Ewen's garden

A collection of columns, paintings and photographs about gardening on an offshore island in New Zealand.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Imagine my dismay on rising Sunday morning to rain! A quick look on the radar indicated rain only over Waiheke and no where else in the whole of Auckland or Northland! More relaxed in the knowledge that this was just a very isolated shower, we headed off.

First stop was the cottage garden of the Goldwaters, where a palate of pale pinks red and white has been used. Further from the house the cottage garden gave way to natives framing a picnic table and beautiful view of the bay

From here we were off to the newly established landscape at “Isola Estate” of George and Judy Hudson. Here in contrast to the cottage garden we had just visited was a design based more on texture shape and form. A beautiful stone bridge spans the first of a series of waterfalls linking a various ponds. At the bottom was a bevy of ducks happily enjoying the water. Very few flowers here except for a pleasing comination of dusty miller Senecio cineraria and a single Japanese iris Iris kaempferi cv.

With no time to spare we were off again to Potai street, and a quick visit to a couple of very different gardens, one of natives and the other a riot of perennials and colour. The new pond at Geoff Willsher’s and Liz Cleaver was graced with a lily and solitary bloom…(how do you do that in time for the safari?) Also adjacent was a spectacular cactus also with one flaming red bloom. Cascading down a bank from the pond was group of Californian poppies Eschscholtzia clifornica. Other noted plants were giant lobelia and many bromeliads.

On to Palm Beach and the garden of Stu Farquhar Where again perennials reigned. A flock of tin pukekos grazed along the top of a bank of mingi mingi Muehkenbeckia sp. around the corner past a bed in shades of blue cream and yellow to a pottager small but perfectly formed, complete with fork ready to upend the beetroot! A small path then winds back beneath native shrubs underplanted with the New Zealand prostrate fuchsia Fuchsia procumbens the smallest fuchsia in the world and opposite a stunning yellow clivia Clivia miniata cv.

Now we even had time to catch a couple of trolly derby races before heading out to Nick Johnstone drive and to Tangaroa. Here on entry adjacent to drive was a spectacular display of the rose ‘Lest We Forget’. After following a flight of stairs lead by a series of potted red geraniums Pelargonium sp. we came to a terrace affording a view not only of the pottager but also glimpses of the gulf beyond. Through the back past a hedge of Teucrium fruticans, trimmed to a precision seldom seen, to a vista over the top of pohutukawas to Motuihe Island all framed with native shrubs in the foreground. Back around to the front of the house to enjoy the more full panoramas of the gulf. It was tempting to just lie out here in the sun, ah well.

Goodwin Avenue took us to the garden of John Freeman where we enjoyed a subtropical garden inspired by trips to Bali. Not least of all was the interesting placement of large bamboo poles. (A note here to John, the flower you had was of the Mexican hand tree Chiranthodendron pentadactylon.) This garden also had many water features all burbling with fountains and not to mention the many intriguing wooden sculptures.

Finally we visited the garden at Givernny Inn. Here the first of the sunset coloured day lilies were starting to make their presence felt around the margins of the spa.

Well I didn’t get to see all the gardens and to those I missed I only hope you are open next time, so I have something to look forward to. To all of those involved thank you for a wonderful day and I hope it has been an inspiration to many to get into their garden also what a wonderful way to support a worth while charity the Jassy Dean Trust.


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