Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Real Gardens #1 - Rae O'Connor

In Rae O'Connor's Timaru garden spring is blooming. The walkway along the north side of the house, which leads to the back yard, is flanked by red and white camellias and vibrant purple primulas. A lemon tree is tucked into the sheltered nook created by the glass conservatory and a mandarin tree nestles in behind it. A wooden cartwheel supports clematis and climbing roses, which also twine along the railing of the ramp leading to the conservatory.

If you follow the walkway down you will reach this sheltered seating area. Sheltered by tall trees, it provides shade and privacy. The trees are underplanted with daffodils and white primulas, making a sweet woodland area. In the background you can see the heritage apple tree 'Peasgood Nonsuch'. (The apples make lovely cider!)

This area has been personalised with hanging garden art. Rae made the heart ornament from chicken wire bent around a wire frame, and filled with white river stones.

Close up of the daffodils in the early morning sunlight. The pots are filled with cyclamen and other tiny flowering treasures.

Look at this magnificent glasshouse! Built by the previous owner of the property, it has a wooden frame and several windows which open for ventilation. Rae grows tomatoes, peppers, early potatoes and 'Kentucky' climbing beans.

In front are three raised vegetable beds, built from concrete blocks. The blocks are slowly but surely being filled with strawberry plants, propagated by runners, which provide an ornamental and productive edging.

Alongside the glasshouse are more strawberry beds. The fruit are perfect to eat freshly picked and warm from the sun. Rae makes strawberry jam with the excess.

The beds are bare at the moment, but soon they will be filled with an assortment of vegetables including potatoes, lettuce, carrots, peas, sweet corn, pumpkins and beans. In the background you can see a grapevine trained along the fence, which produces an abundance of black grapes.

The space behind the glasshouse is useful for hiding compost bins and items which are not currently in use in the garden. Compost bins are made from concrete blocks, and a plastic drum with holes drilled in it to let air through.

Also along the back fence is the wire support for thornless blackberry canes. This way they get full sun and are easily accessible to pick. Along the side wall of the shed are red and blackcurrant bushes. In the bottom left corner of the photo is a gooseberry bush.

The clothesline has been made decorative as well as functional by planting a small flower garden around its base. The old metal peg holder has also been given new life as a planter.

I'm on the lookout for one of these for my own garden!

And so ends the first Real Gardens tour. I hope you've picked up a few ideas. See you back here next month for another tour!

(Click on the photos to view them larger)


  1. wow, what a champion way to start. I love those Timaru flat sections with corrugated iron fences. I don't know that I've ever seen one quite so usefully used. The seating area is particularly inspiring. Not for any one detail but the overall feel of it, the grouped seats for company, the shade and the sense of a private hideaway.

  2. Brilliant, I love looking round peoples gardens. That glasshouse is a BEAUTY!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...