The water meadow – Patiki Kūkūwai will give you a sense of the lushness of this rural garden. Creating drainage has been a constant challenge through the decades for the owners of this 1.8ha property just north of Masterton.
185 Whangaehu Valley Rd
The gardeners, Sarah McLachlan and Rob Macklin have been on many a garden tour but this is the first time they’ve opened their own. Patiki Kūkūwai has been nearly 30 years in the making and has several distinct areas to explore.
In the woodlot there are some unusual mature trees. These include a cork oak (it’s worth getting up close to the bark and feeling its springiness) and a wonderful weeping cedar (cedrus atlantica glauca pendula).
The permaculture gardens and orchard are productive and plentiful and include stone fruit, pears, apples, fig and berries. Each season, Sarah turns the produce into preserves and shares the bounty with friends and family.
Nearer the house, and looking out to the hills is a distinctly curvy lonicera hedge. It was inspired by an image in a gardening book but is not unlike the curved buxus of Ōhinetahi Garden near Governer’s Bay in Christchurch. Rest for a moment beneath the birch trees and take in the view of Sarah’s cottage garden.
Her palette is yellow, blue and white with silvery grey foliage. There are old friends – larkspurs, aquilegia and David Austen roses – Molineux, Windrush, Pilgrim and Graham Thomas. Pinks and purples surround a garden sleepout. Rose lovers can enjoy the deep crimson blooms of William Shakespeare 2000, purple rambler Veilchenblau, Penelope, Gertrude Jekyll and Munstead Wood.
Beyond the cottage garden stroll along soft green paths under mature pecan trees and look for the hop circle – like a living maypole. There’s an area where biochar is made too.
The vast green area near the drive is lovingly tended to by Rob who (as an experienced greenkeeper for the local golf course) will be putting his skills to the test for tour weekend.
Bring cash for Sarah’s propagated plants.
Limited parking inside the garden for mobility challenged visitors.
Limited roadside parking.