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Coastal colour

Photo: Nigel SilverdenIN Issue 129 of Weekend Gardener, mention was made of Ceanothus papillosus being "tough and able to withstand drought, trimming and exposed coastal conditions".

Does that mean the bush will cope with salt spray on its branches? I find that frequently plants are called coastal but when the harsh southerlies come along, it's farewell to the plant.

Secondly, I've tried to buy Ceanothus papillosus at two of Wellington's larger plant shops. One tried to get it for me but neither could oblige. Do you know where I could purchase a plant?


THE form of Ceanothus papillosus most widely available here is commonly known as Ceanothus 'Roweanus'. Most garden centres would have it by the latter name or be able to get it for you, particularly branches of California Garden Centre, Palmers Gardenworld or Mitre 10.

Wellington's salt-laden wind can be particularly harsh - I've even seen the new growth of so-called hardy natives like pohutukawa and broadleaf (Griselinia littoralis) burnt off during a severe southerly!

So, while ceanothus can reasonably be expected to withstand coastal conditions, I'd recommend you plant it where it's not exposed to wind coming directly from the sea, especially if your garden is within 100m or so of the coast.

If closer, a tall fence or hedge of tough plants such as taupata (Coprosma repens), Chatham Island akeake (Olearia traversii) or karo (Pittosporum crassifolium) should provide enough shelter for this delightful plant, which is one of the best blue flowering shrubs available - even though the display only lasts a few weeks in spring.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 135, 2003, Page 27

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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