Current Affairs

September 2, 2021

I far prefer the rolling newsfeed provided by certain flowering species in my garden to the monotony of yet another lockdown within Auckland. In between working on multiple designs remotely with my staff, I ensure that I take time to look at the latest events happening in the various zones of our newly planted garden – some of which (like the Enkianthus campanulatus pictured below) unfold in plain view of my workspace.

The title of this journal entry alludes in part to my love affair with Mediterranean fritillaries like the two beauties shown below. These members of the lily family often have enigmatic, mottled or striped blooms – as demonstrated by Fritillaria messanensis subsp. gracilis on the left. The other species currently in flower, Fritillaria conica, has gradually shifted in tone over the last week and a half, from a greenish hue to the yellow colour that this southern Greek species is known for.

All members of this firm have held a longstanding affection for the Cretan native, Phlomis lanata, shown below, as we have planted it in several projects over the last two years. One of its foremost attributes for our climate is the relatively contained shrubby form that it develops; in marked contrast to the lanky contribution that some of its relatives offer to Auckland plantings. The silvery tone of the leaves and brown-tinted, golden flowers also offer much within plantings that have similar qualities to the Mediterranean garrigue in which it naturally grows.

Returning to inhabitants of more wooded areas, the weeping member of the witch hazel pictured below left (Corylopsis pauciflora) is one of my favourite exotic shrubs for the subtlety of its flowers and foliage and its elegant growth form.

And finally, one genus that I have been looking forward to planting out in the garden for a long time (in the years leading up to and including our build) is Epimedium. The elfin flowers of species like Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Rose Queen’ are some of the finest seasonal details for woodland gardens in dry shade; and in recent months, we have been able to plant out the collection of species and forms that I have collected over the years (so that we have these as stock for future projects as well as enjoying them in our own daily lives).