In July 2016, Tina Mansfield and Andy Cassells purchased the Totara Cottage property. Taking in a collection of small buildings and around one hectare of land, they were drawn to its gardening potential, especially the mature native trees and the variety of birds they sheltered.
The established gardens were largely overgrown, and so a digger was put to work; clearing the site (and providing plenty of firewood) to make way for today’s design.
While there are formal structures at Totara Cottage, Tina describes their style as rather informal, drawing on inspiration from older English style gardens like Sissinghurst and Munstead Wood.
34 Tararua Drive
Totara Cottage combines Andy’s carefully designed potager garden and Tina’s floral plantings that hug the pathways that lead you round the cottages.
Together, they design, plan and plant the garden. They have purchased or propagated plants that take their fancy; flowers and ornamentals, natives, edibles and medicinals. Most recently Tina has taken an interest in growing plants that can be used to dye natural fibres.
Careful attention to planning and planting mean they seek to plant the right plants in the right places with the best soil and situation they need to grow well. Tina is also a pragmatist and admits she doesn’t want to fuss over plants excessively, so while organic practices are their preferred method, non-organic products are used as needed.
It is easy to see that Totara Cottage is a shared passion and joy for Tina and Andy. Though it is still a young garden, it is already bearing fruit: providing sanctuary from busy lives, nourishing the birds, feeding their families and offering a quiet corner in which to take a breather every once in a while.
Tina will be selling a selection of her plants during the tour. Cash sales only.
Pūkaha is grateful for Tina and Andy’s generosity in choosing to share their garden with the public for the first time on this year’s tour.