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92 High Street, Blenheim
0800 627 527
This tour winds around and over the plain, showcasing diverse themes in beautifully manicured and well-tended gardens, many of them bordered by vineyards producing renowned Marlborough wines. The tour this year now includes Fiona Patchett’s garden Filoli.
Huguette’s Hortensia House is a beautiful romantic flower garden. Masses of colour-coordinated flowers in hazy pastels and blues and yellows match the trim on this Victorian-style house. The Spring Creek bisects the garden, in a peaceful pristine flow, and the bridge, inspired by Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny, just adds to the European flavour of this garden. ‘Hortensia’ is the French name for the hydrangea, one of Huguette’s favourite flowers. She boasts a collection of about 150 different varieties filling the shady areas around this beautiful home and garden.
Woodend Garden was developed in the 1990s, when a large formal garden was created from bare paddocks. After entering a formal gateway, a long curved driveway lined with blue agapanthus sets the scene for the established gardens. These feature a number of different zones with unique elements, including the Wedding Avenue, the venue for many Marlborough weddings. Forty-metre-high gum trees planted a century ago stand proud in one corner of the property. Other large specimen trees have become established at Woodend including oak, liquidambar, silver birch, magnolia, dogwood, chestnut and gleditsia. Spring is beautiful with wisteria, flowering cherry and bulbs followed by irises, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and clematis. In summer, roses, hydrangeas and heuchera bloom.
Dating back to the late 1800s, this garden’s framework of mature trees has been enhanced by garden designer Ross, in partnership with his sister, Wendy. The planting style is modern, using a naturalistic palette of native and exotic plants. Big, bold perennial borders merge into woodland, which seamlessly transitions to the serenity of a fern-laden bush. The hot garden on the northern side is filled with exotic sun lovers, juxtaposed with whimsical hedges. Extensive modern, hard landscaping harmoniously links the varied plantings. At surprising moments, views of the surrounding ranges and unique artworks are revealed. Filled with rare horticultural beauties and clever, innovative use of the more commonplace, this garden is a must-see for the plant aficionado and anyone with an interest in garden design.
Bhudevi (Sanskrit for ‘Earth Goddess’ or ‘Mother Earth’) is an eight-hectare property with a large modern home, an organic sauvignon blanc vineyard, and 1.5 hectares of formal and native gardens along a wide spring creek. Developed since 2009, there is an outdoor sculpture garden, a native garden along the creek, a secluded rock and fern garden, and an elevated garden with views overlooking the vineyards to the Richmond Range. The native garden has many sheltered and open seating areas for enjoying the birdsong, the plants, and the outdoor sculptures. Adjacent to the house are smaller garden rooms inspired by formal designs. A citrus garden, bordered by a myrtle hedge, features a pavilion for sitting, enclosed in wisteria. A small hydrangea garden acts as an extension to the library at the west of the main house. A delightful potager near the creek features large raised beds and espaliered apple trees, and an abundance of vegetables and flowers.
Filoli is a beautiful, extensive, rambling garden full of old-fashioned favourites and treasures not often seen, with a gorgeous mirrored pond and walkway areas. Set amongst vineyards, this country garden is the culmination of 43 years of planning and planting by a passionate gardening family. Fiona is a well-known Blenheim florist and her garden reflects her talent, knowledge and flair for creating beauty using structures and colours.