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.