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Shrubs and small trees.

The shrubs and small tree selection was made by studying pre 1900 plant catalogues at Alexander Turnbull Library and by reading books about early settler plantings in New Zealand.

The plants were selected for site specific areas at the Halfway House. For example, we wanted to develop a woodland garden with white scented flowers near the house, and we need plants that can withstand damp soil in a low lying wet area near the rose arbour. We searched for wind hardy plants with a permeable structure to grow along the horse paddock fence line.

Several plants have been gifted as cuttings from gardeners who are able to provide their provenance.

The shrubs and small trees are photographed in the Halfway House garden.

Camellia C M Hovey

Camellia C M Hovey.

Japonica. An old popular, free flowering variety with formal, double, large vivid crimson scarlet flowers. Glows in the shade. Late season, Strong bushy growth.

1899 Horton's Premier Nurseries, Pahiatua.

Supplier: Springvale Garden Centre, Wanganui.
Planted: 2021. Woodland area.

Camellia Fimbriata Alba

Camellia Fimbriata Alba.

Japonica. Pure white with formal double blooms that have a finely fringed or serrated edge. Semi-pendulous habit. Happiest semi-shade with acid soil. Evergreen. 

William Mason's Ponsonby Nurseries, NZ Herald, 17 June 1882
Hutt Valley Nursery, Daily Telegraph, 4 July 1896

1868, William Wilson McCardle, Masterton.
1899-1900, D Hay & Son, Auckland. 

Supplier: Wairere Nursery.
Gifter: Claire Bibby.
Planted: 2021. Woodland area.

Photo of flowering camellia to come

Camellia Paolini Maggi. 1855.

Japonica. The International Camellia Register informs that this camellia is described in early catalogues as "Delicate white with a few rose stripes, imbricated" (1855-1856) and "Perfectly imbricated, all the petals transparent, waxy white; sometimes rose flowers" (1881). 

On 2 October 2022, Ann Foster, wife of immediate past Mayor Andy Foster, planted this camellia at the historic Halfway House in honour of her ancestors, Edwin and Mary Bannister. The Bannister family lived across the stream, within view of the historic Halfway House, from c1870 to 1900 on land they owned from 1855. The ceremonial planting was during Heritage Week and was on the occassion of the visit of His Excellency Dr Richard Davies, husband of the Governor General, who planted a rimu tree for the Queens Jubilee.

Gifter: Tony Barnes, editor NZ Camellia Journal.
Planted: 2022. Woodland area.

Photo of Deutzia to come


A deciduous shrub with arching branches covered in scented white flowers originating from the woodlands. Deutzia scabra is native to Japan. Deutzia appears to have been popular as it is often advertised for sale in the early newspapers.

Our plant was grown from a cutting, sourced from a deutzia growing through the street fence frontage in an old garden at 99 Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt. The source deutzia no longer exists.

An old deutzia shrub was growing in the garden at the historic Nott House aka Ivy Bank Farm in Glenside, in 2011.

Deutzia scabra advertised for sale in the Lyttleton Times from 1857.
Deutzia gracilis advertised for sale in the Colonist and in the Nelson Examiner from 1861.
Deuztia advertised for sale in the Hawke’s Bay Time from 1862.

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


Fuschia [name unknown].

Gifted cutting: Golder Cottage, Upper Hutt.
Planted: 2016. Horse paddock fence line.


Hydrangea [name unknown].

A full headed pink flower. Brilliant red autumn flower.

Gifter: Golder Cottage, Upper Hutt.
Planted: 2016. Horse paddock fence line.


Hydrangea Mrs Baddiley  [original name unknown] 

Maida Baddiley lived to the grand age of 106 years. Her hydrangea was originally grown in her garden at 14 Newtown Avenue, Newtown, Wellington. She took it from there to her garden in Paparangi in 1973. It has a rich dark blue flower fading to plum.

Gifter Maida Alexandra Baddiley (1911-2017).
Planted: 2018. Rose Arbour.

Otaksa hydrangea

Otaksa hydrangea 

Hydrangea Otaksa. 

Very old variety from Japan. Coastal, wind and sun tolerant. Large growing. White, may tinge to light pink or blue depending on soil. The smaller flower heads are useful for drying for flower arrangements.

Papers Past: Evening Post, Volume XI, Issue 67, 18 May 1875
Catalogue: 1899-1900 D Hay & Son, Auckland.
Supplier: Woodleigh Nursery, New Pymouth.
Gifter: Pat Lakeman.
Planted: 2020. Two were planted along horse paddock fence line. These died and were replaced with one gifted by Claire Bibby and planted in the woodland area in 2022. This died and Pat Lakeman gifted a new one, which has been planted in a new area and is thriving.

Hydrangea paniculata grandoflora

Paniculata grandiflora in autumn

Hydrangea Paniculata Grandiflora. (x 3).

A distinctive form of Hydrangea with dark green, oval, pointed foliage that turns bronze in autumn. The main event is in spring when there is a spectacular display from the long panicles of frothy cream blossom. The flowers gradually fade to pink as they age. Delicious and deciduous. Colour cream and pink. Upright habit.

Catalogue: 1899 Horton’s Premier Nurseries, Pahiatua; 1899-1900 D Hay & Son, Auckland. 
Supplier: Wairere Nursery, Gordonton.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Woodland garden. 

Kerria flower

Kerria japonica pleniflora.

Double Flowered Japanese Kerria. The Yellow Rose of Texas. Has pom poms of yellow on bare branches in spring and with climate change, we have had a second flowering in mid summer. Came to Kew Gardens in England in 1836.

Gifted cutting: Golder Cottage, Upper Hutt.
Planted: 2016. First planted along horse paddock fence line. They have not done well here, so were relocated in 2023 to the gum tree garden where they get more light.


Magnolia denudata

Magnolia Conspicua aka Denudata. (x 3).

One of the earliest magnolias to flower. White fragrant flowers. Dark green leaves. Specimen tree for lawns and borders, parks and gardens. Growing conditions, full sun to part shade. Tree is frost hardy. Will tolerate all soils from sand to clay as long as it is well drained.

Catalogue: 1861 William Hale, Nelson.
Supplier: Wairere Nursery, Gordonton.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Woodland garden.

Magnolia Liliiflora

Magnolia Liliiflora. (x 3).

Magnolia gracilis Salisb. is a synonym of Magnolia liliiflora Desr. Native to China and introduced to Europe in 1790 this Magnolia has a multi-branched, shrub-like habit. The blooms open from long erect buds and appear for several months over spring. Rich purple on the outside with white interiors. Likes a sunny, sheltered spot with acid soil. Deciduous.

Catalogue: 1861 William Hale, Nelson.
Supplier: Wairere Nursery, Gordonton.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. 3 x rose arbour. In 2023, one began to die, possibly a result of wet feet due to a season of constant heavy rainfall.

Pittisporum midget hedge

Pittisporum midget. (x 100).

Good low growing hedge. Naturally bushy and rounded, it is further enhanced with a light trim. This is an alternative to buxus sempervirens (box) which was commonly used in early New Zealand and since 1998 has been affected by blight in this country.

Supplier: Moores Valley Nurseries.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Formal lawn edge, flower bank edge.

Marquis of Lothian

Rhododendron Marquis of Lothian.

William Martin (1823-1905) of Green Island, Dunedin, bred New Zealand's first registered hybrid rhododendron, Marquis of Lothian, in about 1880. It is considered attractive for its mid-pink flowers and its smooth beige bark.

Supplier: Blue Mountain Nursery.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2018. Rose arbour. One is not very happy, and will be relocated. 

Rhododendron Princess Alice

Rhododendron Princess Alice. (x 3).
Named after Queen Victoria’s second daughter, Alice Maud Mary, 1843-1878. A fragrant Rhododendron with elegant white blooms that open from pale pink buds. Prefers a semi-shaded, sheltered spot in the garden. Needs protection from harsh frost. Evergreen.

Described in the 1899-1900 catalogue of D Hay & Son (est, 1855), Montpellier Nursery, near Parnell, Auckland as Princess Alice: Dwarf habit. Flowers bell-shaped, white tinged with pink; very fragrant.

Supplier: Wairere Nursery, Gordonton.
Donator: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Woodland garden.


Salvia [unknown].

Gifted cutting: Golder Cottage, Upper Hutt.
Planted: 2016. Horse paddock fence line.


Spiraea cantoniensis double white - May Bush

Arching sprays of double white flowers in spring. Bright autumn leaf. Good hedge but prettier when left untrimmed to arch gracefully. 

Gifted cutting: Claire Bibby, Glenside
Planted: 2023. Gum tree shrubbery.

Syringa Lilac.

A clear lilac flower. 

Gifted cutting: Golder Cottage, Upper Hutt.
Planted: 2016. Horse paddock fence line.

Syringa White
This lilac came from the garden of Mary Glover Bibby (1867-1936) at Rose Street, Waipawa.

Gifter: Jan Gosling, Waipawa.
Planted: 2019 and 2020 along Twigland's fence, south-west corner.

syringa persica

Syringa Persica Alba.

White Persian lilac. Delightful, fragrant and harmonious. Panicles of white scented blooms.

Catalogue: 1878 W.W. McCardle, Masterton.
Supplier: Wairere Nursery, Gordonton.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2018. Woodland garden.

Viburnum opulus Geulder rose

Viburnam Opulus. Guelder rose. (x 10).

Broadly columnar, deciduous. White flowers in spring - scarlet edible fruits in autumn. Leaves red in autumn. Prefers moist and wet sites.

Catalogue: 1845 James Dickinson, Hobart.
Supplier: Appleton Trees, Wakefield, Nelson.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Woodland garden (3), rose arbour (6), stream bank (1).

Viburnum opulus sterile

Viburnum Opulus Sterile. (x 3). Snowball Tree.

The main feature of this deciduous shrub is the large globular, white, 'snowball' flower-heads that appear in spring. Forms an open, graceful shrub with green leaves that have good autumn colour. Easy to grow and a firm favourite for good reason. Grows in most soil types. Needs well drained soil. Tolerates wet soils. Frost hardy. Grows in sun or semi-shade.

Papers Past inform us that in 1867, Royse, Mudie & Miller, auctioneers of Oamaru advertised "12 Guelder Rose - Snowball Tree." In 1896 the Otago Witness advertised "Snowball Tree" for sale under "Hardy Spring Flowering Shrubs" and in 1898 referred to the Snowball Tree as Viburnam Opulus. In 1898, The Evening Post of Wellington advertised Viburnum Opulus as the Guelder Rose and Viburnam Plicatum as the Snowball Tree.

 It is a real joy to children who love the ball like flowers. We couldn't resist!

Mr J Joyce, landscape gardener, writes about it, in his Gardening Notes, in The New Zealand Tablet, 1915, describing "a very fine, tall-growing shrub with large white flowers like snowballs - hence the name."

Catalogue: 1867 D Hay & Sons Nuseries, Auckland; 1880 William Martin & Son, Fairfield Dunedin.
Supplier: Wairere Nursery, Gordonton.
Gifter: Celia Wade-Brown Mayoral Fund.
Planted: 2017. Woodland garden, flower bank, stream bank.