Rock Hoppers

Lush planting
Detailed planting by the house.

A month ago I visited Gordon and Rosie Speedy’s fabulous garden Rock Hoppers with a gardening group. It is so full of interesting and different plants and ideas it is impossible to give more than a fleeting glimpse here.

Diverse plantings
General view to distant hills.

At 4 ha there is plenty of room for diverse plantings. The land is volcanic with an abundance of stone. Originally farm land it was stone walled in the early 1900s. The drier areas in the garden are very suitable for growing proteas, aloes and other species often difficult to grow well in Northland’s copious rainfall. The maintenance of this large garden is a credit to this energetic and creative couple.

Dry Stone Wall
Dry Stone Wall.

There are many quirky structures and sculptures around the garden including this effective use of old blue bottles.

Blue Bottles

This rustic hut hides amongst some colourful planting.

Bush Hut
Bush Hut.

Unusual use of barbed wire!

Barbed Wire
Barbed wire bottle

The plentiful water from local springs near the garden is used to form large, naturalistic ponds adding a liveliness to the landscape. This garden is open to viewing and also available for wedding venues. There is a small informal cafe in the garden.

Winter Colour at the Quarry Gardens

Winter Colour

With everywhere so wet underfoot the Whangarei Quarry Gardens is a good place to visit with its well-formed, weather proof paths. Other than the camellia collection, in full flower at the moment, there is not a lot of colour but this planting of Poinsettias is surprisingly happy in this quite shady position. Probably Christmas pot plants re homed.

Quarry Gardens

Some of the many Aloes and succulents on this higher level bench at the Quarry. The rain has spoiled many though. Their flowers are usually long lasting but can be seen a sodden mess clinging to stems.