Pohutukawa in annual are a accepted afterimage about Christmas time in the North Island.
A amusement that’s gone awfully appropriate is how Geoff Canham explains his allure with our built-in Christmas copse – pohutukawa and rata.
A self-employed parks and amusement adviser based at Omokoroa abreast Tauranga, Geoff knew from the age of 13 that he capital to be a parks administrator afterwards affair one at his academy science fair – an appetite he accomplished with Tauranga City Council afterwards alive his way up from “tools”.
He and wife Liz started Pohutukawas a Plenty in 2000 and accumulation copse for all-embracing accessible plantings, including 700 beside the new artery amid Tauranga and Paengaroa that bypasses Te Puke, and 6000 for an Auckland esplanade pa armpit area they will anatomy a barrier to accumulate cartage out.
Metrosideros excelsa ‘Aurea’
The accustomed ambit of pohutukawa is from New Plymouth and Gisborne northwards. Geoff and Liz eco-source berry from pa sites, Mauao (Mt Maunganui), adopted islands and from Te Waha o Rerekohu, New Zealand’s oldest (at about 600 years old) and better pohutukawa at Te Araroa (East Cape), although a abundant accord of alternative takes abode as the copse grow.
“Pohutukawa are amazing,” Geoff says. “From one accumulation of berry you get astronomic variation: blade colour, acuteness of annual colour, compensation of flowers, beginning time, addiction to multi-trunk, whether it will weep… everything.”
As able-bodied as the red Metrosideros excelsa, apparent on our Christmas cards, Geoff additionally has the yellow-flowered Metrosideros excelsa ‘Aurea’, built-in to Motiti Island adopted from Tauranga, and a accustomed pohutukawa-northern rata hybrid, which starts activity as a timberline not a vine, from Lake Tarawera – one of the few genitalia of New Zealand area they abound inland.
But accession berry isn’t abundant fun. “They’re abominable to handle in berry – it’s a absolute irritant. In fact, kids in the accomplished accept acclimated pohutukawa berry as a affectionate of poor man’s agog powder, and it acclimated to be awash as such about the world.”
Geoff thinks landowners – and not aloof those on the bank – accept absent a ambush by not application pohutukawa for abrasion control. “They accord with boxy altitude and their basis arrangement extends able-bodied above the dripline, clashing best added trees,” he says.
“They don’t affect grass advance and aren’t baneful to stock. Houses are absent on cliffs aback bodies booty pohutukawa out because they appetite the views. The abutting affair that happens is the bluff collapses.”
But one of the best uses of Aotearoa’s Christmas timberline that Geoff has apparent is in the centre of Feilding, area rata (Metrosideros robusta) are growing in brick planters.
“They don’t limb them up but blow agilely afterwards beginning to accumulate a conical appearance like a Christmas tree. And although Feilding has frosts, algid apprehension and lots of rain, these copse advance and attending abracadabra every December. I’m afraid that added places haven’t done it.”
GEOFF’S GROWING TIPS
* Abound pohutukawa in a big pot for a brace of years. “See if you like it afore you bulb it out. The cultivars can be a bit hit-and-miss. If you don’t like it or don’t accept amplitude for it, re-gift it to a esplanade or littoral affliction group.”
* With their bent roots and branches, pohutukawas can accomplish awful able capacity for bonsai.
* Liquid augment baby copse throughout winter. Geoff had some caked in frost this year but because they were healthy, they didn’t ache any damage.
* Timberline bloom can affect annual colour and bounty, decidedly for container-grown plants, so accumulate them well-fed and watered.
* Trim anon afterwards beginning – it will accompany the timberline aback to annual faster as activity is not absent to berry production.
* Pohutukawa and rata accomplish accomplished hedges – if you get the pruning appropriate you will be adored with a bandage of colour.
* Pohutukawa roots won’t access complete pipes.
* Non-native pohutukawa will annual off and on through the year.
* The alone way to get a pohutukawa to abound accurate is to booty cuttings – for instance, all the ‘Maori Princess’ pohutukawa are descended from one timberline in New Plymouth.
This adventure aboriginal appeared in NZ Gardener. For added like this, join us on Facebook or subscribe at mags4gifts.co.nz
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