In the spirit of the Famous Five - four garden obsessed women took off down south to have adventures exploring not only southern gardens, but unique landscapes where many of the plants they marvelled over originated from.
IS THE GRASS REALLY GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE THEY ASKED THEMSELVES? - YOU JUDGE!
AND WE CAME TO THIS
A FRIENDS QUIRKY GARDEN ON THE WAY SOUTH
He is actually a very serious gardener who knows how to grow and propogate very special and sometimes rare plants, but we also love what he does with the numerous topiaries he transplanted from his previous large garden - he created a stunning plant army which is possibly more of a statement in this - his much smaller garden than they ever were spread out tastefully in his large country garden.
From man made cleverly clipped topiaries we drove on till we EVENTUALLY CAME TO THIS
GOD'S OWN SCREE GARDEN
fashioned by no human hand
NOT A MOA IN SIGHT HERE EITHER, WHEN, AFTER MANY MORE MILES WE CAME TO THIS - AND MARVELLED AT WHAT THE HAND OF OUR FRIEND COULD DO IN HER GARDEN TO HELP GOD AND NATURE ALONG IN CENTRAL OTAGO.
And we also marvelled at the differences between gardens in different regions. What is so different about gardens in Central Otago compared to Canterbury? Using her regional plant knowledge of Central Otago, Karen has created a beautifully designed and planted garden using grasses, in the au naturel style currently popular in northern hemisphere gardens, but which can be done just as exquisitely here, with or without our own native plants and grasses. Although as can be seen from the above picture, a bit of northern hemisphere deciduous planting goes a long way in adding seasonal colour to many New Zealand gardens.
"My garden flourishes without any watering"
says Jo Wakelin, who lives in arguably the driest spot in New Zealand.
It felt like an honour to visit Jo's garden with her background and knowledge as the principal lecturer in Horticulture at Otago Polytechnic, and here in her garden you can really see how she practices what she preaches! She is not picky or choosey about growing natives in particular - she just grows what will grow here without watering, in arguably the driest spot in New Zealand. No lawn of course - everything here must be sustainable and thrive on it's own merit. And that is not lawns! So all the tough sustainable plants she has chosen to grow, must be capable of bedding and growing in gravel.
The result is nothing looks stressed or dried up - just the opposite. In spite of her environment and the gravel floor, there is a lushness in her garden that many a watered garden has not achieved - is it all about the right plant for the right place?
Passionate about regionally appropriate and sustainable landscaping in dry Central Otago, Jo's plants include Euphorbias in their many and different guises, as well as different varieties of Sedums, Phlomis, Lavenders, Santolina, and Ballota pseudodictamnus.
And now - as they say - for something
And that is in Dunedin - on the Otago Peninsula - the 'South Seas' Garden of Larnach Castle, where all the plants have originated only in South Pacific countries - you will find no northern hemisphere ring - ins here in the South Seas garden. Only plants native to countries of the South Pacific with that exotic form and flavour which no northern hemisphere plant can attain. There are avenues of Chatham Island Nikau Palms - found only in the Chathams, and Sophora endemic to South America, as well as our own well known New Zealand, Sophora microphylla (Kowhai). And ferns, ferns, ferns! And many other South Pacific species too numerous to mention. All to be found at Larnach Castle - that historical and horticultural gem of the South Pacific.