For Rob and Susie Steele, the transformation of Ranginui from a formal to contemporary garden with a ‘lighter touch’ has been only three years in the making.
836 State Highway 2
It continues to evolve and today it marries old and new to suit modern living where views that were once concealed have been opened up to reveal its namesake – Ranginui – sky father.
The property is around four hectares with just over a hectare of garden. A cherry-lined walkway and extensive box hedging are original features that remain while an avenue of tall dark Thuia conifer hedges was removed and a new orchard, potager vegetable garden, and perennial courtyard garden surrounding the house have been created.
In time, the perennial plantings will mature to create a series of ‘rooms’ (sitting, dining and shade) to be enjoyed in summer.
A follower of the New Perennial Movement, Susie chose drought-tolerant plantings including wafty toi-toi-esque-grass Miscanthus sinensis Morning Light along with colourful Salvias, Sedums, Phlomis and Euphorbias to withstand the dry Wairarapa summers.
Wander down the Buxus walkway with the Spring growth of cherry trees overhead. There’s a secret garden that younger visitors might like to explore – complete with a fairy sized chair. Walk out to the orchard and admire the views of farmland and Wairarapa hills.
The potager garden supplies year-round fresh herbs, fruit and veges. A few roses (loved by Rob) are dotted around. There is a lovely connection with Mt Bruce too as the original part of the house came from there.
This is the first time Ranginui has opened to support Pūkaha’s annual fundraising Garden Tour and we’re delighted to be able to share it with you.