Q&A

NZ House & Garden - - GARDENS -

I’ve learned over the years: When I plant some­thing I’ve got to do it on a big scale.

Favourite spot in the gar­den: Look­ing across the lit­tle lake [pages 106-107]. The re­flec­tions are beau­ti­ful and change all the time.

Wa­ter­ing the gar­den: In sum­mer I just bucket water out of the lake for plants that need it. My grand­son Harry comes over from next door and gives me a hand.

Help in the gar­den: The lawns are con­tracted out – they take all day.

Favourite plant: I like hy­drangeas. They look beau­ti­ful re­flected in the lakes, but they do need a lot of water. Hours in the gar­den: A cou­ple of hours a day, but some­times it is just sit­ting in the shade read­ing a book. Robyn Tan­ner

“It’s just a mat­ter of car­ing for the rest of the trees, as they are get­ting re­ally old and need to be nur­tured along.”

The shel­tered na­ture of the gar­den is ideal for new plant­ings of maples, flow­er­ing cher­ries and mag­no­lia. Na­tives have been added too – kauri, mānuka, rimu, tō­tara, kōwhai and kahikatea.

The new trees are part of Robyn’s plan to bring birds back into the gar­den. She’s been se­ri­ously com­mit­ted to ro­dent and pos­sum con­trol in the past cou­ple of years, bait­ing and trap­ping.

“I’ve had real suc­cess with the pos­sums. I’d reg­u­larly get two or three a night.”

As a re­sult, tūī have taken up res­i­dence in the gar­den, along with king­fish­ers, blue herons and fan­tails. These days, when the sun rises over the lakes “there’s a real cho­rus in the morn­ing, which we hadn’t had for a while”.

THIS PAGE The stone-pil­lared log­gia was de­signed by Al­fred Bux­ton; Robyn bought the sculp­ture at the far end for her mother-in-law – it’s bounced off its plinth in a cou­ple of earth­quakes, but never bro­ken.OPPOSITE (from top) Robyn has de­vel­oped the bor­ders around the house; they in­clude scabiosa, del­phini­ums, phlox and ‘Sim­plic­ity’ and ‘Cé­cile Brün­ner’ rose. The gates were hung in 1908 on the day Robyn’s father-in-law Bob was born; they were made by his un­cles and are ter­rif­i­cally heavy.

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