MEET JUDY who loves spending time in the beautiful garden she has created over a quarter of a century at her Auckland home.
When we bought this property 25 years ago my husband Peter and I fell in love with the view from the house to the back garden, especially the stunning mature oak trees. The garden is large but the mass of planting keeps weeding to a minimum, which is how I’ve designed it. It’s difficult to believe you’re in the city when you’re down there among the flowering shrubs, bulbs and trees. When we started planting I knew that I wanted to create a woodland garden. Peter passed away four years ago so I try and keep it as easy-care as possible these days.
Front of House
The bagged brick of 100-year-old Baytree Cottage is typical of the homes designed by architect James Chapman-Taylor. To the left of the lych gate is a magnolia that has cream flowers in spring. The rose climbing over the lych gate is Yellow Banksia and the rose on the picket fence is Crepuscule, which is an apricot-coloured noisette rose. I love it because it has a lot of blooms from spring through to summer. The weeping blossom tree behind is Falling Snow. It has pale pink blooms that fall as a carpet around the tree at the end of spring. The climbing rose on the chimney is Alberic Barbier and to the left of the chimney is a Wedding Day rose. They all have cream flowers. To the right is a liquid amber tree that could be as old as the house.
I enjoy taking a dip in the swimming pool in summer. The pool garden has a backdrop of evergreens, mostly Michelia doltsopa, camellias with pink flowers and Gordonia. In the centre is a standard rose called Pink Bells. It’s fabulous when it’s out because it makes a real statement in the garden. To the left of the rose is a shrub Brunfelsia, also known as White Caps, which flowers on and off all year round. It’s great value for money. Immediately below the rose is the shrub known as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. It has multi-coloured blooms that start off pale lilac in colour, then change to a deeper lilac and finally purple. On the right is the bush rose Mutablis, which has cream, lemon, pink and red blooms. In the foreground are various perennials, namely Lychnis in shades of white and pink, Lambs Ear and Sweet William. This is one of my favourite views of the garden.
I find gardening therapeutic. I often think I’ll go out for a short while, then time gets away on me. The tree on the left is a Prunus, which has pale pink blossoms in spring. It’s such a pretty tree, with deep red, almost burgundy foliage. Below the pool fence is a row of Buxus shrubs. Star Jasmine, which has a beautiful fragrance when it’s flowering, is climbing up the drainpipe. Immediately in front of the jasmine is a May bush, which is covered in white blossoms in spring. The image on the right shows a Graham Thomas Rose climbing on the pool fence. I like a splash of yellow in the garden – it makes me feel good and cheery.
Down the Garden Path
I call it my woodland garden because it feels like you are in the woods when you are out there. The garden path meanders through the foliage and I use focal points like the dovecote to draw the eye. In the foreground to the left is a wood anemone and behind that is a woodland iris. The tree on the left is a flowering cherry that has beautiful pale pink flowers in spring. The flowers don’t last very long but when they are out it looks beautiful against the green foliage. The image on the right shows another Gordonia tree, to the right of the path. It has a flower that looks a bit like a poached egg. In fact some people call it the poached egg tree. On the right are a variety of spring bulbs such as daffodils and snowdrops. To the left of the path is Phlomis russeliana, which has lovely lemon flowers. It’s commonly known as Jerusalem sage. I’ve also planted Acanthus mollis, commonly known as bear’s breeches. I love the look of it but it’s very prickly and can be invasive. It takes a bit of controlling.
Room with a View
The house was built more than a century ago but it still works well for modern living. Peter and I wanted to create a garden that had the right look for the house. The rear garden is densely planted with a mix of flower colours and wide drifts of mature plants. The sunny north-facing courtyard is ideal for entertaining. I love the view of the garden from the outdoor table. The rose on the left of pool fence is Mutablis. It does not have a fragrance but it makes up for that in the way that it’s almost always flowering.
I follow the ‘let the garden go’ idea, so the seedlings that come up everywhere rarely get pulled out. The back garden is private and very peaceful. I entertain out here a lot. The paved brick courtyard is a lovely spot to enjoy a cup of tea and some fresh baking. The outdoor table has a lovely view of the woodland garden, which is quite secluded, especially right down the back. For some, it is magical. When my eldest granddaughter Claudia was little she told me that she’d seen fairies down there!
One of the things that drew Peter and I to the house was the view of the garden from the upstairs windows. My bedroom window overlooks the courtyard and my collection of pots. I tend to have white flowers in my pots because I think they look best against the house. This year I went for white geraniums and white petunias. In winter I can see Rangitoto from my bedroom window, through the bare branches of the oak trees.
The foliage is quite dense in early spring. The image on the left shows Camellias on either side of the path, the one on the left has a pale pink flower and is called High Fragrance and the smell is to die for. The one on the right is Water Lily, it’s a lovely bright pink. The mature oak trees were a big drawcard when we bought the house. It was November and they had just come out; the bright green leaves looked stunning. Little did I know how much work would be involved in raking up those leaves every autumn! Fortunately they do make excellent garden mulch.