This native shrub possesses year round good looks, thanks to glossy, deep green, oval shaped foliage. It adds a subtropical look to gardens, yet will tolerate cold winters, which makes it useful for creating the popular bold foliage look even where the climate is far from subtropical. It also makes a standout hedge, handsome as well as extremely useful, happy in all sorts of situations, from inland gardens with deep soil through to sandy beach gardens. Once established, after the first year or so, it is extremely drought tolerant and it’s also unconcerned by poor soils.
As a hedge its colour and attractive leaf shape make it superb as a background to other garden features, be they bright flowers, bold or subtle foliage, sculptural or architectural features. It’s ideal for privacy and shelter, standing up to wild winds with ease. It makes a great background hedge for a selection of bushy, free flowering, hebes such as the new Hebe ‘Ohau’ and the enduring favourite ‘Waireka’. Another point in favour of Griselinia ‘Whenuapai’ as a hedge is that the foliage is a delight to handle when you have to clear away the trimmings - it doesn’t have a disagreeable smell, is nice and soft so you don’t have to put on gloves to pick it up, and it breaks down quickly and is excellent added to the compost heap.
Griselinia ‘Whenuapai’ looks striking with dark coloured foliage, such as burgundy and red cordylines (cabbage trees) of which ‘Midnight Star’ and ‘Purple Tower’ are some to look for. Other natives to combine it with include bronze ake-ake, Dodonaea viscosa ‘Purpurea’, sculptural Astelia ‘Silver Spears’, and flaxes (Phormium) of which there are some exciting new varieties in a range of colours and sizes. A group of Phormium ‘Twisted Sister’, a new, compact flax with an amazing curl to the broad, short, orange edged leaves, and the green, low growing tussock grass Carex comans ‘Frosted Curls’ planted in front of Griselinia ‘Whenuapai’ makes quite a statement.