July 21, 2017

A Bit Blue

Plants from Middle Earth

Garden Maine’s New Zealand Extravaganza – Celebrating a Completely Unexpected Journey

Anna Paton Photo | Festuca actae

Anna Paton Photo | Festuca actae

Don’t let this fescue fool you. Festuca actae is actually rare and endangered in its native land of New Zealand. This perennial grass forms a dense mound of blue with fine foliage. Reaching about 18 inches tall, it flowers on stiff stems that rise above the foliage. Prominent seed heads develop after pollination. The plant originates in the Banks Peninsula, which is just south of Christchurch on the South Island and has the most prominent volcanic features of the South Island.

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Photographs kindly provided by Anna Paton of Auckland, New Zealand, at Auckland Botanic Gardens in November 2012. For a brief interview with Anna, click to read here.

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“New Zealand’s flora is described as being unique due to our long isolation many thousands of years ago. We have some 2,357 different plant species and approximately 80% of them are endemic, meaning they don’t occur anywhere else in the world.”

– From the Auckland Botanic Gardens website

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How did all this come about? You can read about how Janine Pineo of Garden Maine found Anna Paton, more than 9,000 miles away, as the crow flies. If a crow could fly 9,000 miles like that. Click here for that story.