Love (and a garden) in a Warm Climate

Our daughter Elizabeth has a garden at Lyttleton on the South Island of New Zealand.
It is an overused word, but her garden really is ' lovely'
 
Lyttleton is a quirky village ....lots of old characterful wooden houses, arranged around the slopes of a volcanic harbour.  At the bottom of the hill is the port for Christchurch.
The busy Port and the comings and goings of container ships and ferries make Lyttelton a real lively place.

Lizzy's garden is a real cottage garden in all senses, though without livestock as yet.

She has bowers of roses and native plants side by side, and beds of annuals and old fashioned flowers like columbines next to lush rows of potatoes and beds of silver beet and kale.  Leeks and many coloured lettuce and fruit bushes backing up and filling border gaps.
 
If Lizzy has learnt anything from her nurserymen parents, it is to feed and to make compost, both of which she does.
 
New Zealand is blessed with warm summers and mild winters, but with enough of a chill in the winter to ensure the plants have a real rest season and know where they are.
Elizabeth has also learnt our love of annuals and the garden is hence ensured of pots of summer colour - cornflowers, pot marigold, cosmos, and lots of sweet peas.
 
And here and there are the native plants, flax, southern beech, ake-ake.  All happy and thriving and full of birds in the early morning and late afternoon. You have to love the liquid notes of the bell birds and the fantails, along side naturalised European birds, the yellowhammers and goldfinches and black birds.

She has to water a lot with the dry New Zealand winds and strong strong sunlight. This will become less as she builds up the humus and fertility in the soil.
 
Whilst deadheading in Lizzy's garden today, It struck me that it is the job of every gardener to pass on their soil in better condition than they found it.  Viva la compost!
 
MD Lyttelton.  January 2013

12 comments:

  1. Lovely is the appropriate word, as well as serene and idyllic! Looking at the photos brings a calming sense, she's done a fantastic job with the garden :)

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    1. Thank you guys, you are right, it is calming, it is such a nice garden to just sit in with a glass of local wine and watch the light change on the hills and the water.

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  2. What a 'lovely' garden your daughter has - carrying on your love of plants must make you very proud!

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    1. Thank you Angie, it is great to see all our children love gardening, although Cat's garden in Australia is suffering a lot in the current heatwave.

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  3. Her garden is really very lovely!Cottage garden is a distinct style of garden..very beautiful! I am so glad to have visited this post!

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  4. Oh she has a marvellous garden. Why don't we all live in New Zealand ? That's my type of climate. Meanwhile I'm hunkered down for several months of non-gardening here in Nova Scotia. Sigh ...

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    1. Thank you Sybil, It has been the most lovely warm temperatures this Christmas.
      My memories of Nova Scotia involve a lot of high winds and a lot of thermal clothing, so I can imagine gardening there must be even more challenging than Scotland. Hang in there for the spring.

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  5. I was going to use the same word - idyllic but I see my friends Mark and Gaz have beat me to it. There's such a lovely view over that picket fence though the view from inside is just as pretty with all of those blooms.

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    1. Hi Rosie, I agree, the picket fence and the bunting is ridiculously photogenic. I don't think you can live any where in Lyttelton and not have an amazing view - the price you pay though, is slogging up the steep hill to the front door.

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  6. Beautiful garden, I often think there are similarities between Scotland and New Zealand.

    Pity it doesn't extend to the weather though.

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    1. Hi Alistair, you are right, there are so many lovely similarities and if we all time it right we can live a perpetual summer, six months in Scotland, six months in NZ. From the number of Scots we met in Lyttelton I think it might already be happening :)

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Thank you for leaving a comment - it is always great to hear about other peoples gardens and lives. If you ever drop by the nursery, make sure you say hello. (Margaret & Donald)

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