Colour­ful cot­tage

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES - By SUE FEA

Step­ping into the splen­dour and breath­tak­ing sur­rounds of Queen­stown artist and au­thor Da’Vella Gore’s de­light­ful sprawl­ing cot­tage gar­den is like en­ter­ing the grounds of an old English manor. But there’s noth­ing man­i­cured or planned about this 4ha scenic sprawl. Clus­ters of flow­ers and trees have lov­ingly evolved around rock beds, wa­ter­falls, ponds and a cen­tral stream. It’s taken 15 years of hard labour against very dif­fi­cult odds to de­velop this ex­quis­ite Lake Hayes gem – one of the star gar­dens on the itin­er­ary for this year’s Queen­stown Plun­ket Gar­den Tour fundraiser on De­cem­ber 1. Colour­ful, per­fumed plants line the pic­turesque hill­side over­look­ing Lake Hayes – a spa­cious cot­tage gar­den sur­round­ing the de­light­ful Gothic chapel she cre­ated from re­cy­cled

Queen­stown Plun­ket Gar­den Tour (self-drive)

Dec 1, 10am till 4pm

Meet at Queen­stown Events Cen­tre, 9.30am, for map dis­tri­bu­tion.

$25, in­cludes Devon­shire Tea and tour of eight gar­dens. Avail­able from BNZ Re­mark­ables Park and Queen­stown branches, Har­courts, Queen­stown Plun­ket or call Queen­stown Plun­ket on 03 442 7380 for phone or­ders. in­te­ri­ors of his­toric South Is­land churches. Her dream project has been won­der­ful ‘‘heal­ing ther­apy’’ af­ter a se­ri­ous car ac­ci­dent left her fight­ing for her life, con­fined for many months in a wheel­chair then on crutches. Work­ing with her son Wayne, the two have de­vel­oped one of the Wakatipu’s most un­ri­valled wed­ding venues. A bou­tique vine­yard bor­ders his Me­dieval-style Stoner­idge wed­ding re­cep­tion venue, which has served as the per­fect set­ting for film­ing the Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion se­ries, The Bach­e­lor. A prom­i­nent artist turned au­thor of six books, Gore has also of­fi­ci­ated as cel­e­brant at more than 1000 wed­dings. Her vast gar­den with its stun­ning views and au­then­tic stone chapel set amid ponds and wa­ter­falls, sur­rounded by roses and laven­der, is the ma­jor at­trac­tion for wed­ding cou­ples. ‘‘It’s essen­tially an English cot­tage gar­den. ‘‘The bed­ded irises, peony roses, laven­der and roses are the flow­ers I love the most. ‘‘I just love the ex­quis­ite colour com­bi­na­tions,’’ she said. It’s been an up­hill bat­tle build­ing up good qual­ity soil. ‘‘I’ve had to mulch a lot be­cause of the stony ground. It was freedrain­ing grav­elly soil when I came, hard to dig. It’s like rock in sum­mer.’’ She’s bat­tled ev­ery el­e­ment imag­in­able, low-qual­ity soil, low rain­fall, rab­bits and hard frosts. Plants that do well in a dry cli­mate, such as laven­ders, roses and her beloved bed­ded irises have thrived. Na­tive kowhai, and bot­tle­brush trees with their beau­ti­ful red flow­ers, at­tract tui and bell­birds. ‘‘The bird song here in the morn­ings is just beau­ti­ful.’’ The artist in her is drawn to colour de­tail. ‘‘I’ve tried hard to con­cen­trate on blues, mauves and vi­o­lets. I also have quite a lot of white. It lifts a gar­den, as do sil­ver-grey plants; they give a feel­ing of peace and rest.’’ Beau­ti­ful roses sur­round the chapel, their plucked petals ready in bas­kets to shower on happy cou­ples. Tucked at the rear of the prop­erty, open­ing out from the wine tast­ing/ cafe area of her home is the de­light­fully, quaint Se­cret Gar­den with its peace­ful, stream­ing wa­ter­falls, rock gar­dens and pond. This re-opens for sum­mer on Novem­ber 23. ‘‘It’s a lovely lit­tle shel­tered area where peo­ple love to en­joy our wine, barista cof­fee or a panini in the sun.’’ It’s been a hard-fought jour­ney through five years of re­cov­ery and nine op­er­a­tions. ‘‘God gave me a vi­sion right from day one. I didn’t have to labour or ag­o­nise over it. I give God the glory. I could never have done it with­out my faith,’’ she said. Near­ing re­tire­ment age, she’s thrilled that she can now hand over the reins to her son to ‘‘carry on the dream’’.

A pic­ture: Da’Vella with her beau­ti­ful pe­onies.

Rus­tic beauty: A stream leads to a pond be­neath a stone bridge.

Spe­cial place: Da’Vella in front of the chapel in her

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