up the nursery, that the capillary beds will go and the P. henkelii will be accorded the status it deserves as part of a planned new garden. It will have to share the limelight with the planned Palm Walk but it has at least four decades on the palms and will no doubt retain its status as the senior plant in this new area for our lifetime. I hope Peter Arthur is right and we will see a wider appreciation of the magnificence of trees. A utility apple tree is not, I think, a match for our P. Henkelii.