Garden Club Spring Trip
Real Country Ornaments
I am off to visit four spring gardens in the country - not too far out of town, just a pleasant drive away. Everything has been organised by my local Garden Club. Yippee! Will I last the distance? A whole day off looking at other gardens...
Check - have I got my cup, plate, and shared-lunch offering? And my picnic camping seat? It's not a floaty-dress day - I'll get more use out of my rain parka and sturdy shoes. We're off in a car convoy, with maps and instructions where to park.
Anyway, garden visiting days always start well for me - the first hour and a half is exciting. There are plant names to show off - ooh, look at that loooovely Omphalodes Starry Eyes! And conversation is easy - when in doubt, say 'And how's your garden going? It's really fun, and Garden Clubs are full of friendly folk.
The Garden Tour Begins...
Our first garden was tiny - a jolly good learning experience for random country gardeners with large paddocks and huge horizons. Much concentration was required, with the appropriate attention to minute detail, and careful balance.
There were so many wee treasures, all packed gently in-between rocks, small stones and garden ornaments. And not even any small weeds to spoil the miniature landscape!
The second garden was a real country garden, a place where the house borders had sneakily expanded into the farm paddocks beyond. A good country garden always has visible mulches - I enjoyed the delightful fragrance of gently rotting pea straw mixed with that of the pine trees.
Country Garden Tree Peony
And the gardener seemed to have a no-nonsense, practical approach which I really liked.
Garden Club Seats
So Far, So Good...
So far, so good. But I had difficulties driving to the third garden, our designated lunch spot - a mysterious force was compelling me to turn the car around and head home. I was suddenly inspired to do some energetic weeding and mad mulching of my own!
The third garden was designer country, with beautiful vistas, delightful avenues, a matching pair of well-planned perennial borders, and a natives-only section with a pond. There was a place for everything, and everything in its place.
And so many garden seats - rustic forms, lounging benches, cafe style tables and chairs, deck chairs... Twenty Garden Clubs in forty busses could have sat down somewhere. But we'd all brought our own...
Vistas and Archways
By now, although I was enjoying the company, I really wanted to go home. Politely I kept my feelings about hiring a famous New Zealand garden designer to myself. Let's just say that no professional plans will ever be laminated and stuck on my fridge!
Off our convoy zoomed to the last country garden, which was refreshingly random. The paths were curved, and the planting areas had all merged into one grand scheme. A bit of this, a bit of that - it was so nice! But then I'm a fairly random sort of gardener, with little design sense. I love to see New Zealand natives shining in the New Zealand sun, fully integrated with spring bulbs and cherry trees, summer perennials and roses. And I love gardens to have a bit of personal fun...
New Zealand Garden
Hurray! I'd done it - I'd lasted a whole day without sulking, getting too bored, or telling a fib and sneaking off early! I proudly zoomed home to hug all the flaxes and cordylines in the Moosey Garden.
I did enjoy visiting these gardens, kindly opened to view by their owners. But I love my own garden more than ever, I love that it has a mind of its own, and I hope it appreciates me!
Thanks to the four Rangiora gardeners for their welcoming hospitality.