Waitangi Day

With Waitangi Day approaching, we thought it would be appropriate to pen a few words in support of native trees, and one in particular.

Oamaru landscape project attracting bird life

A quite staggering 80% of trees and ferns in New Zealand are considered natives.  Evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, in isolation from outside influence, their design has been perfected by Mother Nature, with every facet of the tree honed to survive.  They are able to embrace the harshest of winters, the most forceful winds and an intense, dry sun.  At the same time, they stabilise the soil and provide homes and food to the birds and other animals.

Gibbston Valley and Hamilton Gardens projects

It all makes for a tree that was designed by nature to work in your garden.  Just like our very own New Zealand Cabbage Tree.

CORDYLINE australis – NZ Native Cabbage Tree

Known in Māori as tī kōuka, the Cabbage Tree has a rich history and was highly valued for its fibrous leaves that were used to make baskets, clothing and rain shelters.  Indeed, so strong are the leaves that you don’t want to dispose of old/dead leaves with the rest of your garden waste at the local tip, or you might get in trouble.  They need to go to the landfill instead.

Beautiful Cabbage tree in Glenorchy and here at the nursery, 160lt container

Only don’t do that either, not if you have a log burner.  Bundle up the leaves and use one to tie the bundle together, as they make for excellent firestarters, being easy to ignite and able to generate a good deal of heat.

Jack’s Point, Queenstown and Larnarch Castle, Dunedin, projects

Of course, the main use for the Cabbage tree these days comes from how they look.  If ever there is a tree to provide texture and character to a landscape, it must be this. They are particularly good when grouped as an avenue or shelter belt but also add an element of individualism when planted on their own, especially within places where they will grow above lower plants around them.

Cabbage tree flowers creating a world of beauty in Queenstown

The NZ Cabbage Tree is robust, hardy and suitable for the cold, breezy coastline or inland settings.