Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Of aloes and more (New Zealand part one)

Aloe polyphylla
A long flight from Los Angeles, arriving in Auckland at 6:00AM or so, and a few hours later (clearing customs and getting our land legs more or less in order) we found ourselves strolling down "Totara Waters", a remarkable private garden and small nursery on a bay that features not just a wealth of highly diverse plants (including many spiral aloes) but a SHIPwreck, as you will see if you trudge through the whole post...

This is the same aloe seed closeup in the first picture: I love the placement in front of the outrageous driftwood stump.

I am not the only one fascinated obviously!

Even the smaller aloes are charming...

There were masses of bromeliads planted in artistic drifts throughout the garden: they do get occasional frost in winter, dropping to the upper 20's (Farenheit). They spray with a frost inhibiting spray that protects these which would otherwise be marred.

Here is part of the nursery where they propagate and offer some of their bromeliads and a few other succulents to visitors primarily.

A wide walk leads down to the bay--we'll follow this in a bit.

They collect more than plants--this vintage truck attracted a lot of attention...

Apparently the largest staghorn fern in New Zealand: I don't doubt it!

There were many monumental containers throughout this garden, some of them unique.

And oh yes, they have a bonsai collection!

Somewhere they found gigantic industrial containers once used for smelting: these are attractive as sculpture in and of themselves.

A forest of ponytail palms and the agaves begin to show up further down the garden...

And many elegant sculptures throughout...

The first glimpse of the shipwreck along the beach. A broad sweep of lawn offers a dramatic contrast to the plant rich collections.

One of the berms containing agaves and aloes on a sunny bank.

A rusty pirhana threatening to devour the shipwreck.

Not sure if this is a holey rock or one of those smelter crocks...the lichens match the rocks in front...

The patio and a large veranda gazing over the ocean--where they spend much of their time when they're not in the garden.

The view from the patio...

The holey rock with one of the many cycads--I neglected to photograph the fine collection of them they'd managed to collect..

More whimsical sculptures...

An alstroemeria growing next to the compost in a tucked away corner...not really for public view!

Insectivorous plants looking very happy...

A last view of Peter Coyle: he along with his wife Jocelyn have created a remarkable garden which served as an astonishing launch to what's turning out to be a fabulous trip.


  1. (Just noticed the December sidebar notice about the template change and wanted to put in my tuppence: anything that makes scanning through your beautiful photography easier is the way to go. Nothing in the present set-up, including the static background image, detracts from that, so kudos to you. I sometimes have to abandon blawgs I lurk at because of such changes -- where glossy, 'creative' design trumps readability -- so I understand your concern entirely. I actually find the latest iteration easier on the eyes, perhaps because the surrounding palette is more muted and neutral, and therefore doesn't successfully compete for one's complete attention against the lovely garden photos and accompanying text.)

  2. Thanks for your feedback, Saurs: I'll be sticking with this template for a's kept most of the features I like and is easier to manage--and as you said, it's not too intrusive. Next time I change it will probably have to be with some professional help--I don't think any of the "off the shelf" templates will do in the future! It would be fun to have one I actually dream up myself!

  3. That is one impressive garden and what a gorgeous site as well--it must have been a fine reward after that long, long, long airplane ride.

    Thanks for the tour of a far away paradise. The bromeliads look perfectly grown and happy in that climate.


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