Flowers for the Victorian Farm Garden

When early settlers travelled to New Zealand they brought plants with them from their home land and carefully nutured them on the sea journey. Some of these treasured plants continue to be loved and looked after through the generations and remain in gardens today. 

The flowers, seeds and cuttings at the Halfway House have been sourced from people and places where their provenance, ideally before 1900, can be explained.

The flowers are photographed in the Halfway House garden.

Acquilega from old farm cottage near Ongaonga

Acquilegia
Seeds harvested from George Walker’s 1875 farm cottage garden near Ongaonga, Central Hawke’s Bay. The original plants are no longer growing on the farm. The bumble bee in this blossom seems very content!

Catalogue: 1878 W.W. McCardle, Masterton.
Gifter: Claire Bibby.
Planted: 2017. Horse paddock fence line.

Bee friendly.

Acquilegia 'Grandmother's Garden'

Acquilegia 'Grandmother's Garden'

Acquilegia 'Grandmother's Garden'

Acquilegia
Perennial.  Grandmother's Garden. This is the aquilegia that came to New Zealand with our great great grandmothers and can still be seen today thriving in gardens around homes that were built over 100 years ago. This aquilegia has long stems and multi-coloured (pink blue purple white) flowers. Great cut flowers.

Catalogue: 1878 W.W. McCardle, Masterton.
Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Flower bank and horse paddock fenceline.

Bee friendly.

Hollyhock pale pink

Hollyhock rich red

Hollyhock

Hollyhock

Hollyhock

Alcea - Hollyhock, assorted.
Single blooms sourced from private gardens.

Catalogue: 1871-1872 Thomas Allan.
Gifter: Carolyn Lutter.
Planted: 2018. Seeds scattered all over the garden.

Butterfly and bee friendly.

Loves lies bleeding flower

Amaranthus  caudatuse - Love Lies Bleeding. 
Annual growing to 3 feet. Companion for corn, pumpkins, kumara. Loves growing with French marigold, zinnia, cosmos and sunflowers.

Supplier: Koanga Institute.
Planted: 2018. Kumara bed and flower beds.

Aster. Michaelmas daisy.

Asteraceae – Aster – Michaelmas Daisy.

Gifter: Pamela Gainsford.
Planted: 2018. Flower bank. Rose Arbour.

Butterfly and bee friendly.

Borage flower

Borage
Attracts bees into the garden. Great tasting honey. Originally from the Mediterranean region.

Gifter: Claire Bibby.
Planted: 2017. Orchard lawn, horse paddock fence line.

Butterfly and bee friendly.

Pot marigold 

Calendula officinalis - Pot marigold - English marigold.
Calendula officinalis was advertised in New Zealand pharmacy's as early as 1855, as an essential remedy for punctures, cuts and lacerations.

“Calendula Officinalis (Marigold) in its several varieties is another fine annual for bedding - out, flowering continuously all the season. They may be obtained in two distinct colours, orange and lemon. The flowers are large and well -formed, and the plants grow about a foot and a half high.” Evening Post. Gardening Notes. 6 August, 1898.

The yellow calendula is from Rose Street, Waipawa, the former home of Mary Glover Bibby (1867-1937). Edward, Mary's son, told his grand daughter Jan, that the family amusement was to refer to the flower's as "Marygold".

Gifter: Jan Gosling, Waipawa.
Planted: 2018. Flower bank.

Butterfly and bee friendly.

Calendula officinalis. Pot margold. English marigold.

The orange calendula is from the old gardens of Picton, where it is very popular. 

Gifter: Carolyn Lutter, Churton Park.
Planted: 2018. Flower bank.

Butterfly and bee friendly.

Campion Silene dioica

Campion, Silene dioica
Wildflower from the British woodlands.

Gifter: Carolyn Lutter.
Planted: 2018. Flower bank and fence line.

Carnation Maori Chief

Carnation, Maori Chief
Lavender grey/mauve grey in colour.

"John Greenaway, Canterbury, New Zealand, introduced the first batch of 'florists' flowers including Conqueror, Favourite, Maori Chief; Conquest, Rifleman and others." The Star, The Carnation, 22 January 1895.

"In the open class, Messrs Kerr and Barnett secured the first prize for six carnations and six picotees, with a very fine stand, in which the "Maori Chief " carnation was especially worthy of notice." The Star, The Christchurch Horticultural Society, 4 January 1882.

Newspaper: The Star, 4 January 1882.
Gifter: Patricia Apperly, Claire Gleeson.
Planted: 2018, 2019. Flower bank.

Cornflower blue

Centaurea cyanus - Cornflower -  Emperor William.
Annual. An ancient variety of cornflower from northern Europe, a sky blue star flower. Companion plant to the European grains, perfect in a cottage garden collection or border. Self seeds easily. This flower is the World War One symbol for the French, in the same way the red poppy is the remembrance flower in New Zealand.

Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Flower bank and horse paddock fence line.

Bee friendly.

 Ruby gem cornflower

Centaurea cyanus - Cornflower - Ruby Gem.
Annual. Stunning, classic cornflower, dark maroon flowers. Good cut flower, flowering from spring into summer. Great at the back of a border.

Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Flower bank and horse paddock fence line.

Bee friendly.

Honeywort

Cerinthe major - Honeywort, Greater Honeycomb.
Attracts bees and is a good filler plant, the size of a small shrub. Originally from the Mediterranean region. Cerinthe major, greater honeycomb, and cerinthe minor, lesser honeycomb are advertised for sale by W Hislop, Nurseryman and seed merchant of Christchurch, in The Press, 11 August, 1865. They are included in a list of plants described by Mr Hislop as ‘choice flower seeds’.

Newspaper: The Press, 11 August, 1865.
Gifter: Claire Bibby.
Planted: 2017. Orchard lawn, horse paddock fence line. 

Bee friendly.

Larkspur Earl Grey

Larkspur, delphinium Earl Grey

Delphinium - Larkspur - Earl Grey.
Annual. This stunning larkspur is a classic example of how much our modern flowers have changed . It is an old fashioned heritage larkspur with tall open growth and open flower spikes, instead of the far more compact plants and flower spikes of modern selections.

Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Horse paddock fence line. 2018. Rose Arbour. 2019. Flower bank.

Larkspur, delphinium blue

Larkspur, delphinium blue

Delphinium - Larkspur - Dark blue [unknown].
Annual. An old variety of larkspur rarely seen today. It came from the garden of Phoebe Cooper of Airlie Road in Plimmerton. Phoebe was a school teacher and gave seed to her school teacher colleague, Ruth Bloxham, who passed the seeds onto her neice, one of our heritage gardeners. The blue from the crushed petals is so rich it can be used as ink, or dye.

Gifter: Ruth Bloxham
Planted: 2017. Flower bank.

Dianthus Dads Favourite

Dianthus - Dad’s Favourite.
Semi-double flowers with white edges, wine red fringes and a purple centre. Mat forming. Very fragrant. This flower may be an original Scotch Pink, or Laced Pink of Paisley, cultivated by the weavers of Paisley, Scotland. Perennial.

Roy Genders in his book Garden Pinks (1962) writes:
“It was the black and white or Laced Pink, Lady Stoverdale, raised by James Major in 1772 that brought about so much interest in the flower at Paisley where it was realised that it was possible to raise others of the most intricate designs. By 1840 as many as a hundred different varieties of the Laced Pink were known to specialist growers around Paisley, and clubs to foster the cultivation and exhibition of the Laced Pink sprang into being everywhere…(p 15).

“The object of the Paisley weavers was to impart the characteristics of rounded or smooth edges to the flowers, thereby eliminating the serrated petal edges of dianthus plumarius. At the outer edge of the petals was to be a band of black, with which colouring the blooms were also marked at the centre. The variety was recognised by the degree of black about the bloom.” (p 16).

“To those south of the Border, the pinks of Paisley became known as Scotch Pinks… By the middle of the nineteenth century it is probable that the Laced Pinks had ceased to exist in Paisley, in spite of their hardiness, exterminated as it would appear by adverse conditions which were now being experienced through the industrialisation of that area.” (p 15).

“Perhaps the old Scotch Pinks still survive in the recently discovered and re-named Dad’s Favourite. This variety was found in a cottage garden in Berwickshire by Mr. A. J. Macself. He re-named it Dad’s Favourite as the old cottager had mentioned that it had been his father’s favourite flower." (p 16-17).

Note: Albert James Macself (1878-1952) wrote gardening books and edited the British magazine Amateur Gardening.

Supplier: Mauways Nursery, Hunterville.
Gifter: Claire Bibby.
Planted: 2018. Flower bank.

Dianthus Mrs Sinkins

Dianthus - Mrs Sinkins.
Heavily scented. White ruffled double flowers. Perennial.

It was raised by Thomas Sinkins, Master of Slough Workhouse and named after his wife Catherine Sinkins. The flower is incorporated in the coat of arms of the Borough of Slough, England. The flower was first produced commercially by Charles Turner's Royal Nursery in 1868 (Refer Slough History Online).

Supplier: Mauways Nursery, Hunterville.
Gifter: Claire Bibby.
Planted: 2018. Flower bank.

Picture to come

Dianthus - unknown.
Scented. SIngle flowers, pink serrated edge with dark purple centre. Florifous.

Gifted by Jan Summons of Udy Street. Grown by her grandmother Eleanor Simmons in the 1940's in her garden at Maida Vale Road, Roseneath and passed down through the generations. Jan trained as a horticulturalist in the 1970's at Massey University and at the time of gifting the flower, had sold her large garden and magnificent two-story villa and wanted to share her dianthus with others, to keep it going.

The flower looks similar to Little Jock. Dr Keith Hammett, dianthus breeder, was consulted and said two Little Jocks were released, one pre 1930, then one later in the fifties. He suggested it could also be a self-pollinated unique variety. 

Gifter: Jan SImmons, Lower Hutt.
Planted: 2021. Rose Arbour path.

Dicentra spectabilis aka Bleeding Heart

Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart. (x3).
Perennial with tiny pink and white heart shaped blooms that appear on long arching stems in late spring and summer.

Catalogue: 1872-1873 William Martin, Fairfield Nursery, Saddlehill Road, Green Island, Dunedin.
Supplier: Twigland Gardener’s World, Glenside.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2018. White scented garden.

Sunflowers maximillian

Helianthus Maximiliani - Sunflower Maximillian.
Biennial. North American prarie sunflower. Starry yellow flowers in autumn. Edible rhizome. Named for the naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, Germany, (1782-1867) an early botanical explorer of North America from 1832 to 1834.

Catalogue: 1878 W.W. McCardle, Masterton.
Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Horse paddock fence line.

Butterfly and bee friendly.

 Sweet pea Original

Lathryus odaratus - 'Original' - Sweet pea
The genuine wild sweet pea. The seed was collected from wild flowers in Sicily in the 1970's. All sweet peas are derived from the original. A late 18th century cultivar of the original is 'Painted Lady' which was recorded growing wild in New Zealand in 1843 as follows....

On 15th December, 1843, Missionary William Colenso and his Maori guides were descending a hill to the seaside somewhere between Mohaka and Wairoa. William Colenso wrote the following:

"At 4 p.m. we descended to the seaside, where we halted by a stream to roast a few potatoes. I was gratified to find the English Sweet Pea (Painted Lady, var.) flourishing luxuriantly in this solitary spot, when or how introduced must be quite conjectural."

Extract from William Colenso's journal, "William Colenso, Journeys, 1843-1846" courtesy Hocken Library, Dunedin. 

Newspaper:
The Otago Witness, 16 August 1851. Sweet-pea flowers referred to as 'kept in bloom all winter'.

Supplier: Yates Seeds.
Planted: First planted in 2019 along the horse paddock fenceline and orchard.

 Lychnis coronaria 

Lychnis coronaria.
“Lychnis coronaria. A showy plant, thriving on almost any soil, and growing 2ft or 3ft high. The leaves are covered with a soft woolly substance, and the flowers are either crimson or white. There are also double varieties.” Lyttelton Times, Flower Border, 4 September 1888.

The Te Aute store, north of Waipawa, constructed in 1858, became a coaching stop in 1860, with stables, where horses could be changed, and travellers could enjoy refreshment. A chance visit by one of our heritage gardeners, when the owner was clearing lychnis from around the edges of the brick pathway, resulted in seed heads being gifted to the Halfway House garden.

Gifter: Bruce Keatley, 1858 Te Aute Store.
Planted: 2019. Flower bank.

Hyssop sweet marigold

Marigold Hyssop.
Perennial. Border edge vege companion with starry bright yellow flowers flowering all summer into late autumn.

Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2016. Horse paddock fence line.

Butterfly and bee friendly.

 Forget me not white

Myosotis.  Forget-me-not, white.
Myosotis. We replanted this from the stream bank at The Halfway House, into the woodland garden. We are not sure if it’s a remnant from the garden, or if the seed blew over from the garden centre next door. More research is needed to find out if the white field forget me is a Victorian arrival in New Zealand or came to the country after 1900.

Planted: 2017. Stumpery.  

Papaver orientale red poppy

Papaver orientale poppy

Papaver orientale red poppy 

Papaver orientale - poppy.

Catalogue: 1878 William Wilson McCardle, Wellington.
Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Planted: 2019. Rose arbour  

Pelagonium apple blossom

Pelagonium apple blossom

Pelargonium - Appleblossom Rosebud.
John Tradescant brought the pelagonium to England from South Africa in 1631. Appleblossum, introduced in 1870, is said to be a favourite pelargonium of Queen Victoria. Ours grew from a cutting that was taken from a plant in the garden of Kate Bibby's cottage at Glen Appin, Ongaonga.

Gifter: Ted & Alison Bibby.
Planted: 2018. Flower bank.

Primrose

Primula vulgaris - English Primrose 
Native to Northern Europe, the primrose came to New Zealand with early settlers. It grows naturally beside streams, in orchards and in woodland areas. 

"Among the flowers in bloom this month, we have the cowslip, primrose, violet, and daisy. Surely, none of us, not even those who have not seen the green lanes and verdant meadows of the old country these 16 years past, can forget these delightful little flowers of our childhood. They are flowers that have through life an indelible impression upon the memory, which time cannot efface, and which, in after life, call forth many pleasing and may be profitable reflections. Of what do they remind us but of the sunny days of youth, when, in joyous company we gambolled on nature's carpet, thoughtless of the fleeting present, and free from anticipation, without a thought upon the future? Age may creep upon us early settlers, but our memory is good and never will we forget our lovely favorite flowers."   The Colonist, 27 October 1857. 

Gifter: Jane Needham.
Planted: 2021. Fernery.

Saxifraga umbrosa - London Pride (x 23).
An evergreen rosette with spoon-shaped, waxy-edged leaves and tall airy spikes of starry white flowers with a pink flush, white in summer. Mat forming. 

Catalogue: 1872-1873 William Martin, Fairfield Nursery, Saddlehill Road, Green Island, Dunedin.
Supplier: Wake Robin Nursery, Balclutha.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2018. Flower bank. Later removed to Rose Arbour. 

 Snapdragon Bolivian Antique

Snapdragons along the path

Snapdragon flower

Snapdragon, Bolivian Antique.
Biennial. A mix of yellow, cerise, red etc. All mixed up and striped.

Catalogue: 1878 W.W. McCardle, Masterton
Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Horse paddock fenceline, flower bank. 2018. Rose arbour.

Bee friendly.

 Snapdragon NZ Heritage Yellow

Snapdragon, Yellow.
Biennial. New Zealand heritage. A classic traditional yellow coloured snap dragon.

Catalogue: 1878 W.W. McCardle, Masterton.
Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Horse paddock fence line.

Bee friendly.

Viola tricolour Heartsease

Viola tricolour. Heartsease.Johnny Jump Up
The original wild pansy. Likes a sunny position. Flowers over a long period.

Supplier: Mr. Fothergill's Seeds.
Gifter: Claire Bibby.
Planted: 2019. Flower bank, top edging.

Violet

Violet [unidentified, therefore named Thelma Phillips]
The violet, a favourite Victorian flower. We wanted to know the name of this flower and consulted Clive Groves of the famous Groves Nurseries of England, founded in 1866. The nursery holds the national collection of Viola ordorata and Parma violets, which we discovered by way of  'The Story of the Clevedon Violet' on the internet, and 'The Victorian Flower Garden' by Jennifer Davies.

Clive Groves responded "I cannot match it up with any I know, I have been through photos I have taken over the last 10 years." He consulted a friend and concluded "I am sorry to say, we have drawn blank, there are many, many cultivars, but this one is very distinct in shape, so I think between us we would have named it if it was an existing variety, which means, it is either a very old one that we have lost track of or, which is probably more likely, a new seedling which has evolved from cross pollination, in which case, it might be a good idea to put a name to it, to make sure it continues, it is definately worth looking after...look after it, it’s a good one."

We then went back to our gifter, Hazel, and she told us her story of the violet, which was from her mother Thelma's garden.

Thelma Phillips (married name Thelma Mrytle)  was born on 23 May 1901 and passed away in 1986. She lived all her married life in Rama Road, Kaupokonui, Manaia. At that time Kaupokonui had only a General Store, Farmer's Supply Store and a Dairy Factory (now closed). Thelma was a keen gardener and grew all the vegetables for the family of 12 children. Hazel went to Auroa school.

Hazel biked to the main road to catch the bus to Hawera High School - leaving her bike carefully concealed behind a roadside gate. She left home at age 18 years. She recalls her mother picking violets for the house and the scent of violets in her bedroom. Thelma gave Hazel a piece of the violet from Rama Road to plant in Hazel's own garden on The Terrace in Wellington when she shifted there 50 years ago. The violet was treasured all those years and gifted to the Heritage Gardeners in 2017.

Photo of violet double white to come

Violet double white
A strongly scented double white violet.

Gifter: maddy schafer.
Planted: 2021. Flower bank.

 Wallflower

Lilac wallflower

Wallflower, Henrys Dwarf.
Biennial. New Zealand Heritage. Low growing, mixed colour, scented wallflower, from plain white to mauve to mixed with yellows. They flower all winter and early spring.

Catalogue: 1878 W.W. McCardle, Masterton. Specifically, listed, colours of sulpher yellow and orange.
Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Flower bank and horse paddock fenceline.

Butterfly and bee friendly.

zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia.
Annual. Summer and autumn colour. Brightest and long lasting with great cut flowers that also attract the butterflies.

Catalogue: 1878 W.W. McCardle, Masterton.
Supplier: Koanga Institute, Wairoa.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Flower bank. Horse paddock fence line. 

Butterfly and bee friendly.