A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden

Celery Pine
Celery Pine

Of all the gardens at the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden was my favorite.  No fancy paths, patios, staircases or dining sets, it was all about plants.  Finally, order in the universe!  There was one cute little hobbit house, but even it’s roof was made of plants.  I like how everything was tied together with moss and ferns and diminutive plants.  This garden was created by the Washington Park Arboretum to celebrate the New Zealand forest which will be opening in the fall.  I wasn’t the only one who was wowed by this garden.  It won six top awards, including the People’s Choice, an award voted by the public.  From the garden description:  A spectacular tree fern stands sentry nearby.  Next to the house is a bog exuberant with colorful New Zealand flax (Phormium).  Low-lying fog over the wetland creates drama and mystery.  The foliage of variegated Coprosma, Corokia, and Veronica (Hebe) add color to the display.  Clematis ‘Avalanche’ drapes from the top of the house.  The garden features drought-tolerant plants, most of which are suitable for growing in the Pacific Northwest gardens.  The use of foliage to create a rich color palette is a key design element.  A new plant for me was Coprosma or mirror bush.  The glossy leaves were rich with color and I admired this evergreen shrub, although it appears to more comfortable in zone 9 rather than our zone 8.   Another plant that caught my attention was the celery pine, or Phyllocladus alpinus, such a cute little coniferous shrub.  Alas, not hardy in the PNW, but they suggest use as an indoor plant.  It was fun to see this collection of New Zealand plants and I look forward to the new display at the arboretum!

9 thoughts on “A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden

  1. Love the overall lush effect… thanks for showing us a little of the show, Elaine. By the way, I’ve started the “Gathering Moss” book you reviewed recently and adore it – what an amazing style of writing! My partner and I have started turning over stones and clearing fallen leaves from mossy bits of lawn when we walk around the garden to get a closer look, and today I’m taking a magnifying glass out with me! I’m so glad you reviewed it. Thank you!

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