Wellington garden designer uses home patch as a colourful testing zone

Wellington garden designer uses home patch as a colourful testing zone

Not all experiments are carried out in sterile laboratories.

The backyard of designer Rachael Matthews is a combination of her adore of flowers and her horticulture trials to provide her clients with the ideal plants. In carrying out this, she has made an ever-switching feast of colour and interest.

From outside Matthews’ gate, it’s clear to see a back garden designer life within just. The lawn on the roadside berm is laid amongst railway sleepers that mirror the pattern of espaliered Chinese jasmine in her prior backyard.

Soon after seeking unique kinds of lawn bulbs for two many years, very last yr Matthews planted 25 garden crocuses. These drew heaps of feedback from passers-by, and encouraged her to plant a further 150 bulbs this year, but none surfaced.

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Matthews thinks either the rain rotted them “or Tim mowed them”, she suggests of her partner with a grin. Undeterred, she will plant even a lot more following yr.

Five several years back, Matthews and her relatives moved from Kelburn to Khandallah, and right now their home is also her business office, nursery, trial and display screen backyard garden. Her back garden types for purchasers are highly structured with seasonal fascination and this is reflected in her very own garden.

Matthews has remodeled what was a garden at the front of the dwelling into a patio and here she retains topiaries for sale to shoppers, building a area of clipped green structures.

Water plants grow in the bowl beneath the lion head, a remnant of the previous garden, with pleached ornamental pears (Pyrus calleryana) on the nearby brick walls. Buxus sempervirens topiary cones and flat-topped pyramids join Buxus 'Green Gem' balls in the centre. 'Antique Orange' tiger lilies, Rosa 'Pierre de Ronsard', Physocarpus 'Shady Lady', and white mophead Hydrangea 'Bridal Bouquet' add interest and colour.


Water vegetation grow in the bowl beneath the lion head, a remnant of the past back garden, with pleached ornamental pears (Pyrus calleryana) on the nearby brick walls. Buxus sempervirens topiary cones and flat-topped pyramids be a part of Buxus ‘Green Gem’ balls in the centre. ‘Antique Orange’ tiger lilies, Rosa ‘Pierre de Ronsard’, Physocarpus ‘Shady Lady’, and white mophead Hydrangea ‘Bridal Bouquet’ insert curiosity and colour.

Double pompom Buxus sempervirens topiaries line up in front of ladder ferns in French urns.


Double pompom Buxus sempervirens topiaries line up in front of ladder ferns in French urns.

She likes to use disease resistant Buxus ‘Green Gem’, and is trialling Osmanthus ‘Pearly Gates’ with its reward of fragrant white bouquets in winter season. She also grows ivy topiary as an alternate to buxus as it’s a much better performer in the shade and wet.

An decorative pear, Pyrus calleryana, is pleached towards the black fence of the patio – it’s Matthews’ favourite plant for pleaching. In front of it are ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ climbing roses, and though they are staked, they have no body to scramble up as Rachael needs them to froth out “like champagne bubbles”.

As well as the fences encompassing the garden, there are other individuals dividing the grass region out the again from the plant nursery. Each and every fence has one thing developing from it to show clients how it’s attainable to make an attention-grabbing back garden with just a fence. In the vegetable backyard, an apple tree is espaliered in the common method of training just just one layer a calendar year.

Espaliered Trachelospermum jasminoides with pleached Liquidambar styraciflua 'Worplesdon'.


Espaliered Trachelospermum jasminoides with pleached Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’.

On the reverse fence, a Chinese jasmine is trained on wires. A ginko espaliered towards the yard get rid of is developed – like the liquidambar – for its leaves. Three crabapple column trees mature in opposition to the again fence. Another fence has a pleached liquidambar and on the other aspect are scarlet runner beans which Matthews plants each calendar year, furthermore sweet peas (planted in autumn fairly than spring) and hops.

Matthews enjoys hops and finds they are a very good way to get gentlemen to grow to be enthusiastic about a new garden – “mention hops and they are sold”.

The carport opposite the patio has a crystal clear plastic roof and is fantastic for storing crops as well as staying the perfect unloading bay. In Rachael’s earlier home, the truck drivers refused to push up the steep hill so she had to satisfy them at the railway yards at all hours to obtain her purchases.

Matthews chuckles that Tim only acquired to use the carport for a day before she took it about and now their cars are parked on the travel.

Fast-growing hops vine Humulus lupulus.


Rapid-growing hops vine Humulus lupulus.

A deck leads from the dwelling to a garden Matthews would like to switch into a buying back garden, but this “has to be negotiated with Tim”.

Above winter, the dahlias she is trialling rest underneath the kitchen area windowsill in their black plastic pots and this calendar year, Matthews is planting even far more kinds, aiming for a top 30.

Also on the deck are pots of substantial, single bloom chrysanthemums to see how they would do in Wellington gardens about wintertime. Like dahlias, they are excellent in autumn and Rachael thinks they may observe in the dahlias’ footsteps for attractiveness.

Rosa 'Sally Holmes' in a giant trumpet frame.


Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’ in a big trumpet frame.

On 1 side of the lawn is the vegetable back garden and on the other the foliage backyard where by Matthews grows plenty of plants in pots so she can transfer them about to see how they go collectively.

Amongst the foliage are various grasses, like Stipa gigantea which she designs to improve from seed. “It’s attractive and there is very little like it in New Zealand natives. The grass is clear fairly than a huge plume and has a attractive sheen. I think about plants in phrases of what task they do and if it’s a indigenous, terrific, I’ll use that, but if not I’ll use something else.”

There are also seven aromatic versions of rhododendrons getting trialled but the gold medal has but to be awarded.

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Matthews has loved flowers considering the fact that she was young when she utilised to select and press them. On her kitchen area windowsill is a row of modest wine bottles, with a solitary flower in each. These are her “seasonal moments”.

She strategies it so that even in the depths of winter season, there is some thing to choose and place on the windowsill. “Some bouquets can be pretty insignificant but when picked and placed with each other they are stunning,” she describes. Flowers of each colour sit side by aspect in Matthews’ back garden, even orange kinds, which numerous men and women stay clear of. Of these gardeners, she states, “they have not viewed an orange geum.” It is 1 of her favourites.

Matthews specialises in growing topiaries and crops in large black plastic pots as she’s consistently swapping vegetation close to and making an attempt new kinds. She loves flowers but doesn’t have ample house in the garden so puts in supplemental flowering and scaled-down increasing shorter period vegetation in pots that can be swapped out. “It’s like finding 4 seasons of plants on 1 pot spot.”

The giant triple topiaries are Buxus sempervirens and about 20 years old.


The large triple topiaries are Buxus sempervirens and about 20 several years old.

The pots are positioned in rows on paths which are one gumboot huge. The pots sit on a sandbed, which is a pool liner with sand on major. At 5am, the irrigation hose is turned on for 20 minutes to flood the sand mattress, ensuring each plant receives the exact same quantity of water so they mature evenly and the foliage is not watered.

Dated shots are remaining taken of a array of daffodils to see if the weather influences how they increase. Viburnums are becoming trialled as a suggests of extending the hydrangea season. Various pots are crammed with unique poppies from professional plant and bulb vendor, Emerden Flower Farm, and Matthews planted five distinctive parrot tulips this 12 months to compare them. A number of deciduous azaleas are becoming cautiously nurtured as Rachael has not experienced any luck with evergreen azaleas previously. She is also striving out diverse types and colors of phlox.

As nicely as roses increasing in opposition to the fence in the front back garden and on frames out the back again, there are also roses in pots. Matthews stopped spraying her roses two many years ago. “Insecticides and fungicides block the food stuff chain and harm soil lifetime,” she acknowledges.

Giant bird sculptures made from recycled tōtara oars look over Rachael Matthews' latest project, an espaliered Ginkgo biloba (against the workshed). The purple flowers of sweet rocket are nestled in pots amongst Christmas lilies.


Giant fowl sculptures manufactured from recycled tōtara oars look over Rachael Matthews’ most current project, an espaliered Ginkgo biloba (in opposition to the workshed). The purple flowers of sweet rocket are nestled in pots among Christmas lilies.

Previous yr, a pair of the roses “were terrible” so she’s hoping they boost this yr. She now sprays the roses with seaweed foliar feed and diluted milk.

Backyard garden design and style is Matthews’ next vocation. Educated as a law firm, she located the skilled lifetime way too restrictive as soon as she experienced small children so opted to stick to her lifelong really like of flowers and coach in horticulture. 20 many years in the past, immediately after a year’s analyze at Massey, she started off increasing amenity crops.

As small business grew, she moved her nursery to her parents’ Levin home and built up her consumer foundation. This created into arranging vegetation to give an notion of how to increase them alongside one another, specially “instant plants” such as hedges and topiaries which she bought at the Thorndon Good and Wadestown Backyard Tour.

Gardeners started inquiring her for tips on style, and that turned out to be her forte. Matthews’ yard is continually changing as she attempts out unique plants, scenarios and mixtures to come across the greatest answers for her types. Her backyard also incorporates the vegetation she enjoys and grows for her personal enjoyment. In quick, she has created a wonderfully prosperous and remarkable tapestry of colour, variety and texture for herself and her relatives.