Dog-Path Garden Tour

The Dog-Path Garden reaches along the water race between Middle Bridge and Willow Tree Bridge. During my first digging sessions I watched Taj-dog snuffling along the water's edge, poking his nose into the messy grasses. This is how I coined the phrase 'dog-path'.

The building of the first proper bridge opened up a huge new garden area, and my first plans were rather watery. I imagined marginals, swathes of water-loving foliage plants, and so on. But gradually, in small ways, my grand dreams were remodelled.

My original dog-paths were water-side, just wide enough for a streamlined dog to travel along, and thus the garden was named. Rusty, the current Moosey dog, tends to travel in the water, rather than use the dog-path his predecessor designed. I love the different features of the Dog-Path Garden, even if the path itself is a shadow of its former self. Enjoy yourself, but take care not to wobble off the path and into the water - it's usually quite cold!

Introducing the Dog-Path GardenIntroducing the Dog-Path Garden...
When a sturdy wooden bridge was built across the water race in 1999, work on the Dog-Path Garden began at once. The old gorse hedge was gone, and the double row of gum trees were felled and cleared away. Goody! I immediately went into full water-feature mode.
Dog-Path Garden ImagesDog-Path Garden Images...
The Dog-Path Gardens are always changing, as trees and rhododendrons grow larger each year. Maybe some Pittosporums will be chopped down, or limbed up. Here are my most recent images of the Dog-Path Garden. You'll see that many feature the autumn tree colours. So beautiful!
Iris confusa ChengduIris confusa Chengdu...
It's a rare occurrence that I know the proper name of one of my unusual plants. This slowly spreading foliage iris, Iris confusa 'Chengdu', was bought from a small nursery south of Moosey's Garden, in Dunedin. What pretty pale blue flowers!
Cercis Forest PansyCercis Forest Pansy...
Possibly the most beautiful small specimen tree in the Moosey garden is a Cercis Forest Pansy. It has wine-red heart shaped leaves which colour spectacularly at the first hint of autumn.
Dog-Path Garden in AutumnDog-Path Garden in Autumn...
Rusty the dog Likes to come with me when I'm photographing the garden. In autumn that means a lot of trips around the Dog-Path Garden, where the autumn trees and shrubs are changing colour almost daily. It's a beautiful season!
Cornus Florida - Dogwood TreeCornus Florida - Dogwood Tree...
A Cornus (Dogwood) tree has a space by the Dog-Path, sheltered from the southerly winds by existing Pittosporums. My records name it as Cornus florida. These photographs track its growth, and show off its beautiful autumn colours.
BirdbathBirdbath...
Birdbaths in my garden are not very relaxing places for the birds. They have to be more ornamental than functional, with a number of rather athletic cats in residence.
Spiral Brick CourtyardSpiral Brick Courtyard...
I created the spiral brick courtyard and path in the Dog-Path Garden in autumn, just after the big Christchurch earthquake. The space was airy and light, as the nearby Copper Beech tree was transitioning into leafless winter.
Rustic Garden BenchRustic Garden Bench...
This garden bench, an original rustic beauty, has been in the Dog-Path Garden for years and years. Its overhanging Pittosporum has grown huge, and the Iris japonica has gone forth and multiplied. And finally, after years of being broken-down, the bench is able to be sat on again.
Dog-Path Garden BenchDog-Path Garden Bench...
Halfway along the Dog-Path, by the water race, I've installed simple seat, using an old wooden picnic table top. There are sedums planted underneath and a pink Iceberg rose behind.
Dog-Path Garden RhododendronsDog-Path Garden Rhododendrons...
The Moosey Rhododendron Festival continues into late spring as more new rhododendrons start to flower. In the middle of the Dog-Path Garden a few of these colourful shrubs shelter, snug underneath the limbed-up Pittosporum trees.
EuphorbiasEuphorbias...
It's ironic that two of my worst invasive plants are both Euphorbias. And they are both colonising the Dog-Path Garden. Aargh! Should they stay or should they go?
Nicotiana Sylvestris in FlowerNicotiana Sylvestris in Flower...
I love letting the perennial Nicotiana Sylvestris plants self seed throughout the garden. If I don't like their position, they're very easy to remove - I've had to move them from the Dog-Path Garden paths.
Dogwood LeavesDogwood Leaves...
It's too easy to be seduced by the beautiful flower colour of spring rhododendrons and summer roses. Let's give the trees in the Dog-Path garden the praise they deserve - like this slow growing Cornus (or Dogwood) with beautifully variegated foliage.
Dog-Path Garden PerennialsDog-Path Garden Perennials...
In the Dog-Path Garden there's space near the Copper Beech tree for a small rose garden, and I've filled the spaces between the standard roses with perennials. Favourites are a green leafed Santolina and a red flowering Monarda.
Dog-Path Garden PathDog-Path Garden Path...
The main Dog-Path Garden path runs along the water race. The level of water has risen these last years, and anyone walking along this waterside dog-path needs to take care. Don't fall in!
Dog-Path Garden DownstreamDog-Path Garden Downstream...
Looking downstream, the water race burbles along past the plants, shrubs, and flaxes of the Dog-Path Garden. This is a busy garden, full of surprises, and worth visiting on a hot summer's day.
Copper Beech TreeCopper Beech Tree...
A Copper Beech tree is growing slowly but surely in the middle of the Dog-Path Garden. Perhaps I'll still be here gardening in twenty year's time, when it will be majestic and fully mature. As I should be, by then!
Blue Lupin FlowersBlue Lupin Flowers...
Some of the delights of late spring in the Dog-Path Garden are very, very blue! They're lupins, which grow on the top of the small stone wall near the water. Lots of self-seeding goes on - helpful when the mother lupin plants start getting too tired.
Dog-Path Garden and BridgeDog-Path Garden and Bridge...
Here are two seasonal photographs of the start of the Dog-Path Garden looking downstream towards Middle Bridge. Spring, summer, or autumn - it's impossible to choose one season over another. But I must try and find a summer picture of the bridge, when the Dogwood tree is greener than green.
Koru SculptureKoru Sculpture...
The Koru sculpture sits in a small area of the Dog-Path Garden, originally with Rhapsody in Blue roses and Rosemary for company. The Koru shape is a stylised fern frond, and symbolises new growth.
Trees in the Dog-Path GardenTrees in the Dog-Path Garden...
Trees in the Dog-Path Garden were chosen for their contrasting leaf colour. So there are light greens, and reds, variegations, exotic and deciduous, some limbed up to give space to the flowering shrubs underneath.
Dog-Path Garden RosesDog-Path Garden Roses...
The Dog-Path Garden is a real mixture. Much of it is a shrub and tree-filled woodland. But there's an open sunny area, just past the brick koru courtyard. In here I've planted roses. I just couldn't resist!
Phormiums in the Dog-Path GardenPhormiums in the Dog-Path Garden...
Cornflowers, roses, and assorted foliage plants might jostle for space in the Dog-Path Garden, but the spiky New Zealand Phormiums, or flaxes, dominate the look of the borders.
Sedums by the Dog-Path SeatSedums by the Dog-Path Seat...
Two varieties of long-stemmed sedums flop over the little stone wall by the dog-path and its seat. One has pink flowers and wine coloured foliage, while the other has subtle variegations of cream and pale green. It has creamy-white flowers.
Purple Cotinus Smoke BushPurple Cotinus Smoke Bush...
Further along the grass side of the Dog-Path Garden I've planted a Cotinus - we also call this a Smoke Bush. The leaves are a deep purply-wine colour, and are shown here in a stunning close-up photograph.
Blue and Yellow Pansy FlowersBlue and Yellow Pansy Flowers...
When I'm developing a new area I like to plant in some pansies. These are terribly special ones, grown from a mean spirited seed packet with about ten seeds in it. I guess they must be a fancy new hybrid.
Variegated Japanese IrisVariegated Japanese Iris...
Here are the clumps of variegated Iris Japonica which I've used to fill in some spaces between the old tree stumps in the Dog-Path Garden.
Praying Mantis on Euphorbia LeafPraying Mantis on Euphorbia Leaf...
My web-master son loves taking close-up photographs of the garden. He is crazy about insects and insists on photographing them at every opportunity. It's sensible to let ones web-master show-off - from time to time!
Gaura FlowerGaura Flower...
While the Dog-Path Garden matures I'm happy to fill it up with a mixture of all sorts of plants. Two bargain bin perennials, a Gaura and a purple Verbena are doing really well here.
Cats in the Dog-Path GardenCats in the Dog-Path Garden...
My early photographs of the Dog-Path Garden naturally contain pictures of the early Moosey cats. They helped me so much in my garden, sitting on the stumps and wandering along the paths.
Stone Garden SculptureStone Garden Sculpture...
I use river stones a lot in the garden for edges, and this is a set of left overs from the edge of the Dog-Path Garden. Some might even consider this a stylish piece of garden 'sculpture'...
Man and DogMan and Dog...
The rustic garden bench which faces the Dog-Path Garden is enclosed by a Pittosporum and a Cercis Forest Pansy. Taj-dog is waiting patiently for some action. Non-Gardening Partner is more interested in no action...