Anne and Steve Spelchan’s country garden in French Pass Road is a garden that grows (no pun intended). And grow it has. Every time Anne visits a garden centre she brings a plant home, she has to make the garden bigger to fit it in. In recent years the area at the front of the house, that was part of a paddock and a play area for grandchildren, has become garden.
Ailsa and I met Anne on a cool misty day in the depth of winter with rain threatening. It’s probably not the best time to visit any garden. But I could see from the plants in the garden and in Carole Grant’s summer photos that there will be plenty of colour in this garden in late November.
The rhododendrons, roses, hydrangeas, fuchsia, canna lilies and viburnum are just a small sample of the plants that should make a great show for the festival. I look forward to seeing the deciduous trees with their fresh spring growth. In flower during our visit were the last of the roses, camellias (including a couple of large Cinnamon Cindy), cyclamen and alstroemeria. Orchids were about to burst into flower and everywhere multiple shades of foliage.
Steve and Anne have lived here since 1986 and just a few of the original trees and a rose remain. Everything else they have planted. What about problems with a country garden? Possums have been a big hurdle – they eat the buds. Also, rabbits have been getting numerous and pukeko are a problem in the garden.
By Don Wilson