A magical garden in Central Otago.
|Shona and Colin Wallace|
It's worth lingering a moment on their portrait picture: I end this blog with another taken a moment later. They are a wonderfully photogenic and charismatic couple. I wish the world had more Wallaces!
Take a moment as you scroll through these pictures and see what wonderful glimpses you catch of the Clutha valley below and the many vignettes: it's hard to believe it's all one garden (albeit a very big one!)...it's worth mentioning that when they bought the property, the garden was rank with weeds and required an enormous amount of earth-moving and rock placement which they've done entirely themselves!
They don't purchase everything at garden centers, obviously!
And they grow lots of veggies! Aren't these different levels delightful in a garden? I thought the 20' drop on our property was dramatic...it's nothing compared to the Wallace's hanging gardens!
I believe this is a dwarf culinary sage (Salvia officinalis 'Nana') a terribly underused plant.
I love the terraces..
And yes, tomatoes: the weather was still a bit cool--so they're giving them a little shelter....
I love this hillside!
The hillside opposite shows that the Alexandra area is still borderline steppe--although nowhere nearly as extreme as Denver. They do have some warmer weather to contend with in summer, and somewhat colder temps than on the coast, of course. As a consequence, this is the prime area for orchards in New Zealand: a major destination for domestic tourism--like the Western Slope of Colorado for us in Denver (people driving to see the orchards blooming in September, and for fruit at Christmas and beyond). Alas, the land values are skyrocketing: I hope New Zealanders don't allow the area to become overpopulated and the extraordinary charm compromised...Unlike my country, which has shown some dreadful lack of judgement in the last two months, Kiwis seem to have their priorities straight!
One of my blurry pix, but you had to see their pond! Hang in there...the next few are a tad "impressionistic"--just pretend you mislaid your glasses, okay?
My Jan and Colin enjoying the view--a few of my pix sorta turned out. Fortunately, the ones I took of the couple themselves turned out perfect!
Another portrait of our hosts. Although we spent barely a day with them, we felt so welcome (as we did all over New Zealand). The Kiwis have perfected the art of being hosts. Jan and I have commented repeatedly that this trip has struck a chord as no others have. Of course, it helps to have an island of such stunning and dramatic beauty, filled with unique biodiversity and extraordinary gardens. Here, as few places on earth, the people themselves seem to embody and reflect the magnificence of this planet earth which elsewhere is at such risk. Especially in my sad land.
(P.S.: all the pictures above except the blurry ones (the last twelve) were taken by Jan Fahs.)