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A Look at Lyndell's Garden

It’s now been 19 years since the first Heroic Garden Festival showcased a range of LGBT-owned gardens, and the festival is still going strong. Last year it raised $80,000 for Mercy Hospice Auckland, provided bursts of inspiration to budding gardeners, and grew in size to include gardens by both the LGBT community and other supporters of the Hospice all across Auckland.

Kings Plant Barn has been a proud long-time supporter of this festival, and this year we’re lucky enough to have a stronger than usual connection; a garden that belongs to Takapuna staff member Lyndell Shannon and her partner Mick Roberts. Which was thankfully enough of an excuse for me to get away from the hustle and bustle of being in-store and spend some time in this beautiful and delightfully cool, award winning garden.

Though sadly this will be one of the last chances many of you will have to see this garden in all of its current glory, as Lyndell will soon move onto a hopefully bigger and better project, when she moves to her new property on Waiheke Island.

The garden itself is an interesting mix of different styles. You can wander from the calm serenity of the Japanese-style courtyard, up to the slightly wild bank just above the house, or down into the bush below. But in truth, an accurate description is difficult, as the whole place is jam packed with a wide variety of interesting, stylish, and at times unusual plants.

There’s the incredibly weird yet refined branches of the Corkscrew Camellia, a slightly contorted yet graceful Acacia ‘Green Mist’, a compact native alpine Pygmy Pine, masses of Bromeliads, the under-utilized Kaihua (Maori Jasmine or Parsonsia Heterophylla) that flowers almost continuously all year round, conifers, vireyas, Red Russelia, and heaps, heaps more. However, despite sounding like the garden should be bursting at the seams, all the plantings are surprisingly well contained, in a garden that is clearly a well-balanced expression of Lyndell’s obvious love of plants, nature, and design.

What is perhaps slightly surprising is that Lyndell’s design career was initially unrelated to gardens, as she was initially a fashion designer, who amongst other things designed swimwear. But in some ways her love of fashion is still showcased in her garden. Yet despite being tastefully trendy, her desire to “respect the spirit of the place and create a garden specific to people, landscape needs, and climate” shines through.

I think that this is one of the real strengths of the Heroic Garden Tour. In that each garden tells a story. And due to the wide range of very different gardens across Auckland, there are lots of different tales. Tales, which if we strain to hear them, help showcase how people, and their dreams and ideas, interact and change the physical world.

The Heroic Festival is taking place on the weekend of the 14th & 15th February. If you would like to visit Lyndall's, and any of the other 26 masterpieces, you can find more information here »

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