Sunday, April 10, 2011

Revenons à nos moutons

Okay, it's been six weeks or so since we've come back from New Zealand, so I guess it's time to get back to business. But I'll segue in slowly by reporting on my favorite New Zealand garden.

This was on our free day in Queenstown, when I joined a local garden tour. Of the three gardens we visited, this was far and away my favorite. Patricia was described by our guide as an excellent plantswoman, and she did indeed know her plants by both Latin and common names (which you'd think would be SOP for a gardener but it's not). She had a great enthusiasm for gardening that came through in every detail and comment she made. Here she is under the arbor near her pond, looking an awful lot like my dear, dear mother (surely part of her charm for me).


Her house was nestled, New Zealand style, in a gently sloping site and surrounded by evergreens of various colors. This combination can seem too garish but here I thought it worked perfectly. I especially liked the varying textures.


This is her wild garden with a typical New Zealand view of hills beyond.

Here is an example of her architectural use of trees.

A couple examples of plants I admired: hebe, a native plant you find everywhere in New Zealand that takes many forms

loosestrife, this a yellow one, that does not appear to be as invasive as ours

yellow plums worthy of a poem - she picked some up and we ate them out of hand as we walked along

rugosa roses, this I think Rosarie de l'Hay

a Chamaecyparis waving in the breeze

And then a small, beautiful, productive vegetable garden. In high summer she was harvesting everything from Swiss chard to tomatoes

I also loved her bird statues by the pond, a pair of pokekos. I saw others for sale on our travels but none were quite as charming as these.

But we really bonded over her sedums, for which I have formed a new affection. Like a true gardener, she could not resist showing a fellow devotee her sedum bed-in-progress, which really did not look like much, but the two of us could see the potential. In the meantime, she had several sedums planted in front.


I can't remember what they were called, but I particularly liked the purple one. I promised her that I would think of her when I planted sedums at home, and I will.

I'm sure New Zealand will creep into this blog again, but for now I'm turning back to my own garden.

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