NZ House & Garden - - GARDENS -

Waikanae is rated as true Mediter­ranean. There are some frosts out­side of the “gar­den area’’ of the town and blus­tery north-west­er­lies in Oc­to­ber/Novem­ber.

of com­post.

and pep­pers.

Rich soil through the ad­di­tion of large quan­ti­ties

The ligu­laria range used as a ground cover and cor­ner fillers.

When plant­ing, spend more time pre­par­ing the hole, both in width and depth, and adding the best in­gre­di­ents to suit your new plant.

An ad­justable metal prong-head rake – great for clear­ing up the two mil­lion or so fallen camel­lia flow­ers each sea­son.

Camel­lias, rhodo­den­drons, vireyas, hy­drangeas, roses, clema­tis, maples, mag­no­lias, olives and av­o­ca­dos.

Scar­let run­ner beans, toma­toes

Once the soil was re­ju­ve­nated, an ar­chi­tect was en­gaged for a canny and thrifty trans­for­ma­tion of what was a 70s cream brick bun­ga­low. A pri­or­ity was large paved out­door rooms. One area out­side the dining room can sit up to 50, and of­ten does. The Cu­bitts en­joy host­ing regular vis­its from gar­den­ing clubs: up to 2000 peo­ple a year come to see their gar­den.

Did they have an ini­tial de­sign plan? “Not a plan,” says Mal­colm, laugh­ing. “It is a mat­ter of look­ing at an area and what will go there.’’ This is a bit of an un­der­state­ment, given the lush sanc­tu­ary they have cre­ated, with stunning fo­liage contrasts and glow­ing colour com­bi­na­tions, such as a bright red rhodo­den­dron along­side maples and a man­darin tree.

“It is a ‘busy’ style, I sup­pose,’’ he says. “Cer­tainly not English Coun­try.” He pauses for a mo­ment: “It is an ac­tive, grow­ing con­glom­er­a­tion of to­tally in­ter­est­ing plants!’’

The bare beds un­der­neath the camel­lias were built up and un­der­planted with hy­drangeas, daphne, rhodo­den­drons and more, plus clema­tis and abu­tilon for the birds. Curv­ing lawns sur­round the rear of the prop­erty and se­cret paths wind be­hind the tall shady beds, edged with liri­ope and salvias and a neat buxus hedge. An old shade house has been trans­formed into a per­gola planted with the climb­ing roses ‘Sally Holmes’ and ‘Sum­mer Wine’.

Although they en­joy hav­ing a gar­den full of sea­sonal colour and change, it is not a low-main­te­nance op­tion. Mal­colm es­ti­mates he sweeps up a stag­ger­ing 2.1 mil­lion spent camel­lia

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