Signature plants cultivate meaning

Cyclamen hederifolium is one of the garden camellia collection’s main signature plants.PHOTO:...
Cyclamen hederifolium is one of the garden camellia collection’s main signature plants.PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Complementing the camellias and specimen trees in the lower botanic garden camellia collection, which covers an acre of cultivated land, are the underplantings of herbaceous ground covers.

When choosing underplantings for your garden, consider a theme or some "signature" plants to create your masterpiece.

Themes could include using New Zealand ferns and ground covers or choosing your favourite colours to be dominant. Signature plants can be used to unite areas or borders together, by utilising repetition along edges or into the depth of a border.

The herbaceous collection under the camellias adds interest and beauty to the plantings all year round. Cyclamen hederifolium flowers over autumn and is one of the collection’s main signature plants, being prominently planted on alternating sides of the main drive.

Winter hellebores, summer hostas and spring snowflakes mean there is always something happening.

Large groupings of plants in natural drifts, like rivers leading into the distance, help to draw the eye into the depth of a landscape and feel more relaxing. In woodland settings this looks more natural than too many different plants.

Plants are chosen based on the conditions they thrive in. Parts of the collection flourish under the dappled shade of the mature European beech trees, others in the dry shade of conifers. Several areas bake in the hot sun, while some experience the full blast of Dunedin’s coldest southerlies.

 - Garden Life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden. For further information contact Marianne Groothuis.


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