Form and function

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A garden filled with flowering plants is spectacular over the spring and summer months, but without a solid framework of trees and shrubs, it may lose its appeal in winter. On the other hand a garden with only trees and shrubs can be stunning throughout the year.

Trees and shrubs perform a multitude of functions. They offer privacy and seclusion and provide shade and shelter, helping to keep us cooler in summer and warmer in winter. They offer a permanent leafy background for short-term flowering plants but they’re not without the ability to put on a seasonal show all of their own. Some of the best displays of flowers, fruit, bark or autumn foliage come from our longest lasting trees and shrubs, getting better with each passing year.

Natures Planting time

Long after the air cools down, autumn soil holds on to summer's warmth and plants respond with a flourish of pre-winter growth. Trees and shrubs that go in the ground in autumn make a good start before the cold weather arrives. When the flush of top growth erupts in spring the soil is yet to warm up, but the roots that established in autumn are ready to support it.

Planting in autumn or early winter effectively saves water because well-established roots are less dependent on watering during their first year in the ground.

TREES AND SHRUBS FOR AUTUMN COLOUR
Camellias
Cercis Forest Pansy
Crab apple (Malus)
Flowering cherry (Prunus)
Holly (Ilex)
Hydrangea quercifolia
Japanese maple (Acer)
Liquidamber
Smoke bush (Cotinus)
Vireya rhododendrons

TREES AND SHRUBS FOR WINTER INTEREST
Aloe
Cornus sibirica
Camellia
Daphne
Kowahi (Sophora)
Leucadendron
Leucospermum
Luculia
Metrosideros ‘Tahiti’
Paper bark maple (Acer griseum)
Protea
Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

TOP FOR TOPIARY
Clipped evergreen shapes add distinction and personality to the garden. Choose shrubs with tight growth and small leaves.

Corokia ‘Frosted Chocolate’
Coprosma
Pittosporum ‘Little Kiwi’ and ‘Golf Ball’
English box (Buxus)
Box honeysuckle (Lonicera)

NOTABLE DROUGHT TOLERANCE
Once they have their roots well-established in the soil, many shrubs will go it alone for weeks without rain.

Lavender
Rosemary
Westringia 
Nandina Lemon and Lime
Hydrangea Limelight
Flower Carpet Roses

FIVE-STAR HEDGES
Tough shrubs that have small leaves and compact branch structures make excellent hedges.

Corokia Geenty’s Green
Corokia Frosted Chocolate
Escallonia
English box (Buxus)
Griselinia Broadway Mint
Ilex (Holly)
Muehlenbeckia astonii
Olearia paniculata
Pittospurum Stephen’s Island
Podocarpus Matapouri Blue

PLANT FOR PRIVACY
Quick growing evergreen shrubs and small trees provide a cool leafy screen to create a verdant urban sanctuary.

Kowahi (Sophora)
Houhere (Hoheria)
Puka (Meryta sinclairii)
Griselinia varieties
Pittosporum varieties
Camellias

TOUGH AGAINST WIND
Wind strips the garden of precious moisture and brings dust or salt spray from the sea. In windy situations planting for shelter makes a huge difference to plant growth and human comfort.

Pohutukawa (Metrosideros)
Olearia varieties
Karo (Pittosporum crassifolium)
Griselinia varieties
Ngaio (myoporum)

FOR THE BIRDS
Support native wildlife with these garden-friendly trees and shrubs.

Kowhai (Sophora)
Flax (Phormium)
Pohutukawa (Metrosideros)
Bottlebrush (Callistemon)
Banksia

PLANTING TIPS

  • Before removing the pot for planting, dunk the entire root zone in a bucket of water until the bubbles stop rising.
  • Add controlled-release fertiliser to the planting hole.
  • Mulch to retain moisture and block weed growth.

HEDGE TIP

  • A lack of light at the base can cause hedge to drop its lower leaves. Avoid the leggy look by shaping the hedge with slightly sloping sides so that it is widest at ground level.

Look for these products, tips and advice at a Go Gardening Store near you.



1-Mar-2020

 


Magnolia 'Little Gem'


Hydrangea quercifolia


Topiary pittosporum balls


Buxus hedging


Native trees support birdlife