Wednesday, 2 April 2014

In Search of Eden


In May of 2007 we set up home in a 100year old Villa.
We had moved from a Villa in Hawkes Bay where we resided for two short years,
before my husband got transferred to the Waikato.
We had spent all of our lives prior to this living in Auckland & the dream
of living in a 'Ponsonby Villa' - was always never far from my mind.
However, with sky high prices of properties to live in one of Auckland's
most prestige suburbs.....there was only one way it was going to ever happen & that
would be the help of lotto.
So the story began in Cambridge.
After knocking on doors of properties that 'fitted' my criteria of what we were looking for
& asking who wanted to sell - fortunately we not only found the perfect home but it came
with the perfect section!
An old fashioned '1/4 Acre'.
So the creation of our very own "Eden" began.

The decision we made to start with the garden first was because, once
we completed the yard, then we could continue to watch it grow & maintain it
when we started to focus on the house.
The three tall trees in the backyard had been left & never shaped so
they had kind of had it in terms of what we could do with them.
There were out of control creepers growing over the brick wall & all over the nearby
It had to go.
I had been told that the 'Waikato' was very fertile with the rainfall it got - that is why
there were so many green 'pastures' on nearby dairy & stud farms.
I had opted to go for the 'Tropical' look for our garden as I had two very successful ones
both in Auckland originally & then again in the Hawkes Bay.
On the left hand side of the white trellis fence that ran down to the back of the property -
laid a beautiful old brick path.
It was incredibly dangerous & slippery as it never saw the light
properly with the fence so close.
We did discover however, beneath the over grown mess....the section had been
divided in two - by two big circles.
Around the edge of these circles  - bricks had been laid to form a ring.
This last photo was taken from the back yard looking back towards the house.
To the left of the house there were overgrown grapefruit trees
that were riddled with wood rot.
Not one was worth saving - they all had to go.
This was Summer time of 2007.
Only seven months later!
I had painted the playhouse down the back the same colour as the house.
The brick wall I painted black.
I decided to do this for two reasons.
First - black blends in easier in the garden & also enhances the colour of plants/surroundings.
Two - The wall faced North - therefor any plants planted in front of the wall would
effectively get extra heat - creating more rapid growth as it was a little hot spot with the heat
reflecting off of the black wall.
I had planted Queen Palms, Yucca's, Black Taro, Tropical Impatiens & my most
favourite of all - Dracento Drago's.  Otherwise known as Dragon Trees.
These trees are amazing.
I had started them off as babies when our eldest was born and transplanted them every time
we moved - digging them up and putting them in either massive pots or black nursery bags.
They are know to landscape designers as they are true 'art form' - especially when they branch
which takes years.
But the moment they do - they are worth a fortune.
Sadly, the following winter with the dampness & severe frosts - I lost all but one.
I couldn't leave it to die, so opted to sell it off inside to someone who lived in
a warmer climate.
This photo once again, was taken from the rear of the property looking back towards the house.
By this stage - we had also removed the back of house & replaced it with wall to wall
bi fold cedar doors.
The effect was instant - with the indoor/outdoor flow.
Finally - my  little dream of a 'Ponsonby' Villa & garden of Eden was underway.

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