Plants for special women

Article originally published by: Kiwi Gardener

Rachel Vogan shares some of the most special plants which add that little bit of something special to a garden and home.

Whether it be a mother, daughter, your sister, mother in law, aunty, neighbour, life long friend or companion. Mother’s Day is the time to acknowledge those special ladies in our lives that love, nurture, protect and care for us unconditionally. Narrowing down the list of plants that represent those qualities is personal and not easy. Here are but a few special plants you could consider this year to plant or give to that someone special. Choose a special way to acknowledge those special ladies on Mother’s Day with plants or fresh flowers.


For me, picking a posy fresh from my garden is what I get the most pleasure out of – giving and preparing – selecting whatever looks best or appeals to me on the day always makes me feel good. Gifts from the heart are the most precious of all. This posy is just roses and seed heads from Fatsia japonica. Simple, yet lovely.

Functional and Fruiting

Being the barer of many things, a fruit tree could be the perfect idea to reinforce the sentiment of motherhood. For even with the smallest of areas, granny flat or the like, an upright, vertical ‘Ballerina’ apple or grafted dwarf peach and nectarines could be the answer. Not only are they pretty with the blossom and generous with tasty fruit, but they also provide somewhere for birds to perch and be fed.

Floral and symbolic

Cyclamen is associated with farewell, resignation and goodbye, therefore they are the ideal gift for someone moving house, leaving work or relocating. Also known as winter florists, cyclamen enjoy a position in good light, away from drafts and a consistent temperature. Avoid placing them in front of the air conditioner or heat pump.


If you’re looking for a bright, fragrant and reliable social climber, then maybe the sweetly scented honeysuckle is an option. Not only does Lonicera sempervirens ‘Sulphurea’ look good, but folklore states that honeysuckle symbolises devoted affection. Now if that’s not a good reason to plant this climber I am not sure what is.

Pretty perfect

A little ray of sunshine. For less than a cup of coffee, you can pick up a handful of polyanthus. Nothing symbolises love and nurturing, like the reliability and flowering power over the coldest and darkest months like polys. Rather than growing them from seed, look for chunky potted colour or plants that are already in flower, or divide up your own existing clumps and get more polys for free. The more you plant the more they give.


For centuries carnations have been a symbol of joy and devoted love. Red carnations indicate my heart and soul aches for you, whereas pink carnations mean I’ll never forget you. Now is the time to take carnation cuttings if you have a few plants at home that are special to you. Take some side cuttings and place somewhere warm for a few months to root, then share them around your loved ones. ‘Otaki Pink’ is an oldie but a goodie for both perfume and picking. Its close cousin, dianthus ‘Memories’ is a new one with white flowers with intense fragrance.


With the most delightful perfume and hardy of habits, these ground-covering perennial violets are such generous plants. At home in both sun or shade, you can totally neglect violets and yet they seem to be happy to reward you with blooms each winter and spring. Varying in colour from the intense purples like this one pictured here through to doubles, pinks, mauves whites and lilacs. Make room for them. Perfect pot plants too. And, what’s more, as their habit forms a dense mat on the soil, they keep weeds at bay. A win, win for you and the garden.


For a well behaved tree, with large fragrant flowers and a neat habit for either a pot or a border, the dwarf evergreen magnolia ‘Little gem’ is a great choice. If you fancy something more flamboyant then it’s fairly hard to go past its deciduous relative magnolia ‘Genie’ or ‘Vulcan’. No matter what the choice is, these hardy trees stand the test of time, just like mothers do.

Sand saucer


Get the kids involved in the garden too. They love making sand saucers and crafts. It’s a fun job for a wet day and the holidays. Loads of flowers work well, hydrangeas and delphiniums are excellent as they have loads of flowers on each stem. Berries, shells and even little animals add to the overall picture, and if kept moist the arrangement will last for days.