After months waiting for diggers to finish reshaping the land I was finally able to start planting, a process which began on the day I had invited a few friends over to the island to celebrate my birthday. A few good mates brought over their gardening clothes and spades and insisted on helping me to plant. November is not a good time to plant a new garden in NZ, particularly on Waiheke Island but we had no choice. The plants needed to go in the ground as they had out grown their pots and we needed them to be doing their job, cleaning our waste water (apparently the water is virtually clean once it moves out of the septic tank but its great to know the plants are helping the process).
We began with flaxes and oioi, planting them in sweeping curves to mirror the landforms. These were followed by generous swathes of daylilies, Dietes bicolour, rengarenga lily and at the top northern end, to disguise eventually the retaining wall around the driveway, a block of euphorbia. Love the grey blue foliage of euphorbia, they should look stunning when they produce their large lime green flower heads next spring.
After waiting a few more weeks for more digging, we started on the top area of the garden closest to the road, planting more flaxes then moving up the slope into Dietes grandiflora, Dietes robinsiniana, Coprosma repens 'Green Rocks', aquilegia, echinacea and neomarica. The flowering plants will attract bees to the mini-orchard I hope to soon plant along the top, roadside edge of the site.
I was inspired by one of my favourite landscape designer practices Oehme Van Sweden, trying to create a meadow like feel with perennials and strappy leaved plants. The idea is that the garden will become a tapestry of colour an d texture in front of the black shed-like house.
Now comes the hard part, keeping it all alive through the hot summer, and battling the thousands of weeds that have been germinating rapidly through our wet spring!