Podocarpus totara ‘Matapouri Blue’

Podocarpus Matapouri Blue is an attractive grey – blue coloured selection which has attractive year round coloured leaves. Grows into a typical pyrimidial conifer shape which makes it useful for hedging. Can be easily trimmed to a required size.

Naturally totara is a light grey green colour, and there is the less common form of golden totara called Podocarpus totara Aurea.

Its dense growth habit means it can also be used as topiary or just a nice specimen plant.

Likes full sun to part shade.

Click here to view availability

Ajuga – Bugle Weed

Attractive ground cover, pink to blue flowers.

We have the following varieties available…

Ajuga reptans Pink Beauty:

Clumping form, pink flowers late spring.

Ajuga reptans Jungle Beauty:

A ground cover with dark green/purple leaves which spreads by runners. Blue/purple flowers in spring and summer.

Ajuga reptans Blue Spire

a ground cover with dark green/purple leaves which spreads by runners. Blue/purple flowers in spring and summer.

Ajuga reptans:

A ground cover with dark green/purple leaves which spreads by runners. Blue/purple flowers in spring and summer.

Click here to view availability

SWOT Analysis in Garden Design

Every gardening project has a unique mix of challenges which will need to be addressed for the project to be successful. Doing a SWOT analysis in the garden design phase can assist in address some of this challenges

The term SWOT stands for StrengthWeaknessOpportunity and Threat.
A SWOT anslysis is essentially a list of factors involved with a project classified into the four above classifications. Conducting a SWOT analysis will help to identify and understand the factors involved with a garden project so can help you think outside the box. It will not necessarily offer answers but will focus your thinking. 

  • Strength:  A factor which is requires little or no work to solve and benefits the project. (ie: Sunny location)
  • Weakness : A factor which will require work and focus to improve. (ie: heavy clay soil)
  • Opportunity: An unexpected / unplanned  factor which could expand the project. (ie:Existing plants)
  • Threat: Needs to be carefully managed to avoid negative consequences. (ie: prone to flood)


  • Focus thinking
  • Take advantage of site strengths
  • Addtress weaknesses
  • Maximise opportunities
  • Minimise Threats
  • Understand project better


  • Does not prioritise factors
  • The generated list can be too long
  • Hard to know what is important.

The SWOT analysis tool can be used to list and describe these challenges in a structured way. It is a list of the sites basic strengths and weaknesses.

This will help to assess the different projects factors in a positive or negative light.

This along with the Taxonomy tool can help in developing the project objectives and key results as the thought process becomes clearer.

As you list the various factors and challenges of the project you can define them into one of these four quadrants.

GardenBase : Landscape Design Process.

There are three stages in the landscape design process used in the GardenBase landscape software application.

  • Landscape Project Planning
  • Landscape Design
  • Implementation

Planning Phase

GardenBase  landscape software application. Planning  Phase

This phase is where you decide the objectives and design framework for the garden landscape project  This is a process of analysis where the goals of the gardener/designer for the garden project are developed and refined. It typically involves many questions and discussion when developing the final set of desired outcomes. Tools that the GardenBase landscape design application provides for the planning process are:

  •  Project Objectives and Key Results… Establish the garden design desired outcomes and key results.
  • Taxonomy… establish a list of words to help describe the design
  • SWOT Analysis… List the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the landscape project
  • Image Manager… Upload images
  • Mood Boards… Create mood boards to easily view and contrast the colours, images, words, links connected to your garden design.
  • MoSCoW Analysis… List the must have, should have, could have and would like features of you design
  • Project Management and related Tasks… Set up a task list and dates

Design Phase

GardenBase  landscape software application. Design Phase

In the design phase the conclusions from the landscape design planning stage are put into action. Tools that the GardenBase landscape design application provides for the design process are:

  • Garden Areas… Define garden and functional areas of the design
  • Plant/Object List… Create a list of objects and plants you wish to include in the garden design
  • Garden Functions… Create a list of typical functions in each area
  • Utilization Matrix… Establish how these areas are used in a typical time period.

Implementation Phase 

GardenBase landscape software application. Implementation Phase

In the landscape design implementation phase all the planning and analysis done until now starts to take shape. Tools that the GardenBase landscape design application provides in the implementation phase are…

  • Project Management.
  • Project Tasks by Date… Report of task due date and description
  • Project Milestones… Key points in the project timeline.
  • Plant Inventory… What plants and objects are required to fulfill the design phase decisions
  • Planting Schedule… What and how many plants/objects  to place in each garden area

Future posts will detail each phase in more detail.

Liriope muscari: a drought tolerant plant

If you are looking for drought tolerant plant for a shade or sunny position in your garden then Liriope muscari is an good choice.

Drought tolerant liriope muscari
Liriope muscari flower

Liriope muscari, also known as Lily Turf, is a perennial which flowers in mid summer to early autumn. Flowers are usually purple or pink tones with a few rarer white flowering selections. It grows to a height of 25 to 30cm and 40cm wide. Most of the varieties have mid to dark green narrow leaves but there are a few varieties with yellow or white striped variegation.

It is an evergreen plant with reliable leaf colour which makes it a good flowering plants for dry sunny areas. Will grow in semi shade or full sun. Prefers well drained soil from sandy through to medium loamy soils.

Drought tolerant liriope leaves
Liriope muscari leaves

Common varieties are..

Liriope muscari ‘Gold Band” – olive green leaves with yellow edges. Blue/mauve flowers.

Liriope Evergreen Giant – A taller growing variety getting to 20cm tall leaves. Purple flower spike in summer

Liriope muscari Munroes White … a white flowering selection.

Liriope ‘Samantha’ has mauve pink flowers and strappy green leaves

Liriope muscari Silver Ribbon has attractive dark green strap-like leaves which have cream coloured edges. Mid summer has spikes of purple lilac flowers.

So for low maintenance drought tolerant plants Liriope muscari is worth looking at. Here is a list of our current availability

Camellia Hedging Options

Camellia setsugekka flower
Flower of Camellia sasanqua Setsugekka

For a hedge which is reliable in colour and grows tidily a camellia sasanqua hedge is hard to look past. They have the added bonus that they flower reliably in autumn to winter giving colour to a garden when your summer flowering plants have finished their show.

A Camellia sasanqua hedge will be available in a variety of heights and shades of green with many different flower colours white, pinks through to reds, as singles and doubles

Camellia sasanqua Setsugekka is often used as a hedging camellia in New Zealand gardens. In late winter to early spring it displays single white flowers. It is a camellia with an upright growth habit so is a very useful plant for boundary hedges or screening.

Camellia Early Pearly flower

Camellia sasanqua Early Pearly can be used as a hedging camellia in New Zealand gardens.
In autumn it produces small double white flowers edged with a touch of soft pink in autumn. Upright growth to 2m tall and 1.5m wide if not pruned.

Camellia Waterlily
Camellia Waterlily

Camellia Waterlily is a lovely reliable camellia with small to medium bright pink formal double flowers resembling a waterlily. Has late winter to spring flowering. Strong upright growth to about 2m x 1.5m. Is not a sasanqua type but is used as a hedge in New Zealand.

Click to view current availability of camellia hedging varieties.

Lavender Hedging

Lavender is a plant traditionally used in formal european gardens, especially english, spanish and french. The well known Lavender dentata, known as French Lavender is very aromatic with typical lavender scent. A Lavender hedge makes a reliable, scented addition to your spring flowering garden

Lavender stoechas Alba

Available this autumn are the following varieties.

Lavandula stoechas ‘Alba’ (White Spanish Lavender) whihch has narrow leaves which are grey-green in colour. White flowers in spring are surrounded by white bracts.

Lavendula stoechas ‘Bella Rose’ grows into a compact lavender covered in flowers of dark-pink flowers topped with rose coloured wings during autumn to spring. It grows to a height of 50cm is is suitable in a dry bank, rockery or as a colourful hedge.

Lavender Lavance Blue

Lavender Lavance Blue is a multi- branched compact lavender which is suitable as informal hedge. Scented deep purple – blue flowers during summer. Useful plant use as a cut flower or drying

Lavender angustifolia Hidcote has nice deep lavender blue flowers which are lightly scented. Suitable as a hedge or for drying as potpourri. Grows to about 30 to 35cm. A popular selected form of English Lavender

Lavender angustifolia Munstead Blue has nice lavender blue flowers,Suitable as a hedge or for drying as potpourri. Likes full sun and good drainage. A popular selected form of English Lavender

Lavendula Light Series grows into a compact lavender covered in mauve flowers during autumn to spring.

If you are interested in purchasing lavender plants online click to view current availability

2020 : Year of Gardening Software

GardenBase : Garden Management Software

GardenBase is an online application which helps you in the planning, design and implementation of your garden design. The combination of project management.and exciting online design tools assist in the planning, design and implementation of your landscape project. There is a 7 day free trial to allow you time to test the applications features. click here to read more