Sunday, November 6, 2016

A garden near lake Tekapo

The crevice garden of Michael Midgley
Just a few years old, this crevice garden was designed and built by Michael Midgley, a delightful outdoorsman who hosted Jan and me last week on my tour of New Zealand. Michael and his wife Wilma have operated various businesses in the Tekapo area for decades, and Michael had a large complex of gardens around a guesthouse complex they owned and recently sold: he's concentrated his energies on this smaller, but very densely planted crevice garden and its nearby borders: the nearly 100 pictures that follows were taken literally in a matter of minutes before we sat down to a sumptuous meal. I've had many a tour in many a country--the New Zealanders are second to none in hospitality and generosity. Their gardens are unbelievably diverse: the modified Maritime climate (bordering on steppe here in Tekapo) permits a range of planting options that quite frankly are almost depressing to those of us who live where subzero cold is more common and hotter, drier summers strain true alpines. You really have to be here to believe it!

Lewisia cotyledon

Helianthemum numullarium

Rhododendron 'Elizabeth', R. 'Mayday' and others

California iris--mostly I. douglasiana (probably a seedling). He has grown scads of these: his old house still has vast stands. From a sales table--labeled a PC.

Euphorbia myrsinites: classed as noxious in Colorado, I saw it in a pot in the alpine house at Kew! Invasive is highly relative.

A cross between (Iris 'Los Angeles' x I. aphylla) x aphylla made by Michael Midgley​

Dutch iris, Lithodora diffusa 'Grace Ward' and Rhododendron aff. 'Elizabeth' et al.. I LOVE this color combo!

Michael has nany SDB and other bearded species and hybrids everywhere...

Lithodora diffusa 'Grace Ward' with Anemone nemorosa behind at left...

Iris tectorum 'Album'

A generous spread of Gentiana acaulis

Tulips still blooming

Raoulia hectori

Penstemon rupicola

Penstemon davidsonii

Phlox--probably douglasii forma

A charming dwarf Primula (Dodecatheon) pulchellum. Yes they're primulas now (DNA doesn't lie)

Riverbed Roulias knitting the flagstone walk

Primula veris

Acaena inermis

At the neighbors next door  (the bug is contagious)

A bunch of Camichaelia (not blooming) the NZ broom: Michael collects these and has an amazing assortment.

Celmisia alpina x semicordata

Ranunculus multiscapus

Cytisus x kewensis

Hyacinthoides (Scilla) sp.

Iris innominata hybrid

Iris cristata

Rhododendron cv

An American hybrid Rhody

Kalmiopsis leachiana

Rhododendron augustinii

Ranunculus insignis

Paeonia mlokosewitchii

Clematis paniculata

Cydonia oblona

Phlox subulata cv.

I love the color on this wallflower!

Erysimum sp.

Androsace sarmentosa

One of innumerable New Zealand Clematis sp. in the garden.

Phlox 'Crackerjack' I believe

And yet MORE Raoulia

Paraquilegia sp.

A superb color form of Phlox grayi

Views of the crevice garden

More views of the crevice garden

Leucanthemum (Chrysanthemum) hosmariense

Erigeron aureus self sowing

Primula vulgaris (Semi double)

Myosotis colensoi

Celmisia angustifolia

Hepatica nobilis

More Phlox subulata

Raoulia x loganii (Michael says this is the hardiest)

Helichrysum intermedium

Dryas octopetala 'Minor'

Morisia monanthos

Edraianthus (Wahlenbergia) serpyllifolius 'Major'

Lewisia tweedyi (right)

Saxifrage medley

Saxifaga x urbium cv.

A very good color form of Erigeron compositus on the left, and a superb form of Sempervivum arachnoideum on the right.

A large mossy Saxifrage.

Helichrysum milfordiae. Two days earlier I'd been informed this was impossible to grow in NZ

Celmisia sessiliflora

Leucogenes grandiceps--South Island Eidelweiss--not yet in bloom..

Ramonda nathaliae 'Alba'

Anchusa caespitosa

A lavender NZ Myosotis (a hybrid produced by Louise and/or Peter Salmon of Hokonni Alpines.)

Gentiana acaulis

A wonderful pink mossy Saxifrage. — in Tekapo.

Cassiope lycopodioides

Rhododendron camtschaticum (pink and white)

Great foliage and flowers to come...

More views... 

Salix hylomatica (formerly nepalenss) over yet another Raoulia

Erodium reichardii (or chamaedrioides)--definitely not hardy outdoors in Denver.

A strip of herb garden

A volunteer seedling Raoulia on the driveway.

A glimpse of the side yard

Aloe polyphylla, growing in a container on the balcony year around!

A glimpse of a flower stalk

A wonderful New Zealand clematis

A native NZ clematis with glimpse of mts. beyond

A native NZ clematis

Another native NZ clematis

Cardiocrinum giganteum

Last glimpse at Molly the Witch and the native clematis

One last glimpse


  1. Simply wonderful, how did we miss this horticultural paradise on our visit?

  2. This is precisely why I don't want you visiting my garden. It is simply unworthy.

  3. I don't agree, James: I know I'd love your garden and undoubtedly blog about it too! I have no doubt that you have oodles of plants Michael doesn't: all gardens are worthy!

  4. This is a fabulous collection. They all seem other worldly to me.

  5. I have been planting since ag five. started with sunflower seeds. Now I have almost 50 plants in my apartment and more on my roof.

  6. Fabulous garden with an incredible range of plants, all grown so beautifully........of course, I admit to being pea green looking at clemisias, lithodoras , raoulias etc etc etc, that can’t be grown here.

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A garden near lake Tekapo

The crevice garden of Michael Midgley Just a few years old, this crevice garden was designed and built by Michael Midgley, a delightful ...

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