I am well aware I can bore most of my family and friends with garden talk although they usually try to hide the fact, it is noticeable how they pick up the pace if looking around the garden with me. My husband loves the garden as a beautiful environment but only has interest in the edible plants, although, he has started to absorbed some names such as Heliconia, Alstroemeria and Schizopetalus. My sister is my main garden enthusiast and has a beautiful garden herself but is 7 and a half hours away by car so here I am writing my first blog so I can share my experiences, both successes and failures with other keen gardeners or garden lovers. Maybe I can start sharing cuttings and rhizomes with other Kiwi gardeners.
My love of the tropical all started with Dad being transferred from Wellington (south of the North island) to the warmer climes of Auckland (north of the North island). The smell of warm rain on the earth and the sight of so many exotic plants excited me but it wasn’t until I was 21 that I really experienced the true tropics. Myself and a group of friends spent 5 weeks in Samoa for the 21st birthday of one of those friends who was brought up there, and whose family still lived there. It was a wonderful time spent often in the back of a pick up truck on our way to yet another beautiful beach and passing through wonderful coastal and rain forest scenes.
I’ll fast forward here to early marriage and mortgage days. We bought a six acre block of land and a rotting house in Taranaki where we farmed emu, pigs, sheep and a house cow. It was a beautiful property with a river running around 2 sides of the house but the garden was much smaller than our present one as I had my own glass blowing studio and most creative energy went into my glass designs. When possible we escaped winter by going to somewhere like Bali or Rarotonga, highlighting both our desires to be somewhere warmer and preferably coastal.
14 years later and we are on the East coast, I no longer blow glass and couldn’t find a replacement that excited me as much, so the garden grew until it has become the obsession glass blowing was to me. It keeps growing and changing, sometimes I can feel ill at ease with a plant setting until finally I move a plant maybe only 6 inches to the left or right and find I can now have my coffee without the feeling of things being all wrong.
Well that’s how I came to be gardening in a zone 9-10 garden and as I can’t afford sculptures or wooden furniture for the garden, I make my own from ferro cement and in the case of furniture, driftwood. My sister helped me with the daybed below and looking out from the daybed you see my first water feature.