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92 High Street, Blenheim
0800 627 527
This half-day tour, taking in a broad cross-section of the region to the north and west of Blenheim, has something for everyone: three very different gardens in diverse locations, including a garden fed by fresh subterranean spring water, others thriving in free draining alluvial soils, and all featuring an impressive range of plant types.
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.
Originally part of the historic Goulter settlement, Mill Stream is an eight-hectare block situated in the middle of the Lower Omaka Valley, on the banks of the stream that gives the property its name. Progressively planted from a bare paddock over the past thirty years, the garden features a number of planes, gums, paulownia, citrus and fruit trees. The peaceful garden, full of birdsong, is a mixture of native and other plantings of camelias, white daphnes, roses, irises, lilies, dogwoods, rhododendrons, wisteria, acanthus and buxus and sasanqua hedges. Six raised beds providing year-round fresh vegetables are lovingly tended by Jilly, as is the rest of the garden. The garden has a backdrop of very old gums and walnuts planted in the 1800s and the house and adjacent homestay – Mill Stream Cottage – look over the Mill Stream floodway, where cattle are fattened.
In the fourteen years since we moved to the property we have endeavoured to create a peaceful, green and low maintenance garden, with the emphasis on attracting native birds back to the area. We are now seeing the results of extensive native plantings, with bellbird, tui and kereru making frequent visits, and some successfully nesting.
Our garden is one of contrast, from a formal courtyard and pool area to sweeping lawn leading down to the Mill Stream which runs through the property. We have used many types of hedging to define areas such as the croquet lawn, vegetable gardens and orchard. These include English beech, hazel, Portuguese laurel and New Zealand natives.
The latest project, since the arrival of grandchildren, has been to create a special place for ‘small people’ to have adventures in. We hope you enjoy our garden as much as we do and that you leave with a smile on your face!