An impressive Country Garden - 308 Pencarrow Road - Denise & Pat Donnelly

An impressive country garden - 308 Pencarrow Road

Impressive is Denise and Pat Donnelly’s country garden in Pencarrow Road.  It was developed from a blank canvas over 9 years.

Ailsa and I visited the garden on a sunny winter’s afternoon.  A large garden with lots to see, so it’s not surprising that we stayed a long time.  Our hosts provided loads of interesting information.

Two things immediately struck me about the garden – group planting and topiary.  And I should add the touches of fantasy dotted around the garden – from animals and a boy on a swing to a mirror window wall in a corner.  So interesting!  Then there’s the Hobbit house in the garden.

Pat, in his understated way, said the garden “is a little bit of work”.  This includes about 3 hours on the ride-on to mow the beautiful sweeping manicured lawns.

The group planting really makes a statement with large blocks of the same varieties each in their own section of the garden.  Take groups of silver birches, Margaret Merill roses, Callistemon Little John, creamy-white Alstromeria, Lomandra Lime Tuff and so many more.  A row of white cherries lines the drive and there is a group of pink Awanuis elsewhere.  Fifty Love Me Do roses encircle one of the lawns.  I can’t wait to see this in November.

The topiary adds lots of interest.  They have applied this to a range of plants including camellias, podocarpus and Blue Totara Matapouri.  Pat said he knocked 8 balls off one of the Blue Totaras when he backed the ute into it.  Not part of the plan. 

Talking of the plan, the garden was originally designed by landscaper Nicky Samuels from Te Awamutu.  It was finished off by Graham Burton, particularly the underfilling of the trees.  Graham has sourced many of the plants for the Donnellys who moved here in 2010 when the lovely house was about a year old.  Clearly they have done so much work on the garden, but they love it.  Denise says she is in the garden most fine days in the summer (but hardly ever in winter).  No wonder the garden is immaculate!

When they first started, plants did not survive for long.  There was a real rabbit problem.  Pat addressed this by installing netting around the bottom of the fences.  The other issue they need to control is black beetle in the lawn.  They are obviously keeping on top of this problem too.

I’ll finish with a couple of interesting features.  There is a maple with a curly trunk.  Denise suggested she “should find a snake head to come out the top”.

And I was impressed by the pink Cordylines.  Pat cuts these back hard to promote branching and increase the pink foliage.  Trying one is certainly on my to-do list.

It’s not surprising that this garden was featured in the March 2017 issue of NZ Gardener.  We saw photos of the garden in spring. So good! 

This is a garden you must not miss. 


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