Akaroa Garden Tour 2

The second day of the Garden Tour started off in the rain. We would be meeting famous lady gardeners, all of whom make their living by meeting people like us. And then a very private old couple with an amazing rhododendron garden. Eek!

Garden no. 3 - Open for Business

Garden no. 3 was in the garden business - much money changed hands, and the owner proudly told us of cruise ships often visiting. Everything was laid on very professionally, with much attention to detail.

 Possibly not the most comfortable place to sit!
Rustic Garden Bench

It had carefully placed freshly planted pots, rustic seats placed just so, yellow and white daisies for a friendly feel, lavender rows for charm, a stylish pond with artistically placed dinghy for reflections, a rose-covered walkway of mammoth (and correct) proportions...

 The pond was planted to get the maximum effect from reflections.
Deciduous Azaleas by the Pond

Yes, the garden was beautiful. Yes - but where was the glass-house? Where was the compost heap? No discarded hand diggers, no abandoned plastic pots - it's easy to imagine hoards of hired help wandering around doing this and picking up that! Lovely lawns, though. Memo to the Moosey lawn mower man - perhaps a full mow, twice a week? Hmm...

Garden no. 4 - Cottage Garden

Garden no. 4 was a classic cottage garden, and the owner showed us through parts of her historic cottage, old by New Zealand standards. She gave us a pretty speech, and sold us signed copies of her excellent rose book.

 Exploring and having fun.
The Garden Tourists

A lovely garden - small, and full. Clematis, old fashioned roses, little stone walls, little bits of trellis - and a towering bay tree... But I had the funniest feeling - the garden seats didn't feel sat-on much, if you know what I mean. I hope I'm wrong. Perhaps a small garden means a quick zooming visit, with the bus engine left running...

 Lots of delightful little things to see.
Cottage Garden New Zealand Style

Garden no. 5 - Rhododendrons and Roses

After visiting the two business gardens with their polite plantings and well prepared hostesses, Garden no.5 completely overwhelmed me. The gardeners were a delightful couple, both in their seventies - eccentric and passionate.

Their garden teemed with rhododendrons of every colour imagineable. Borders meandered their way through the paddocks, in neverending swirls of colour. The gardens around the house were stuffed with roses, irises, and perennials - and desperately in need of weeding. Our hosts weren't in the slightest worried by this weedy look - they'd be getting around to it soon.

 The rhododendron garden.
Gardening in Progress

I felt myself relaxing as I listened to their stories. They were rescuers - running a retirement home for pre-loved, no-longer-wanted shrubs and trees. Real gardeners, not knowing when to stop or how to say no, giving us their time so freely, all for the love of gardening...

Bumble Bees and Rhododendrons

'Oh look - there's a bumble bee!' One of the ladies swept purposefully into the middle of the rhododendron border, pointing. Was she simply excited by a striped buzzy thing? Or was it the name of the beautiful purply flowered shrub? I took a photograph, but I really should check...

 Whatever the name, it is certainly a beautiful rhododendron.
Bumble Bee?

Garden no. 6 - Owned by an Artist

Our tour ended at Garden no. 6, which was nestled in a sheltered leafy valley. Ponds, blossom trees, and assorted shrubs formed finger-shaped island borders in the (yet again) freshly mown lawns. This was an artist's house, with garden attached. And, nicely, the only place where a cat and a dog wandered in to meet us.

 A stylish element in the artists garden.
Artistic Pond Decking

And so I arrived home to cast my newly-experienced and inspired eyes over my own garden. The Moosey lawns - aargh! My flaxes and hebes - love you all! And to wonder if I would ever have the nerve to give speeches to busloads of keen retired ladies...