Summer House Garden

Take a bare plot of land on a hillside in Eketahuna, add plenty of horse manure to enrich the soil then wait for the worms to work their magic. Next, apply a healthy dose of resourcefulness by upcycling old farm materials to create garden structure, and you have a recipe for the Lambert’s ‘Summer House Garden’.

Through sheer hard work and thriftiness, John and Antoinette repurposed everything found on their bare paddock – giving it new life in their garden. All the rocks lining the garden beds were originally beneath the soil and have either been dug up by hand or exposed through earthworks during the terracing of the garden along the driveway.

As you explore the loop through the Summer House Garden enjoy colourful plantings of camellias, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and climbing roses.

248 Nireaha Road

Closer to the house is Antoinette’s innovative edible garden. In a small space, she gardens vertically to pack as much into a compact space as possible. A strawberry tower and espaliered pears allow for maximum productivity.

Her bespoke worm farm boosts soil productivity. Antoinette will be on hand during the tour to explain how it works. She also has a pumpkin compost circle – an annual practice of building up a circle of compost, covering with carpet and then cutting small holes to plant pumpkin seeds into.

Antoinette is an award-winning dahlia grower and though we won’t get to see these beauties during November, there is plenty more to admire in this gem of a garden tucked into the hillside, overlooking a native-bush clad valley.

To mark the garden’s sixth birthday Antoinette and John are celebrating by opening it to the public for the first time on Pūkaha’s Garden Tour.