Secret to be shared
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.
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.