Hen House Garden Tour

An old rustic hen house sits by the boundary fence, over the water race. I started the Hen House Garden here in 1999. Evergreen New Zealand natives were to go here, a collection of rescued rugosa roses there, and so on. My digging gradually spread upstream on one side of the water.

But all too soon the shrubs got mixed up together, and now rugosa roses pop up everywhere - I just love them. The paths are forever changing, as quick-growing shrubs are accommodated, or even chopped down.

The Hen House itself is unoccupied at present, with some ceramic hen statues filling the void. Overhead the towering Eucalyptus trees whoosh in the winds, their trunks dramatic with swirls of white bark. Wander around the paths and you'll find something you like - it might even be the feathery spirit of a beautiful Plymouth Barred Rock. That's a hen, by the way...

Introducing the Hen House GardenIntroducing the Hen House Garden...
Imagine an old wooden hen house, charmingly rustic, nestled under huge gum trees, with the sounds of nearby running water. Rugosa roses spread their flowers through a border filled with evergreens. Across a mulched path majestic Phormiums sway, while bees buzz around lavenders and Oak trees stretch slowly skyward. Hmm...
Hen House Garden ImagesHen House Garden Images...
I often feel sorry for the Hen House Gardens. They're far from the house, and are often the last gardens to be visited, cleaned up, and photographed. But they are beautifully peaceful, foliage-filled with leafy greens. Alas, only ornamental hens live here now.
Duck Lawn in AutumnDuck Lawn in Autumn...
Duck Lawn is one of the most peaceful lawns in the Moosey garden. Because of Rusty the dog it is now duckless, so a tired gardener and attendant cat can rest here without him barking and disturbing nature.
Wattle Tree by the Hen HouseWattle Tree by the Hen House...
Under the Eucalypts and Wattles by the Hen House the ground is dry and difficult for plantings. In 2002 I started encouraging Pittosporums and Hebes to grow underneath the tall trees, and it wasn't long before things were starting to look good.
Rugosa Rose Hips and LeavesRugosa Rose Hips and Leaves...
Do I need lots of reasons to love rugosa roses? Of course the flowers in spring and summer are just lovely. But then I remember the wonderful autumn leaf colour, and the red rose hips which brighten my garden throughout the winter.
BluebellsBluebells...
Swathes of bluebells underneath glades of Oak trees - such was one of my early visions for my country garden. But this is not England, and I learnt very early on to celebrate my special place in the gardening world - New Zealand.
Rooster BridgeRooster Bridge...
Rooster Bridge is the gateway to the Hen House garden borders. Just across the water a dog-path wanders along close to the water race. There are many exciting foliage plants in the garden by the water.
Garden Bench by the DarmeraGarden Bench by the Darmera...
The Hen House Garden only has two seats. This wooden bench sits by the water near a slowly spreading clump of Darmera. It takes time to reach this secluded spot, and the journey is definitely worth it, even if the hot cup of coffee might be a little cold!
Early Flowering Hen-House RosesEarly Flowering Hen-House Roses...
The rose parade in the Hen House Gardens starts early with the yellow Rugosa Agnes and the once-flowering Kordes rose Fruhlingsmorgen. Both these shrubs are big and beautiful.
Cistus ShrubCistus Shrub...
Cistus shrubs are always available in the nursery bargain bins and plant sale tables I visit. This white flowering Cistus is on the edge of Duck Lawn near the water race flaxes.
Rugosa Rose GardenRugosa Rose Garden...
The rugosa roses in this part of the Hen House garden flower early in summer. There are many assorted perennials in between them, and some flaxes and grasses to add all year round texture.
Welcome to HenworldWelcome to Henworld...
Good (and serious) gardeners are allowed a few quirky things in the garden, to bring a few giggles. Henworld is my personal quirky garden space - a circular garden designed as a 'playground' for my hens.
The Hen HouseThe Hen House...
You can't have a whole garden area named after you and stay hidden in the background of all the photographs. Here is the famous Moosey Hen House. Oops - the photographs are a bit old...
Green AsteliaGreen Astelia...
Astelias are another spiky New Zealand native shrub which I love growing in my garden. And there is nothing nicer than the clean green variety, shining in the beautiful New Zealand summer sun.
New Zealand Native ShrubsNew Zealand Native Shrubs...
There are New Zealand native shrubs throughout all my garden, but the Hen House Gardens has quite a collection of foliage evergreens. In the early days, when this garden was cleared, I tried to group the natives together in one area.
Hens in the Hen HouseHens in the Hen House...
Finally, the finishing touches have been made to the Hen House Gardens. Some proper, well-behaved hens and a cute rooster are installed, and a chook run has been built. Long may the egg laying continue!
Irises by the WaterIrises by the Water...
The rich blue flowers from these Japanese Irises by the water can finally be seen and properly enjoyed. My rational clearing of overgrown Phormium Tenaxes (flaxes) from the edge of the water race has born fruit - or in this case, flower.
Echinops ThistleEchinops Thistle...
Webmaster son, who takes a lot of the photographs of the garden, thought that this Echinops thistle was a weed, and took a close-up just to annoy me. It backfired.
Canna Tropicanna LilyCanna Tropicanna Lily...
The striped leaves of Canna Tropicanna are multi-coloured, and look extremely beautiful in this close-up photograph.
Trough PelargoniumsTrough Pelargoniums...
The concrete trough was originally placed here for stock water. Each year I fill it with variegated cherry red flowering pelargoniums, which I promptly forget to look after.
Perennial DaisiesPerennial Daisies...
The Hen House Gardens are fast turning into a foliage feast, but there's still space for hardy perennial flowers on the sunny side by the lawn. In summer it's hot and dry, and I've planted a number of perennial daisies here.
Blue IrisBlue Iris...
This glowing mid-blue iris grows in the Hen House Garden on the side of a little path. I have to keep the neighbouring Hebes well trimmed to give it enough early summer sun.
AchilleaAchillea...
When you look at the flowers of Achillea Feuerland close-up you'll see that the overall colour effect comes from small separate colours, red and yellow.
Autumn Oak LeavesAutumn Oak Leaves...
The two Oak Trees planted together at the far side of the Hen House Garden are both Scarlet Oaks. They turn quite different colours, though, in Autumn.
Cat on the Oak Tree SeatCat on the Oak Tree Seat...
Jerome the cat looks pensively and lovingly at the camera. She is sitting on her favourite seat - the Oak Tree seat in the Hen House Garden.
Heuchera LeavesHeuchera Leaves...
This close-up shows the incredible design and markings on the Heuchera leaves at the edge of the Hen House Garden. Heucheras naturally grow propped up, so the stones complement their design.
Japanese Iris & PulmonariaJapanese Iris & Pulmonaria...
In its early days the Hen House Gardens had a large Iris Japonica patch. Nearby I planted some Pulmonarias, which grew well in the partial shade offered by their strappy neighbour.
Garden Designer DogGarden Designer Dog...
Here is Taj-dog, my original landscape architect and garden designer dog. He's on a dog-path in the Hen House Gardens. This path was originally designed by him - it's dog-sized, efficient and close to the water.
Lavender, Iris & Canna PlantingLavender, Iris & Canna Planting...
These early plantings in the Hen House border are mainly perennials, planted in between the Rugosa roses. A favourite combination was lavender and Iris Japonica.