An English Garden

During our first summer here I created a Mediterranean Garden from a previously arid wasteland. This year I’ve been working on a companion piece: The English Garden.

English Garden

English Garden

The plot (haha) was hatched early in the year, when Stephen and Favorite Stepson kindly removed a potentially house-lifting fig tree and a giant Yukka which had been elbowing the deck on the west side of the house. A few weeks later my lovely ex- sister-in-law (is that a thing?), now my beloved sis-in-the-garden, came to visit. She arrived with a car full of plants from her Auckland place and together we weeded out swathes of kikuyu, dug in a few barrow-loads of horse poo goodness, and got to planting. Thank you Mrs Williams!

Sweet Pea

Self-sown sweet peas (seeds originally from the aforementioned Mrs Williams).

So far this new border has, in the best tradition of gardens, cost almost nothing. Apart from a couple of punnets from Mitre 10, all the plants have been grown from cuttings, gifted, moved from somewhere else on the property, or are self sown.

These have been my sources (skip this section if you are not a gardener, it’s mainly for my own records):

  • French lavender seedlings from AntiGene and UnklEd’s garden.
  • English lavender grown from cuttings acquired from the grass verge in the local village.
  • Star jasmine, primulas and calla lillies from Mrs Williams.
  • Globe artichoke, a gift from Lisajane.
  • Gardenia donated by Grandma Marie.
  • Freesia bulbs which were here when we arrived, overcrowded and starving to death in a pot.
  • Rose ‘Duchess de Brabant’. A cutting taken from a plant which grew at our old house.
  • Sweet peas, granny bonnets and nasturtiums all self sown.
  • Rose ‘Munstead Wood’ purchased with Christmas money (thanks Grandma Marie).
  • Thrift and stock (plus some delphiniums which were promptly eaten by snails), seedling punnets from Mitre 10.

The English Garden is far from being worthy of Vita, but it is coming along quite nicely.

Vita Sackville West

This is going to be my style when I’m an old lady. Obviously I will have taken up smoking by then. The boots are magnificent.

And, just so you don’t think those pretty pictures of flowers mean I have tamed anything more than a few square metres, here’s a wide shot including what I’m generously calling ‘lawn’.

Weeds around English Garden

The horror! Vita wouldn’t have stood for it. But wait, I bet she had gardeners.

We are going mower-free here and the horses haven’t been on that patch in a while now. There’s a plan at some stage to enlist a couple of kunekune pigs to manage grass control (in conjunction with moveable electrified netting in case roses are also appealing to piggies).

One thing at a time my friends, one thing at a time…



  1. Ooh how lovely! You’ll be having white roses next 🙂 What a great idea to record where the plants came from. So nice to remember the people you love whilst ambling round yr garden. I am enjoying the 2 thymes you shared with me. X

  2. Mediterranean Garden. now an English Garden. will there be some Indigenous Garden at some point?

    • As a little palagi woman I wouldn’t presume. The Forbearing Husband is the Indigenous Gardener. So far his contribution has extended to peeing on the lemon trees and wielding a chainsaw. He may need guidance. Mama is visiting in Oketopa, and I can only hope my talo will be up to snuff. Watch this space…

  3. Oooh how pretty! I look forward to wandering through it. Coincidentally today I bought a punnet of “Pizza Thyme”, “a favourite of pizza lovers with both thyme and oregano flavours in one garnish”. Shall I bring a punnet up to temp your Forbearing Husband?

    • Yes please! Sounds most intriguing, and just the thing to enhance the Forbearing Husband’s Friday night pizza creations. Looking forward to your visit. xxx

      • I have had my nails done in preparation for my visit! ie the bright red polish removed for a more farmlet look. Also I’ll bring some self seeded foxgloves for your garden 🌸

        • Well red nails would have matched the latest addition to the farmlet (to be blogged about his weekend), but I’ll be interested to see your new look. I’m not sure what farmlet nails are like — except that mine constantly have dirt under them!

          Yay for the foxgloves, thank you that will be fantastic. I have the perfect place for them. How fabulous to have them self seeding. xxx

  4. Oh my!!English gardens,the memories!!
    Well you know you are welcome to any snippets from my small patch
    How did the parsley fare?,I am unendated with babies and the Bunnies are getting sick of it!!
    Remember picnicking at that lovely rose garden in Dairy Flat❤️❤️
    PS indigo is way cool 👍🏻And I can totally see you as Vita

    • Thank you for the offer of snippets. Definitely room for more here. The parsley has done famously. It self-seeded at the end of summer and now we have glorious swathes of it all around the veggie patch. Yes, I loved that rose garden; all those fantastic old roses.
      Glad you like the indigo. Love to you, family and bunnies. x

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