Se­cret to be shared

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By DANIELLE STREET

FIONA Flem­ing barely no­tices as traf­fic from the har­bour bridge whizzes past her front fence.

She has cre­ated a tran­quil scene in­side the stone walls sur­round­ing her Herne Bay home­where vis­i­tors step over a water-lil­lied walk­way to be greeted by a gar­de­ni­as­cented greenspace.

‘‘I like that it’s a se­cret garden and peo­ple don’t really know what’s be­hind the wall.

‘‘There is such a di­chotomy with the busy traf­fic on the other side,’’ she says.

But her se­cret will soon be out.

Ms Flem­ing will be open- ing her yard to hun­dreds of peo­ple for the Heroic Gar­dens Fes­ti­val later this month. The fes­ti­val gives ticket-hold­ers ac­cess to 24 of Auck­land’s most stun­ning pri­vate gar­dens across two days.

Ten of the gar­dens are new en­trants to the fes­ti­val.

Money raised from the ticket sales goes to sup­port Mercy Hospice’s on­go­ing work of pro­vid­ing free care to pa­tients with life-lim­it­ing ill­nesses.

‘‘It’s such a won­der­ful cause and it’s easy to share a garden,’’ the fes­ti­val first­timer says.

The back sec­tion also boasts a se­ries of tiered gar- dens – mak­ing good use of the small space.

The flour­ish­ing lay­ers have been devel­oped over the last two years from hum­ble be­gin­nings as a back­yard of knee-high weeds.

Ms Flem­ing draws her in­spi­ra­tion from the Mediter­ranean and her garden is graced with a mix of cy­press trees and rose bushes.

‘‘I had come from quite a for­mal, clipped garden, so even though I wanted it balanced I didn’t want any­thing that was matchy­matchy,’’ Ms Flem­ing says.

There is a rain­bow of staked to­mato plants and let­tuces are dab­bled through­out raised garden beds.

Rounded top­i­aries give the garden a sense of strength.

‘‘It’s lovely when there is noth­ing much else in the garden.

‘‘You’ve got th­ese lovely big punc­tu­a­tion points when the weather is dark and grey and wet.’’

Ms Flem­ing says the gar- den is the per­fect place to come on a sunny af­ter­noon with a cup of tea and pot­ter about. She is of­ten joined by the cat.

‘‘Min­nie just loves it when I’m in the garden and she plays,’’ she says.

‘‘I call her the prop­erty man­ager.’’

Ms Flem­ing will be on hand dur­ing the fes­ti­val to an­swer ques­tions about her garden but hopes to make some time to visit other par­tic­i­pat­ing gar­dens.

The Heroic Gar­dens Fes­ti­val takes place on Fe­bru­ary 23 and 24.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Greet­ing greenspace: Fiona Flem­ing is wel­com­ing vis­i­tors as a first-timer in the Heroic Gar­dens Fes­ti­val.

Go to auck­land­c­ity har­bournews.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see more pho­tos from Fiona Flem­ing’s garden.

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