From 2008 we’ve redesigned our front garden to make it easier to manage. Much of the buxus hedging we’ve been planting around various garden plots since 2008 has taken shape at last.
These next 3 photos of our front garden were taken in December 2011 through a front window of our home.
From 2012 Gilly has been making a good job of trimming our young buxus hedges using old-fashioned hedge clippers.
We’ll now take you on a year’s walk through our garden, with photos taken of various plants in flower at different times of the year. These plants and flowers were all photographed in our garden during the past three years, and as all the photographs are digital, they have date information, so flowering times given are able to be accurate.
There are currently over 80 photos of our garden on this page, so please allow time for the photos to load.
Calla lilies with their white-spotted leaves open their cream flowers along the middle row of the front garden immediately after Xmas.
In 2012 Dietes grandiforum, the African Iris, also known as the Fortnight lily, opened some flowers during the first days of the New Year. Although there are insect holes in the petals, you can see the attractiveness of this flower.
Here is the Dietes grandiflora plant, with long and narrow stiff leaves. There are three clumps of this plant in the upper garden, and true to its nickname of Fortnight Lily, the clumps flowered again a fortnight later, then a fortnight again after that. In 2012 the three clumps kept re-flowering in synch with each other until April.
They’re followed into flower by Lilium longiflorum, or white Christmas lilies. Our visitor Stefan photographed our first Christmas lily of 2012 opening during the second week of January.
Then during late January the striking orange flowers of the tall orange Tigerlilies appear. Here is the first of our tigerlily flowers on 24 January 2012, with the white Christmas lilies behind, and in the background in front of the vertical white fence-post you can see the first flower head of the clump of Strelitzia.
And here is the first wonderful head of Strelitzia, known as Bird of Paradise plant, that opened during January 2012.
Close-up of our first tigerlily flower of 2012, photographed by a friend.
Throughout our January garden Abutilons in many colours hang their shy flower heads down. They’re also known as Chinese Lanterns, and many colours of Abutilon are in flower in our garden. Here are some orange Abutilon flowers, viewed from underneath, on a 2 metre wide bush at the foot of the Magnolia Campbellii.
Here are some of the yellow Abutilon flowers in the back garden.
Also in January the Cannas in the back garden make a marvellous show. Here are the tall orange Cannas.
And some pretty coral Cannas beside a white dahlia in full flower by the brick steps in the back garden.
And here an even richer coloured coral Canna that is truly lovely, with my friend Vera from Prague also taking photos of our garden.
At the end of January Liriope Muscari Royal Purple flower-heads are appearing amongst their clumps of leaves, and most flower-heads grow to 4-5 inches long. A lot of Liriope are planted in the shade below our garage, with more in pots near the front door, and they all kept flowering until April.
During early February from our front window we see in our front garden a circlet of orange and white flowers, these colours enriched by little glimpses of blue hydrangeas. From our left the tall tiger-lilies are coming into full flower, enhanced by the white Christmas lilies, then the beautiful strelitzia flower, and on around to the orange Abutilon and a very pretty soft orange Canna.
In our back garden the Cannas are now in their full glory. They are not strictly lilies, so their name is just Cannas. All colours are visible: very tall orange, bright red, coral pinks, darker orange, and the late yellow Cannas are starting to open too. Here is the beautiful bright red canna in flower. It has taken many years to develop as a plant.
Pink ‘Beatrix’ Cannas are on their way for later in the month. In late February we’re treated to a wonderful display in our back garden by the pretty soft pink Canna ‘Beatrix’ in the garden at the back of the house.
It’s the first day of March 2012, and the first of the white Belladonnas (Naked ladies) has just opened into flower.
Buds on tall stems of more Belladonnas have appeared around the front garden over the past week, and a pink clump of Belladonnas has opened.
Also the first flowers of the bright coral Nerines are opening out.
The purple Liriope is looking marvellous, in full flower, as are all the Cannas.
Our white Hydrangeas that put on a glorious display since December, still have those flowers, but they have browned off now. Since then new Hydrangea shoots on the bushes have grown a further foot high, and are now showing new small white flower heads again, during the second week of March 2012. So I’ve dead-headed the older flowers.
In our back garden a large old pink Fuchsia bush is in full bloom.
Beside the Fuchsia is a Cape Plumbago bush with sparse but very pretty blue flowers:
During March we also see the large bright coral-coloured Nerines come into flower, as in this photo.
We kept dividing Liriope Muscari ‘Royal Purple’ and they now fill a shaded spot below the garage and are also here in pots near the front door. They began to flower in January but are in full flower during March.
By late March the row of white and pink Belladonnas in the main garden are looking very attractive, although they flowered during a very wet week, so it was difficult to get a good photo, but here is the best one. The tall now yellowing stems of the Tigerlilies that flowered before them in this area are still showing here.
In late March we were again treated to a flowing from the 3 clumps of Dietes grandiflorum, the African Iris that have flowered approximately fortnightly since early January.
It’s also thrilling in late March to see a second flower-head preparing to open on our Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise plant).
The orange and yellow Abutilon bushes are flowering steadily, and the white Iceberg and Carpet roses are still rewarding us for dead-heading by being covered in fresh white blooms.
In the back garden we find the pretty rose ‘Perle d’Or’ covered on small peach coloured blooms.
There are 6 pots containing White Carpet roses in our northern courtyard areas, and although they’re resting between flowerings in this photo of the geraniums, they’ve put on a continual display for many months. The two white Glacis geraniums in pots shown below in the courtyard outside our kitchen window are in full flower too. They’re now 3 years old, and are the first geraniums I’ve had any real success with.
We have 3-4 clumps of a whitish-pink Crinum Lily whose flowers are opening very slowly. These large bulb plants flower each year after their very big pale green wide leaves have already appeared. Crinums are apparently known as Easter Lily in New Zealand, because they flower at this time of year.
Our scarlet Nerines are now coming into full flower, while there is still a lot of colour throughout our garden. Many of the Cannas in the back garden are still in flower, with new flowers still opening.
The white Iceberg and Carpet roses are still putting on a good show, and there are new heads on many of the hydrangeas, especially the white ones. Clumps of Belladonnas are still opening into flower, and we’ve seen more Belladonnas opening down the back of our section. Abutilons are still flowering too.
That second flower-head on the Strelitzia is still opening, ever so slowly, and next to the Strelitzia, a single Wallflower is beginning to display its crop of bright yellow flowers.
Now in full flower high up on our section, above the Crinum lilies, a pretty pink Azalea is now in full flower and throughout the coloured rose garden, the Bluebell ground cover has been completely replaced by now a ground cover of delicate white Alyssum flowers.
Meanwhile the Abutilons, particularly yellow and orange, continue their colourful displays all around the garden.
In late April flower-heads are beginning to form on the Kniphofia clumps, red and yellow pokers that are dotted around the garden.
A large clump of snowdrops comes into flower during May, while groups of delicate little pink Nerines are visible in several areas of the front garden.
May also brings tall yellow Kniphofia and orange Abutilons into flower together in our front garden.
Our first white camellia to flower this year is the lovely well-named Camellia ‘Superstar’, and our youthful bush is quite covered in buds that turn into lovely white large star-like flowers. After these have bloomed, a few weeks later we’re treated to a second flowering by the same young bush.
Camellia ‘Superstar’ in flower.
Our old Magnolia campbellii, probably planted during the 1950’s, is also in full flower at this time of year.
Here is a close-up photo of the beautiful rich pink Magnolia campbellii flowers taken through our garage window.
On the walk down our path is the narrow, purple-flowered Magnolia ‘Liliflora’, beside my favourite pink Camellia ‘Tiffany’, unfortunately photographed here on a wet day in June.
On the last day of July, and while still officially mid-winter, on a beautiful sunny day, a yellow daffodil half-opened in our coloured rose garden.
A Michaelia Figo tree with small pink-rimmed flowers stands at the foot of the brick steps at the back of the garden and is also in full flower at this time, alongside the magnificent Magnolia ‘Iolanthe’. A bright red Rhododendron ‘President’ stands on neighbouring land behind them both. In the foreground is a pretty pink Luculia bush, and in October 2007, behind the yellow daisy bush in the right of this photo, and above the cabbage tree, a new Michaelia Doltsopha was planted.
For many years we had a tall Michaelia Doltsopha beside the north fence of our front garden, but it regularly became entangled with the neighbour’s power wires, and eventually had to be topped every year, so we sadly removed it. Four years later our new Michaelia Doltsopha in the back garden is 2 metres tall. This lovely conical shaped tree had the most beautiful white flowers and put on a lovely display in the spring, so we look forward to seeing this replacement tree flowering in this better position in a few years’ time.
The buxus hedge we planted alongside the brick steps going down through the back garden is visible now, and it’s easy to see how good it will look by the time the plants are twice their current size.
Here is a lovely flower from our Magnolia ‘Iolanthe’.
Our dark-flowered Magnolia ‘Black Prince’ is also in the back garden, below the crib wall.
A cabbage tree stands like a tall tower at the south end of our backyard vegetable garden.
More white camellias come into flower in July, including Camellia ‘Anticipation Alba’ in a front courtyard area, in front of our north-side neighbour’s pink Rhododendron tree that is also in flower .
A small plot of orange Clivia flowers about August between two potted cedars, Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’, near the front door.
Here are more Clivias glowing deep orange under the Camellia bushes along the north boundary of the front garden
In a hidden part of the back north side garden, in 2011 one golden Clivia has flowered for the first time.
A few years ago a very slow-growing clump was separated into 8 pieces and replanted. We have learned to be very patient about our garden.
In August our remaining camellias break into flower. Camellia Reticulata ‘William Hertrich’ along our north fence brings special delight with its glorious flowers.
When in flower, Camellia ‘Dr Clifford Parkes’ is always a great pleasure to encounter while walking down the path to the house.
This month the odd Arum lily flower also opens out in various corners of the garden.
August is the month when we see the remaining daffodils in our garden bring their happy little splashes of yellow and white along with a promise of spring. There are a few different coloured daffodils our coloured rose garden.
Hyacinths too, are now making an appearance, tucked in behind the buxus beside the path.
Our north-side neighbours also have a Magnolia ‘Campbellii’ and one August their tree-tops looked so attractive that I took this photo from one of our upstairs windows.
September is usually heralded by the bursting into flower of our Magnolia ‘San Jose’ at the foot of our entrance steps.
Our lovely Magnolia ‘San José’ tree is always such a joy, and is almost always just in flower on 1 September, the first day of spring. It’s soon accompanied by the white starry flowers of the Magnolia Stellata ‘White Star’ beside the front gate.
Near the Magnolia ‘Stellata’, a yellow Forsythia also blooms inside our front fence.
Among our early-flowering red camellias is Camellia ‘Gullio Nuccio’, beside two Daphne ‘Odora’ bushes that also flower in September and share their wonderful fragrance with anyone going down the path.
Our old Kowhai tree glows golden in September, near the foot of the path with all the camellias in flower.
This view of the Kowhai in flower greets us as we go out our front door.
Bluebells are appearing throughout the front garden in September, particularly as ground cover in the two rose gardens.
More magnolias flower in September including this large Magnolia Soulangia by the north fence of our back garden.
And nearby is Magnolia Soulangia ‘Alba’. We have 11 different magnolia trees in our garden.
And nearby is Magnolia Soulangia ‘Alba’. We have 11 different magnolia trees in our garden.
Even more bluebells appear all around our garden in October, particularly in the coloured rose garden.
We have two climbing Star Jasmine plants, this one more recently planted to climb in the back courtyard
The other Star Jasmine is beside the front door, and in the tall red pot a third potted Thuja occidentals ‘Smaragd’ is growing well, despite the total lack of sun in this area of the garden. On the right of the photograph white Carpet roses from the half-moon garden are reaching over.
Beautiful little cerise-coloured Ixias have self-seeded throughout our front garden over the past few decades, and in November 2010 one row of them made a particularly impressive display.
Here is an individual Ixia flower, photographed by my cousins who were staying with us at the time.
Tall white Renga-renga flowers also make their appearance beside the front of the house and on the banks of our back garden.
In between the budding roses are lots of ground cover white pansies in flower.
Various colours of Abutilon open quietly around the garden and have a very long flowering season; here are yellow and pink Abutilons beside blue Agapanthas flowers.
Two pots of Glacis white Pac Zonal Geraniums make a lovely show in November in the back courtyard look lovely from the kitchen window.
Over neighbours’ fences on north and south are Rhododendron ‘Pink Pearl’ trees for us to enjoy.
In December our white Hydrangeas gradually open out, as our white and coloured roses also come into bloom, along with a wide array of lavenders.
In our vegetable garden at the back of the house is a climbing bean frame that we sometimes use for sweet peas. In December 2008 we had an amazing crop of sweet peas, as you can see from the next three photos.
It’s lovely to go visiting before Christmas and take a posy of sweet peas for our hosts.
People are always captivated by the glorious sweet pea fragrance.
This row of Rengas-rengas along the front of the house have been flowering since November, and still have flower-heads at Christmas.
‘Albertine’ climbing rose is in full flower along a handrail of our front path during December and January.
Our coloured hydrangeas are putting in an appearance, this one nestled between two Lavender ‘Dentata’ bushes.
These pink and blue hydrangeas are sheltered from the sun by the kowhai tree trunk.
Our white roses are fully in flower and the half-moon garden near our front-door is bursting with white ‘Carpet’ roses, hedged by young buxus.
Another view of the half-moon garden near our front door.
The white rose garden under the kowhai tree has white ‘Iceberg’ roses, with some violets as ground cover.
Here’s the white ‘Iceberg’ rose garden from the other end.
By December our coloured rose garden is also in full flower.
We both love the beautiful variable-coloured flowers of the rose ‘Royal Dane’.
Cream Calla lilies open between Christmas and New Year.
At the back of the house pretty coral Cannas are already flowering and some of the very tall orange Cannas are in flower too. Apparently Canna is not a true lily.
In December all around the section Abutilon trees, also known as Chinese lanterns, of various colours are shyly flowering in many colours: yellow, orange, pink, dark red and brown.
The rock garden just inside our front gate is full of green and white plants which are ideal for the very dry conditions in this highest part of our section.
Marlborough Rock Daisy is in flower up by our front fence.
The rock garden beside the garage has bright splashes of colour at this time of year.
Further along the rock garden beside the garage.
UNUSUAL WEATHER EVENTS IN OUR GARDEN:
Storm damage on New Years’ Eve 31 January 2010:
In 2008 I photographed this tranquil bird-bath area of our garden with camellias, clivias and white hydrangeas. A vigorous pink bower vine Pandorea jasminoides ‘Rosea’ almost covered a 2.5 metre tall white trellis fence that for years had acted as a wind-break from the prevailing northerly winds.
The Pandorea jasminoides ‘Rosea’ that grew over the white trellis fence gave shelter from the summer sun to the white Hydrangeas nestled in behind.
Pretty pink bower plant Pandorea jasminoides ‘Rosea’ was flowering here on the courtyard side of the tall white trellis fence.
We woke on New Year’s Eve 2010 to find that a storm had smashed the tall white trellis fence and gate that had been attached to our house along the north side.
The old Clydesdale horseshoe that hung above the black gate was one we’d dug up from from our back garden decades before.
Snow in August:
On 15 August 2011 the first snow for 40 years fell in our garden. Here’s our small half-moon garden of buxus hedging and roses near the front door with a dusting of snow
Here is what our front garden looked like from our front window about 2000, when it was quite overgrown and difficult to walk along the paths. It took a great deal of work by Gilly to keep the garden tidy.