The Giant’s House, Akaroa, NZS

20161126akaroa11285The Giant’s House in Akaroa is the work of artist Josie Martin. Years ago in an effort to repair a damaged front step,  before visitors arrived, she used some broken crockery to repair it in mosaic form. It worked and she liked the effect.

Now over 17 years later the entire garden has mosaics. A video interview with Josie plays in the art gallery,  and Josie says “I must have color in my life!” Well, she has color in her  life and her garden is a contemporary art gallery.

20161126akaroa11424The garden surrounds the house and is terraced up the hill in the back. The story of its name is that upon seeing the large two-story home a child proclaimed it was so big a giant must live there and the name stuck.

I'm sitting in here, just to provide perspective
I’m sitting in here, just to provide perspective

This is a truly unique place and it attracts visitors from around the world, cruise ships include it on its shore tour so the place can be overrun with visitors. 20161126akaroa11741There is so much to see it would be easy to overlook the plants. Martin is an artist AND a gardener and at the end of the day when the bulk of the visitors have moved on, I explored the finesse of the blending of art and plants.

The pink arbor seemed to be the only thing not covered in mosaics
The pink arbor seemed to be the only thing not covered in mosaics

My favorite example of her creativity is the climbing pink rose growing on a painted pink arbor. Double the color, double my delight in discovering it.

20161126akaroa11398A ruffle of blooming thyme complements a group of musicians.

20161126akaroa11708The cat and dog are hiding among the lavender.

20161126akaroa11734These were the only spiders I saw in the garden.

20161126akaroa11665The orange and yellow marigold make the blue mosaics even more beautiful.


Only beautiful mosaic flower pots to accent the blooming succulents.

20161126akaroa11754I really loved this mosaic border topped with purple bellflowers and pink roses.

20161126akaroa11661The blaze of yellow plants is brighter than the yellow mosaic wall behind.

20161126akaroa11812This orange/gold stand of NZ iris (Libertia peregrinas) sets off this wall.

20161126akaroa11730This is an experience to remember walking in this one of a kind garden. Adults wander through, some shake their heads, others stand mouths open and words of “crazy, too much, unbelievable,” can be heard.  Yet there were many small children here during my visit and they seemed completely at ease. They waltzed about, touching the tiles, with expressions of happiness and delight on their faces.  It was as if they had found the perfect place, this was the world as they imagined it could be. It was a Giant’s house and there was plenty of room for them.20161126akaroa11800

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