REAL GAR­DENER

Land­scape de­signer, florist and gar­dener Jules Moore chats with SARAH THORN­TON about her love of all things botan­i­cal.

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A de­signer’s gar­den

It’s fair to say Jules Moore has had a life-long love of gar­den­ing. At the age of eight she was pot­ting up flow­ers picked from the road­side and by 10, had cre­ated her own nurs­ery in a spe­cially built leanto on the fam­ily home’s ve­randa, prop­a­gat­ing plants ready to sell.

Jules says she in­her­ited her par­ents’ and grand­mother’s love of gar­den­ing and knew from a very early age it would be her call­ing.

“My grand­mother, Nana Joan, and my mum were keen flo­ral artists and dad was a gar­dener and a bush­man, of­ten tak­ing me on bush walks through the back blocks of our Taranaki sheep sta­tion. Mum had an amaz­ing gar­den at home on the farm, of­ten host­ing peo­ple around her two acres of Aza­leas, old fash­ioned va­ri­eties of Rhodo­den­drons and gor­geous spring bulbs.

“In those days they used saw­dust as mulch and one of my clear­est mem­o­ries is the macro­carpa saw­dusty smell in the gar­den. On the days we’d have vis­i­tors, I’d set up my nurs­ery un­der the trees and sell my plants.”

Un­like most 10 year olds, Jules would spend her hard earned in­come on more plants in­stead of ice cream or lol­lies, “rein­vest­ing” at Bar­bara Jury’s nurs­ery down the road.

“It was an ab­so­lute high­light go­ing to Bar­bara’s nurs­ery, which was full

of amaz­ing rare peren­ni­als and the mag­i­cal Barn­haven prim­roses. I have al­ways loved un­usual and rare plants, trees and flow­ers. That nurs­ery was my happy place.”

By 15, Jules was work­ing ev­ery week­end in a lo­cal gar­den cen­tre, and cre­at­ing flower ar­range­ments for lo­cal wed­dings, us­ing her self-taught floristry skills. “I wanted to be a florist and land­scape de­signer but couldn’t choose, so I did a hor­ti­cul­ture ap­pren­tice­ship with the Parks Depart­ment in New Ply­mouth. At the end of my study I was awarded Top NZ Apprentice and re­ceived the city’s Rose­bowl Cup. For a woman in a male dom­i­nated in­dus­try, that was quite a feat. But I’m very driven, a trait I also in­her­ited from Nana Joan.”

Over the next 35 years, Jules would go on to build an im­pres­sive land­scap­ing ca­reer in all cor­ners of New Zealand. “Hav­ing my

own busi­ness com­bines my love of hor­ti­cul­ture, gar­den­ing, land­scape de­sign­ing and build­ing. There was never any ques­tion about what I would do!”.

Jules’ home in River­head, north-west of Auck­land, is the base of her land­scape de­sign busi­ness, JM Land­scap­ing, and is also home to House Botan­i­cal Ltd, a busi­ness that in­cor­po­rates cut fo­liage, wed­ding floristry, an­tiques and plants. Al­though she and part­ner Marty only moved in three years ago, the prop­erty has un­der­gone a ma­jor trans­for­ma­tion.

“We have a view of the river and the house is sur­rounded by an acre of bush. I started land­scap­ing it two years ago - by 2020 our plan is to host wed­dings along­side my de­sign and nurs­ery busi­nesses.”

Jules’ gar­den has a for­mal, dis­tinctly French feel. Large stone cir­cu­lar walls, crafted by a lo­cal stone­ma­son and a vin­tage glasshouse with church win­dows, wooden floors and a chan­de­lier cre­ate a beau­ti­ful set­ting for wed­ding cer­e­monies.

Away from this prop­erty she also has a large un­der­cover nurs­ery, with two staff. “It’s fan­tas­tic to be able to grow most of the hedg­ing and sub­trop­i­cal plants our­selves, es­pe­cially my favourites Dyp­sis ba­ronii palm and Buxus ‘Green Gem’ balls.

Jules uses an­tiques to com­ple­ment her plant­ing scheme, which gives a French vin­tage feel to the gar­den. “There are bold urns, wrought iron pieces and old gal­vanised troughs sit­ting amongst the per­go­las with buxus spi­rals. We painted the house black and white and ren­o­vated it to fit with the theme of the gar­den, com­plete with French doors and un­usual an­tiques. The cir­cu­lar mo­tif is re­peated through­out the gar­den, which makes it quite dramatic.”

Al­though the gar­den was orig­i­nally in­tended to be planted in a pal­ette of green and white, that changed once Jules dis­cov­ered some new plants.

“There are lots of very large Buxus balls, Astilbe, white Zant­edeschia ‘Elfin’ and ram­bling old fash­ioned

“I be­lieve ev­ery plant should have a pur­pose in the gar­den – for smell, for cut­ting or as fo­liage.”

roses, es­pe­cially some beau­ti­ful pink David Austin ones. I found some Siberian irises called ‘Swans in Flight’, which are dou­ble white pen­cil irises. They sparked me up - I love any­thing a bit dif­fer­ent or rare!”

Jules is be­com­ing well known for her Zen in­spired de­signs, an in­flu­ence that she is in­cor­po­rat­ing into her up­com­ing New Zealand Flower and Gar­den Show dis­play. She has had great suc­cess at the Show in pre­vi­ous years, win­ning two Peo­ple’s Choice awards, mul­ti­ple Gold awards and judges’ com­men­da­tions.

“I’m go­ing to cre­ate some­thing spe­cial around the phi­los­o­phy of Zen. The dis­play will be dif­fer­ent to my ear­lier Show gar­dens – this will be more holis­tic and evoke emo­tion when you come into the space. I am us­ing Ja­panese plants in the gar­den, in­clud­ing a dramatic Ja­panese Maple as my fea­ture tree and Pachysan­dra ter­mi­nalis – a bril­liant ground­cover that gives a min­i­mal look and feel.”

In her work as a land­scape de­signer, Jules says while sub-trop­i­cal plants are al­ways pop­u­lar choices, she loves to “mix things up”.

“When I de­sign I like to work with the senses and bring an el­e­ment of sur­prise into a gar­den, in the form of scent or lay­er­ing to cre­ate a three di­men­sional ex­pe­ri­ence.

“At the mo­ment I’m us­ing a lot of irises, par­tic­u­larly ‘Ka­boom’, ‘White Swan’ and ‘Cae­sar’s Brother’ and any­thing scented. The Galan­thus, tiny white snow­drops are beau­ti­ful, as are Gar­de­nias. I of­ten use rare bulbs and blue­bells – they re­mind me of my child­hood and spring time. I’m al­ways sniff­ing them! I be­lieve ev­ery plant should have a pur­pose in the gar­den – for smell, for cut­ting or as fo­liage.”

Jules works with gar­dens of ev­ery size and utilises her build­ing skills into the hard and soft land­scap­ing; skills she ac­quired ear­lier in her ca­reer. She says the trend of house sec­tions get­ting smaller has re­sulted in many peo­ple find­ing it dif­fi­cult to cre­ate a bal­anced gar­den.

“It’s about bal­ance and pro­por­tion and cre­at­ing lay­ers within the gar­den us­ing plants, struc­tures, sculp­ture or gar­den art,” she says. “By us­ing clever de­sign you don’t nec­es­sar­ily need to use large spec­i­mens around the boundary of your prop­erty to screen for pri­vacy, but rather in­cor­po­rate a struc­ture like a per­gola or raised planters closer to the house, mak­ing that your pri­vate oa­sis in­stead. The house and gar­den then be­come con­nected, bal­anc­ing the land­scape.”

Ap­pro­pri­ate plant­ing is also key for smaller spa­ces. “For ex­am­ple, use palms like Dyp­sis ba­ronii that get to 4m high and layer smaller plants un­der­neath to cre­ate a 3D ef­fect. Queen palms that reach 10m high will dwarf the house – it al­ways comes back to bal­ance and pro­por­tion”.

Jules’ Zen gar­den will be on dis­play at the end of Novem­ber at the New Zealand Flower and Gar­den Show. Find out more at www. nzflow­er­gar­den­show.co.nz

Be in to win a dou­ble pass to the New Zealand Flower and Gar­den Show! En­try de­tails on page 38.

“I like to work with the senses and bring an el­e­ment of sur­prise into a gar­den.”

OP­PO­SITE: The clas­sic forms of Jules’ home and gar­den sit beau­ti­fully against a nat­u­ral back­drop of na­tive bush and old pine trees. TOP: Ja­panese For­est Grass (Hakonechloa) ABOVE: Iris, Buxus and Helle­borus ‘Ivory Prince’.

Jules Moore

ABOVE: A re­cently com­pleted rock re­tain­ing wall con­tains a raised lawn area, ideal for wed­ding cer­e­monies.RIGHT: Jules’ pot­ting shed.

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