"This clump is about a metre across, the flower heads of this Pleurophyllum are spikes of blackish 'button' type daisy flowers."
I am so taken with these images of the Megaherbs that grow naturally on the Campbell Islands in New Zealand. It is the mix of big luscious thick green plants with the grey brown grasses that I find so beautiful. It is a look that I want to try to recreate in a garden somewhere.
The two most dominant herbs in this image are Stilbocarpa polaris and Pleurophyllum hookerii. The rust coloured rush is probably Marsippospermum gracile.
From wikipedia: "Megaherbs
are a group of herbaceous
perennial wildflowers growing in the New Zealand sub-antarctic islands
. They are characterised by their great size, with huge leaves and very large and often unusually coloured flowers, which have developed as an adaptation to the harsh weather conditions on the islands. Livestock introduced to the islands in the 19th century severely reduced the megaherb population, to such an extent that by the late 20th century the megaherbs were threatened with extinction
. Since the removal of the livestock in 1993, the megaherbs have regenerated successfully and dramatically. They are described as "the outstanding botanical experience of New Zealand"
Update: It has been many years since I originally wrote this post and upon re-discovering it, I am re-inspired to update it with some ideas. Some of these ideas are from the comments (Thanks Louise!) - as always - if you have others - do share.
Carex, Little bluestem, panicum and Muhly grasses lend themselves to the grass layer here. Viburnum, fothergilla, Witchhazel, lindera,blueberries, Mt. laurel and rhodies and bayberry, rosehip and more,lend themselves to the shrub layer, Forbs can include many of the aroid famiy (skunk cabbage) Bergenia, epimedium, bearberry,heathers, hosta, polemonium, lungwort,
images by markfountain52, Forest & Kim Starr by CC, courtesy of Monrovia, cam miller by CC