From veg­gies to Ja­panese gar­den


‘‘Ja­panese gar­dens have a spe­cial magic about them.’’

Philippa Gra­ham de­vel­oped a love for gar­den­ing after help­ing her mum grow a veggie gar­den.

Spend­ing an hour a day on her own plot, she now knows what’s in­volved when it comes to a suc­cess­ful gar­den.

Gra­ham is one of many who will give their gar­den some TLC this month, when Na­tional Gar­den­ing Week be­gins on Oc­to­ber 6.

The week aims to get ev­ery­one into the gar­den, whether ex­pe­ri­enced or just start­ing out.

Start­ing off with suc­cu­lents while flat­ting, Gra­ham’s gar­den­ing ex­per­tise has ex­panded to in­clude citrus trees, wild straw­ber­ries and flow­ers.

Work­ing at Kings Plant Barn in Auck­land only fu­elled her love of gar­den­ing. She saved plants from end­ing up in the tip and in­stead gave them another chance at life.

Now hav­ing two young sons of her own, Gra­ham is ready to pass on the wa­ter­ing can.

Two-year-old Kal likes get­ting out in the gar­den, but it’s more like get­ting ‘‘the snails and the worms’’, Gra­ham said.

In her back­yard she built a play area for the kids, which she said took a bit of work tak­ing out the grass and fill­ing the area with stones. A cir­cle of tree trunks dou­ble as seats or step­ping stones.

All that is left to do is scrape off the fun­gus that’s grow­ing and wait for the sun to come back out.

But de­spite be­ing a novice, Gra­ham’s dream is to have a Ja­panese gar­den in her back­yard.

‘‘Ja­panese gar­dens have a spe­cial magic about them,’’ she said. ’’Prob­a­bly stem­ming from all the an­ime I watched over the years.

‘‘It feels like there is al­ways a mean­ing be­hind what is used in their gar­den­ing.’’

One of Gra­ham’s favourite things about her hobby is the sur­prise it brings - es­pe­cially when there’s weeds around, she said.

‘‘Every­thing just starts pop­ping up but it’s amaz­ing what you find un­der­neath all that. I am a gar­dener that puts [seeds] in and then I for­get about it and I’m sur­prised when it does come up.

‘‘What­ever mum has of seedlings left over I just chuck in the gar­den and if they grow, they grow.’’

Na­tional Gar­den­ing Week re­turns on Oc­to­ber 6-13. Courtesy of Yates, Hamil­ton Press has a gar­den­ing starter ham­per to give away val­ued at $100. To en­ter, email your name and con­tact num­ber to kel­ley.tantau@fair­fax­me­ En­tries close Oc­to­ber 8.

Philippa Gra­ham’s dream is to have a Ja­panese gar­den in her back­yard.

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