Driving down a coast road I wondered, “What will grow along the sea, with salt air, wind and waves?” Turns out really quite a lot of wonderful things. I knew immediately a grand gardener lived here as we arrived at a coastal side patch of grass and waves of orange gazanias (daisy style) blooms accented by a rustic bench set to enjoy the views of the rocky beach. Coast Haven garden on the Taranaki Garden Festival tour has been under the care of one gardener for the past 30 years.
Protected by a tall hedge, the house looks out toward the sea. A circular driveway wraps around a central flower bed of iris, hydrangeas, and flax lily. The entrance to the home has wide front concrete steps accentuated with a garden of nine pots in complementary colors and interesting plants.
There are plants all around the front of the house, flax lily, palm trees, scented geraniums. My eye was immediately drawn to a turquoise and yellow bench, a recycled cast iron, claw foot bath tub, with a side cut away. Brilliantly colored and perfectly positioned a wood frame insert provided the seat accessorized with comfy pillows.
Behind the bench, a winding path led to a side garden of alstroemeria, and calla lily, agapanthus, ferns and black mondo grass.
At the back of the 105-year-old house, a more recent tower addition provides a panoramic view of the sea and Mt Taranaki.
A sheltered side patio was designed to be the perfect place for alfresco lunch with the sound of the sea and the birds all around.
But I return to the front and that marvelous turquoise bench.
Sitting comfortably there I have a direct view of the sea, of the front garden, of the glorious green space created by a talented gardener on the edge of New Zealand.