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Many an overseas gardener has tried to replicate plants that flourish naturally in New Zealand. New Zealand landscape designers have won multiple awards at the Chelsea Flower Show and have even earned the approval of The Queen.

The thing about New Zealand plants is – they look even better at home.  Native plants complement our coastal architectural style so well.  Luxury properties often extend and integrate their landscaping with the native bush for a very natural style. We are also seeing properties leading the way with living roofs.

Around the Bay of Islands, some of the more stunning natives include the nikau palms, flaxes and ferns.  Pohutukawa trees are incredible in the way the flowers coincide with Christmas. Their crimson-red flowers look brilliant against the blue skies and oceans in summer.

It’s not all about looks – plants bring in the birds and insects and there’s no shortage of edible gardens.

As a thriving native, flax has had a multitude of uses – for food, medicine and fibre. It has a history of importance, used for weaving baskets, ropes, clothes and fishing line. Flax has bodily applications ranging from ointments and disinfectants to cosmetics.

One of my favourite plants is the puka with its large tropical leaves and another is the nīkau palm. The nikau is New Zealand’s only native palm.

New Zealand has about 200 species of ferns including the silver fern, which is the national symbol. The spiral-shaped fronds of ferns are known as ‘koru’ and you often see that beautiful shape replicated in art and design.

I should also mention the Kauri. They can grow to 50 metres tall. Unfortunately for Kauri, the wood was used for building houses and boats which led to decimation of the forests.  The largest kauri remaining in the country is over on the north-west coast. According to Department of Conservation, this king is 1500 years old, 51.5m tall and over 13m across the trunk.

Today on the Bay of Islands coast, nature is inspiring sustainability and homes which blend in to highlight the natural landscape.

For information on native flora and fauna in New Zealand contact the Department of Conservation.