Chantecler, A private garden near Queenstown, NZS

20161113chantecler6372What was originally a small holiday house on 40 acres in the Wakitipu Basin overlooking The Remarkables mountain range is now a grand home surrounded by a glorious garden. While many who travel to New Zealand do so intent on tramping through some of the great walks in this country, I did a different walk beginning near the barn and the lavender field and walked my way up to the Asian Garden at the top and looked out toward The Remarkables mountain range in the distance.

During our visit, we spoke briefly with the owner, Mike, who was preparing to celebrate his 70th birthday on Sunday. He was driving his quad carrying big bags of clippings down to the compost pile beside the barn. 20161113chantecler6444He seemed delighted to share his garden.  I asked him if he had always been interested in plants and he said, “for 30 years he was interested in business and now he had plants, lots of plants.” The gardens are thriving despite being only five years old.

When I write about gardens I try very hard to describe the sense and feeling of the place.  I try to avoid just saying, “Wow, Look at this!” and for this garden, it is really difficult to not do that.

20161113chantecler6275The entrance to this garden was a long drive through a tree alle up a steep drive passing a lavender field and an old wagon. You arrive at the main house and even though I have been visiting these NZ Trust gardens now for three weeks my first thought is how incredibly bold it is to simply drop in to walk about the garden.  Many of the gardens post open days, some specify visit by appointment only but either way you are driving up to the home of a gardener.

I don’t know how the garden design began or who helped in the design, who laid out the water lines, built the walls, the steps, and the arches.  It is obvious that this was done professionally with a considerable amount of labor.  I do know the results are, “Wow, Look at this!”

20161113chantecler6205Look at the view from the Asian Garden at the very top of the grounds.

20161113chantecler6388Look at the peonies blooming in Spring

20161113chantecler6257Look at the view of the house from the rear.

20161113chantecler6380Look at the vegetable garden and the chicken coup.  Gathering the eggs is a pretty great job.

20161113chantecler6222Look at these beautiful chickens, yet not a chanticleer (rooster) among them.

20161113chantecler6150Look at the Tuscan garden near the back patio.

20161113chantecler6263Look at the dragonfly hovering over the pond.

20161113chantecler6235Look at the last of the spring tulips

20161113chantecler6425Look at the size & color of these peonies.

20161113chantecler6202Look at the side patio beside the main house.

20161113chantecler6400Look at the pool house and the view of the mountains.

20161113chantecler6241Look at the swing that overlooks the house.

20161113chantecler6219Look at the white wisteria blooming over the garage.

20161113chantecler6387Look at this incredible staircase.

There is a website, and it shows photos through the season. Though it doesn’t share a story of the garden http://www.chantecler.co.nz

Behind every garden, there is a gardener (or two) and the story of why it came about is always of interest.  I don’t know what business this person was in  or what his interests were before, but here the grounds have been arranged into something extraordinarily beautiful and I just happened to wander through.20161113chantecler6448

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