There is a place in the world that many know as the location of Middle Earth. Others know it as New Zealand. New Zealand is a place where the landscape is rugged yet pristine. The plant diversity of New Zealand is extraordinarily fascinating. In an area known as Marlborough on the north shore of the south island of New Zealand, known for its world famous wine region and breathtaking beauty, comes a daisy of untold beauty. Now this is not your ordinary daisy. It is a daisy of heavenly horticulture. Let me introduce you to Pachystegia insignis commonly referred to as the Marlborough Rock Daisy. Pachystegia insignis can be found in its natural habitat climbing, so to speak, and thriving in the crevices of rocky areas and cliffs of the mountains in the Marlborough region. Of all places, I first saw this plant growing in a glasshouse at the Berlin Botanical Garden in Germany.
When I first saw this flower in bloom I was truly taken by its super cool patterned buds. Something about the naturally tiled texture made my planting design senses tingle.
Pachystegia insignis is considered an evergreen shrub. It grows up to 3 feet tall and wide. It outfits itself with handsome leathery leaves edged in downy white tomentose felt-like fuzz. That tomentose texture continues on the underside of the foliage and coats stems in woolly white. In late spring/early summer, flower heads patterned with sophisticated geometric forms rise, are held above foliage, and open to reveal ivory white daisies with buttery yellow centers. To witness these plants in bloom is to stare into the face of nature's purity. Beauty uncontaminated. Otherworldly and absolute.
I have grown Pachystegia insignis in both northern and southern California. It does great in rock gardens, looks cool when paired with delicate looking grasses, and thrives in average, well-draining garden soils. I just think its such a cool plant because around these parts you'll never see anything like it! Pachystegia insignis like full to part sun conditions, well-draining soil, and can tolerate hot/dry conditions with occasional water when established. They're hardy down to around 15 degrees fahrenheit/-9 degrees celsius. If you find one of these babies...snatch it up and claim it as your own! Its silver scintillation will satisfy your plantaholic desires and purify your garden lovin' soul!