Visiting Akaroa

 From the holiday cottage.
Akaroa Harbour View

So here I am in Akaroa, a quaint little harbour 'village' surrounded by semi-rugged hills, in a wee cottage surrounded by huge Camellias, trees breaking into leaf, native evergreens. Through the bush a dreamy view - grey-blue stripes of water, distant lumpy green-brown hills. The bellbirds are tootling. Just now a pair of fluffy quail sauntered along the decking towards me. Oops. Retreat!

Monday 28th October

Immersed in this quiet, contemplative nature scene I also have my colouring-in book, reading books, and a good friend for company. It's just a twenty minute stroll to cafes, gift shops, and the sea breezes and smells of the harbour.

But I am THE most hopeless holiday person! I've found a garden book here, full of ideas for courtyards - Moorish, Mediterranean, Contemplative, Modern Zones, and so on. So now I want to pack up my things and drive straight home, to sweep my patios and decking! What? Oh, and place a terracotta pot of geraniums just so on my antique white outdoor table, and fill other assorted terracotta with Lavenders, and plant the boring green rectangular plastic container with lime green lettuce and red chard...

 Originally belonging to Mrs Munns.
Akaroa Cottage and Rhododendron

So hopeless. Inspiration for a spot of robust patio sweeping? I don't think so. So we are both popping down to the village for a morning coffee, to get me in the holiday swing. Ban that garden courtyard book until I leave!

 They grow so well here.
Green Aeoniums


OK, so we go 'downvillage' for a cafe breakfast and a walk around. Akaroa, originally a French settlement, was created in the 1840s, so it's full of rues and sweet 'historic' cottages. But all I've seemed to notice are home-owners - lots of them - hard at work sweeping, brushing, and raking their patios and deckings. I am not making this up. Aargh! I can't get away from it. My patio-sweeping consciousness has been raised. It's alarming. A spring holidaying partial failure, I am.

Next Day...

I am re-inspired, returned from THE most wonderful garden visiting experience. I've been to a whimsical mosaic sculpture-filled garden called The Giant's House. It's just amazing, top world-class, worth a long flight to come and see. The artist lives in the old restored house, which offers a Bed-n-Breakfast. Now there's an idea...

I can't remember being so amazed, entertained, thought-provoked, etc. ever before in someone else's garden. As I wandered around the Giant's House, over lawns, up steps, past Aeoniums and Echeverias, I felt continual wonder.

 Filled with succulents.
Mosaic Grand Piano

How vibrant and clever! No, more than clever, scarily creative, with beautiful colour, form, art, and craft. I will never, ever be tempted to try and replicate the mosaic sculptures that I saw today.

Wonderful large scale and small scale pieces, in a wonderful garden setting. Wow, wow, wow. Look, even if I broke a favourite plate. I just couldn't do anything like the artist (Josie Martin) has done.

And Now I'm Back Home...

Aha! The perfect antidote to my crazy courtyard-cleaning mood. Thoughts of sweeping patios flew completely out of my head. The urge to de-moss my decking suddenly became insignificant, compared with such beautiful garden art. Phew! I drove back home over the hill, carefully if a little dazed, inspired to 'get out more'.

 Those lawns have just been mown.
My Messy Decking

But not to do mosaic sculpture for my own garden - I'll leave that to the expert.