Introducing the Hen House Garden

 The start of my new garden.
The Hen House

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...

The Hen House Garden starts at the old hen house under the fence-line gums and reaches out along the water race to Duck Lawn. It began life with two distinct areas, namely a New Zealand native plants border and a Rugosa rose border. For the first time in my gardening life I was going to have one theme in one section of the garden. I impressed myself. Oops. You can guess what happened next. First some spare rugosas sneaked over the dividing path. Agnes, I'm talking about you!

All Change

Then a Coprosma and a Corokia quietly joined the roses, for foliage reasons. Then the native border got bigger and all sorts of exotics muscled in. The final betrayal was the planting of two Scarlet oaks, plus some bluebells on the native border's edge. Oops. This was not the New Zealand forest look!

So all the plantings quickly became completely messed and mixed up. It's a common trap for gardeners whose garden design sense consists of intuition, faith, and the contents of the local nursery's bargain bin. Maybe the same thing has happened to you.

Moveable Paths

Things are not settled in here yet, and paths continue to moved around in an attempt to restore design order. The large overhead trees suffer, too, in snow and wind storms, and some winters there is much chain-sawing. The recycled rugosa roses have had to settle for afternoon sun only in high summer, causing quite a lot of sulking (and shifting). New Zealand shrubs include Pseudopanax, Hebes, Phormiums (flaxes) and Cordylines, Renga Renga, and Pittosporums, plus a beautiful New Zealand Pepper tree.

 By the water race.
Blue Irises and Ferns

There's a network of paths to explore, with one edging along the water race. Here the more obviously exotic plants like Gunnera, Hostas, spotty Ligularias, and Japanese Irises are planted.

Rooster Bridge is the official entry over the water to the Hen House Garden. The hen house, oozing rustic charm, used to have some lovely egg-laying hens in official residence. Regrettably at the moment I am chookless, so my hen statues in Henworld have to fill the gap. And what exactly is Henworld? You may well ask...