What 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. He 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.
The 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!”
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.