Art in a garden

It’s been a huge weekend in the valley. It always is at this time of the year. The Culverden fete is the one to kick everything off. It is always held on the last Thursday of October, followed by Art in a Garden at Flaxmere in Hawarden, plus the Amberley A&P show on the Saturday.

What more could you want on a warm sunny spring day than to spend it in a NZ garden of National Significance listening to  the Nairobi trio,  with a chilled glass of Waipara wine wandering around appreciating sculpture, paintings, ceramics, jewellery and much more.

Flaxmere where it is held, is the garden of Penny Zino.  Large in scale, and forty nine years in the making,  it is breathtakingly beautiful with all its spring colour, and it provides the perfect backdrop for a huge variety of sculptures. At other times of the year the garden is open by appointment.
PicMonkey Collage

Yesterday, Sunday was the last day for 2015. It runs for three days, with different workshops held every year. Efficiently organised with an army of helpers it runs like clockwork. A stream side café, where you can rest, imbibe or nibble on picnic lunches, and listen to music provides welcome shade on a hot day.

                                                                The sculptures and the landscape are the stars……………..

                                                                                            from the bold……………

                                                                                        to the subtle………………

                                                                                          the colour co-ordinated……………..

                                                                       there is something to inspire everyone…………………..

If you have never been before, mark it in your next years calendar, it is definitely worth a visit.
It has been a little quiet on the blog for the past weeks, so if you are still reading………..a very big
thank you I do appreciate anyone who reads about our life here in the Waipara Valley.



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green gardens…………priory d’Orsan

Much as I enjoy seasonal change, and what each season brings. I realised the other day while sorting
some garden photo’s, I was missing green, actually I was craving some green in my life.


We seem to have looked like a brown paper bag landscape for so long. The recent few drops of rain has done
nothing to change our colour. Our tawny dry paddocks has attracted quite a lot of favourable comment, but I am
I am more than ready to welcome back some soothing green.


So, I thought you might like to see  a special  garden we visited in France a few years ago, and yes that was green.



When we pulled up at the gate, I was so excited that we were finally here, in fact it was a pinch myself moment because
I had read so much from afar about the garden and its transformation. For an ex garden designer, this was a dream come
true, to finally arrive. One of the most wonderful aspects of the transformation is that it is not at all over designed. The
sense of place and the rich history has been gently and sensitively bought alive once again.It is one garden I will never
forget visiting. If you would like to see more of Priory d’Orsan go to

Priory d’Orsan dates back to the 12th century it was bought in 1991 by two architects Sonia Lesot, and Patrice Taravella. It is now
owned just by Patrice. It was very run down and neglected, but it has been carefully and authentically brought back to life. Patrice
told me that everything they have done is to honour it’s medieval tradition and history. Nothing has been constructed in the garden
just to look pretty, but it has a useful and productive purpose. They took their inspiration from medieval illuminations. The intention
was not to produce an exact replica of the Priory’s original gardens but rather to evoke the spirit of the pre-Renaissance period. Here
is a little glimpse………. it is a magical place with a special spirit. The Autumn light was beautiful, with long shadows in the evening that reminded me of home. All the structures used in the garden are made from local chestnut.



PicMonkey Collage

PicMonkey Collage2


This is just to show Dry Paddocks is green at times…………………………… just not at the moment.


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