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New Zealand Flaxes Part I


By dwyllis


I’m on the sofa again ….puppy & dog sleeping on the rug ….OH watching The Graham Norton Show. I’ve had a busy day ….took the puppy for a ten mins walk at 8am …..did 35 mins pulling weeds in the garden …..then two hours on the sofa waiting for my pain relief to kick in. When my OH came home from work, we had dinner & then drove to our local park to give Loki his first run on a 28ft training lead. Now waiting for pain relief to kick in again, so went through my iPad album & thought some members might enjoy a blog on some of our NZ flaxes. It has actually taken me years to realise the potential of growing flaxes in the garden. Flaxes grow along the sides of roads here in NZ, & I never really found them very attractive ….until last year I ventured into an area selling palms, ferns & flaxes in a GC I was visiting for the first time. I suddenly discovered that there were some very beautiful flaxes available & went home with a glorious one called Evening Glow. I planted it the same evening & was so enamoured with it, that the next day I went out & bought another flax. A year on, I have three gorgeous flaxes growing happily in our garden, plus three new cordylines which will grow up to three metres high ….two of them in dark shades of crimson & purple-black. So I will now confess that I am somewhat addicted to flaxes & below are a selection of some of the flaxes available here in NZ. Some of these photos I have taken, whilst some have been taken by others, & a couple are from an online catalogue.



Evening Glow

Harakeke Phormium Tenax growing along roadside …a common sight in NZ.

Cream Delight

Astelia Silver Spear

Maori Chief

Yellow Wave


Maori Maiden


Surfers Green

More blog posts by dwyllis

Previous post: Inspired!

Next post: My Trip to America July 2012 Part 1



Fantastic blog Dwyllis

16 Nov, 2012


Wow! Love the bay and that last photo is artistic :)))
Thank you again for sharing NZ grasses :))

16 Nov, 2012


What a selection you can grow, rainbow is incredible
The phormium and cordylines are a bit of a risk here, many were lost in previous cold winters but we keep growing them and hoping,

Hope you are feeling a bit better, pain is so draining, and frustrating when you are unable to do what you want to do.....

16 Nov, 2012


i didnt realize there were so many varieties..i love easy to look after.

16 Nov, 2012


Absolutely gorgeous blog, Dwyllis - added to favourites! Thanks :)

16 Nov, 2012


Evening Glow, Maori Chief and Surfers Green are amazing! I could become addicted!

17 Nov, 2012


The one you show as Evening Glow I've had for years and years, I keep splitting it, but interestingly, it was sold to me as 'Dazzler' at the time I bought it. I love the Jester one, but it seems to be slightly more tender than the others in the UK. Yellow Wave also resides on my balcony, along with Platt's Black and another, dark purple one - I can't remember its name. Astelia Silver Spear is another favourite of mine, along with Yucca flaccida Golden Sword, but Astelia is no good on a balcony, unless you like getting sharp puncture wounds!

17 Nov, 2012


Some are really nice - the variegated and coloured ones.

18 Nov, 2012


Interesting blog Dwyllis. Most of these are new to me.
Thanks for the pictures.

19 Nov, 2012


Thanks for the lovely comments. Will put up another blog on some more of our flaxes soon. Bamboo ....I think you might be right. Yesterday, I put up a photo of my pink flax that I thought was Evening Glow, so have a look & see if it is the same as your Dazzler. Evening Glow was the first flax I bought, so I think it is the one I have planted a few feet away.

20 Nov, 2012


Yes, it does look the same as my one bought as Dazzler. Trouble is, sometimes you get them at the garden centre and they're not even named - I bought 3 some years ago for other places, and none was named, and all were different from each other.

21 Nov, 2012


anybody know if we can get rainbow in uk?

21 Nov, 2012


Yes Sandra . . . Crocus sells a Phormium 'rainbow' but it's not as colourful as the one on here!

21 Nov, 2012


the colour usually fades after i get them in the garden. same with the red cordylines. but it is a lovely one...

21 Nov, 2012


black varieties tend to fade down to dark purple over time, I find, but my 'Dazzler' hasn't faded at all, still a vibrant, strong colouration. The colours seem darker in shade, but still red/dark red.

21 Nov, 2012


I've had my Dazzler, Evening Glow & Jester in the garden for over a year & no fading on any of them yet. I also have a purple-black Cordyline called Renegade fading, but is not doing all that well. The snails/slugs really feasted on it last year, so I'm keeping a closer eye on it this year. I have another Cordyline which is a beautiful crimson colour, just a few feet away from Renegade, which has doubled in height over the year & the slimy critters haven't touched it. I wonder why yours have faded Sandra? Could it have something to do with the soil? Or perhaps yours have been planted for longer than a year? Mine are all planted in the garden, so none in containers.

21 Nov, 2012


i have a dazzler too..such lovely colors...but i have bought one or two over the years that promised more than they have given...

21 Nov, 2012


I have seen Rainbow only once & could kick myself good & hard for not getting it. So lovely. There is also a grass which is similar to Rainbow, that I would love to get. I have seen it in a catalogue here in NZ, but it was sold out & it isn't in their catalogue this year. I will have fun tracking them both down on my computer. One should always buy these things when one sees them. TradeMe in NZ has a gardening section, & lots of interesting & unusual plants are sold on there, so must have a look.

21 Nov, 2012


i think the winter takes it our of them Dwyllis..not used to -temps maybe....

21 Nov, 2012


I wonder if there's a connection with uv light levels and the colours...our uv levels are generally lower than yours Dwyllis, I think...

21 Nov, 2012


Bamboo ....we have quite high uv levels here in NZ, due to the ozone layer being thinner than in other place in the world. Our primary school children are legally required to wear sun hats whenever they are outdoors at school, as we have high incidence of skin cancers in this part of the world. Regarding that flax, there is another Phormium called Rainbow Chief, which is much more dull than Rainbow. I wonder if this is what is being sold in UK as Rainbow? I think Rainbow may be a very recent introduction, as it is not to be seen in any of the GCs I have been to. I think, like the beautiful Rainbow grass, it might only be available at this time from specialist online nurseries/catalogues. I will have to fully investigate!

22 Nov, 2012


Oh yes, I'd forgotten there was a 'hole' in the ozone layer over the southern hemisphere, Dwyllis. As for varietal names, they seem to differ in different countries - there's a shrub here where the varietal name is 'Lady in Red' but the same plant in the States is called something else that I now forget...

23 Nov, 2012


can you tell me where i could find the rainbow flax?

23 Jan, 2017

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