Garden Tour #4
Wai Tata (near water) - Rapaura Springs Garden Marlborough
Welcomes to part two of my three day of tour as part of the Garden Marlborough festival.
Just as each tour had a different theme, each tour for me was a different social experience. The first tour (which you can read about here) was one of solo exploration. This second tour was one of meeting people. While the gardens were marvelous gardens to visit, I think talking with fellow gardeners was the highlight of the day. My tour day started with a quiet yet assured voice asking if it was ok to sit beside me on the bus, of course I said, secretly delighted. Chatter quickly followed as we feel into conversation centering on the simple pleasure of finding out where are you from and how did you come to be on the tour. Once we had vetted each other, we then settled into the comfortable routine of finding a kindred spirit. The bus departed and we were off to our first garden.
The bus pulled up to a drive way and the garden owner, Huguette, jumped onboard with life, enthusiasm and a wonderful accent to give a quick explanation of her garden. Gardening for Huguette, like most of us started, had started as a quiet something and over the years had grown into the creation of a wonderful romantic garden with echoes of Manet’s Giverny in the form of the weeping willows and bridge over a stream. My bus buddy was off promptly on the hunt for a specific plant. I admire her knowledge and vigor. I on the other wandered off at my own pace, following paths under roses and walking along deliciously filled flower beds heading to what is the pinnacle point of the garden, the stream. It was such a beautiful clear spring. I was enchanted by it. The creation of many little stories or spaces along the stream meant that you could quietly wander without bumping into others to often. You could sense how if you were left alone in the garden you would move from secret corner to another as the sun moved around the garden over the course of the day. While we did miss the hydragenas which this garden space is famous for it was an wonderful way to the start the day.
What I learnt: The stream gave so much to the garden in a very subtle way and I loved how it looked so different from different angles which showed how much thought had gone into the creation of the garden.
It seemed to be a day of independent women creating garden spaces that reflected who they are and what they wanted. Pat shared stories of how her garden was created and the tale of the removal of the vineyard row to enhance the view from an arch in the hedge - it was a bit of a scandal. She was also excited to share the cloud pruned trees that make up part of the garden. For me the garden was expansive and open with lots of green space where I can imagine family playing along side the more formal grand aspects of the garden, in a way reflecting the different aspects of Pat’s roles in life. The corners I liked to seek out in this garden are the ones which were often made of multi layers of shrubs and flowers built and interwoven together that surrounded the garden, little secrets were to be found in these spaces. The stream was one of these little secrets, contrasting the more formal water features which were the main focus of the garden. Pat had done a wonderful job in marrying sculptures into the garden, they often appeared emerging from foilage which hinted at the history of the garden, it had been given time to build into itself. There was also a beautiful coral coloured Abutilon which a number of us were taken with and I would love to get my hands on, if anyone has seen on
What I learnt: To be courageous and follow where your curiousity leads you in how you create your garden.
The Garden of Chris Fletcher
A lot of the gardens we visited were rural , which meant the gardener’s had acess to space. Chris Fletcher’s garden is urban and on a smaller scale but it was an ever so inviting and a wonderful exercise in use of space and colour. It was a full garden with many gorgeous plants lining the fence and the along the outline of the house, this resulted in the tour group following one another single file around the circumference of the section. As we walked around we were greeted with pops of red in either plants or furniture which added contrast to the manner vibrant layers of green. Veggies appeared in one corner and we all fell in love with the peonies at the gate that were ma in laws. Chris uses vertical space wonderfully and as you walked the path around the circumference of the garden you feel like you are on an urban forest path. Despite the smallness Chris had cleverly created rooms and themes using every inch of her land for garden. I loved the ideas of using ever inch of the garden.
What I learnt: That you can create a lot in a small space.