Trees in Landscape

This post is all about trees in the landscape. It includes a variety of trees that Nigel’s photographed in the UK and New Zealand. I’ve put it together in response to Leya’s  Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #50 – Trees  with a focus on landscape because Nigel is a NZ-based landscape architect. –Ms. Liz, Exploring Colour

All photos in this post taken by Nigel Cowburn


New Zealand cabbage tree, Cordyline australis, growing in a pastoral landscape. It has panicles of white flowers, see RHS. Iconic native tree.


Cabbage trees near Clutha District Council, Balclutha. Interesting form where the old fronds are being retained on the trunks. Eye-catching group!


Travelling overseas a few years ago, we found it really interesting to find native NZ plants growing far from home. Below at the  Eden Project  in Cornwall (2010) we found our native Pittosporum eugenioides or lemonwood being grown as standards. Native trees in New Zealand are rarely shaped (except as hedges for shelter).


Lemonwood has beautiful flowers that perfume the air with an intoxicating scent. The photo below was taken by a rural road in Southland, New Zealand.


Here’s another native NZ tree, Griselinia littoralis or broadleaf. It’s very common for this tree to be used for hedges in NZ. But this isn’t NZ, this is at  Heligan  in Cornwall, also in 2010. The scallop invites the visitor to peer over the hedge…


and your curiosity is well rewarded..


Back down south here in NZ, an old farm garden with a much wilder appearance – yet the trees still inspire admiration.


Recalling the scallop shape in the hedge at Heligan, here’s another scallop shape for a very different purpose. This South Island shelter hedge must be kept away from the high-tension powerlines. If Nigel designed the planting for this situation he’d use trees where the natural maximum height doesn’t interfere with the wires.


Let’s have colour.. here’s a stunning NZ native tree in full bloom, brightening up a dreary Invercargill street with golden blossom. Our native kowhai (Sophora species).


Colour isn’t always about the flowers or foliage, it can also be the bark. Nigel took this photo of a pollarded plane tree in Alexandra, Central Otago (NZ).


Form and function. Here’s a beautiful farm treescape that we admire on every trip to Dunedin – it’s right by the highway.


Even formal plantings can inspire fun. I kidded Nigel to pretend to pull this tree out of the ground and he put on a great performance. His caption for the photo.. It’s easy!


In 2011 we visited  The Alnwick Garden  in Northumberland and it was a magic garden experience, a highlight of our travels. Here are two photos from the garden.

English beech

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlatanus orientalis roof trained

A bright and colourful tree to finish this post.. Nigel found this painted tree sculpture at Wanaka (near Queenstown), New Zealand.


Text by Liz, photos by Nigel; Growplan (2019)

15 thoughts on “Trees in Landscape

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  1. I like the idea of the lemonwood scent…must be a great amount of scent when it’s coming from something as big as a tree! 🙂

    1. Yes you’re so right Ann. Nigel took a cutting once of a nice looking poplar – it grew quickly and we planted it by our driveway, quite near the house. We had no idea that it was a balsam poplar and come springtime we wondered what the wonderful perfume was. Eventually we realised it was the poplar, which we’d planted right in the path of the prevailing westerly wind. It was magic, a very happy memory. I found you on Twitter about an hour ago btw so you’ve got a new follower 😉

      1. Cool – I noticed that someone had come to my blog through Twitter and realised that I should really use it again… 🙂 I have enjoyed the scents in the garden this year – including the lovely perfume of my neighbours’ very large philadelphus (mock orange).

  2. Pittosporum eugenioides is a popular large hedge in the Santa Clara Valley. It really does quite well here, and does not want much water once established. The cabbage trees, which we know as dracaena palms, were popular during the Victorian period. Several lined Winchester Boulevard in front of the Winchester House until the road needed to be widened.

    1. Dracaaena? how ever did anyone confuse Dracaena with Cordyline – our cordylines grow in some very tough places with min tempereatures down to ~-15C. Dracaena by contrast don’t grow well here outside of Auckland where it seldom freezes.

      I’m glad you have Pit eugenoides, we also call them lemonwoods


      1. The only dracaenas we have here are those that are grown as houeplants. There are a few in Southern California, but they are not common, and we tend to know the difference between dracaenas and what we know as ‘dracaena palms’. However, you would not believe how many so-called horticultural ‘professionals’ try to tell me that they are not really dracaenas, but that they are ‘palms’. Seriously!

  3. A varied and informative post! Love it that you have so many native trees, and that the trees are rarely shaped. Love the kowhai!

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