My Favourite Window

September 9, 2011

Pegasus Bay

No school today: the sun shining and spring blooming. "Let's show the children Pegasus Bay," says my sister.  She means the winery, not the great bight where the Pacific Ocean laps the coast between Kaikoura and Christchurch.

And really, it is the garden we are interested in today. The wine is memorable and the best Pinot Noir I've tasted came from here, but for a gardener with an interest in history and design, this is one of New Zealand's truly inspirational gardens. In spite of the Old World feel evoked by the use of traditional garden elements, and features such as the re-claimed village fountain and the chateau-esque winery the place feels grounded in the North Canterbury of my childhood. Before there were vineyards and olive groves there were sheep farms; the  homesteads sited out of the prevailing winds, or sheltered by
plantings of macropcarpa and pine.

And always there was water: a creek, a pond, and that special haunt of children The Gully.  It's all here, but not only have the cosmopolitan owners brought an international flavour to the garden, they are also ensuring that it honours the deep past, with indigenous plantings and inducements, such as the lizard motel, shown right, to encourage native wildlife; as well as reference to ancestral tangata whenua, the people of the land.

I asked the children what they thought of the garden:

Kitty liked all the mysterious paths

Rowan, whose early years were spent in Leamington Spa, and who was certainly exposed to some of Britain's great gardens,
marvelled through the eyes of a 13 year old, that you'd never see anything like this in England.  I could hear him exclaiming with delight as he made his way around the place, and he told me that he liked the archways and the way that paths were closed in on each side.  "It's so beautiful." Is how he summed up his feelings.

Bryony felt that it was uncontrived and in the language of a 17 year old, expressed her appreciation that it was not a try-hard garden.

But for all my own admiration of concept, and horticultural excellence and attention to detail, seeing signs of the actuality of gardening always gives me the greatest pleasure; and that actuality today, was watching the gardener at work...

Chris Donaldson, not only the gardener but the owner of Pegasus Bay winery.

Macrocarpa, Monterey cypress  Cupressus macrocarpa
Pine, radiata pine, Monterey pine  Pinus radiata


Owen said...

Sounds like a lovely place... although I'm surprised you didn't run into the Saj there, if there is wine to be tasted, she couldn't have been far away. The mention of gardens in England made me think of a magical place we visited a few years ago, the lost gardens of Heligan, not far from Falmouth. Which could also be called a garden that is not a "trying hard" kind of place, just naturally fabulous.

Owen said...

PS many thanks for your thoughts on some of my ancient posts, I'm simply astonished, very pleasantly so, that anyone would actually go back and look through it, as though picking up a coffee table book... I really haven't seen many comments on any post older than three or four days. They seem to have short shelf life for most readers. Understandably so, in today's BUSY world. And I noticed in your profile where you said you were born in 1960; and I raise a virtual glass to you, for me too... January. It was a very fine year I think...

Jeneane said...

I did think of the Saj, that I would like to take her there for a break from her circumstances...
I read about Heligan after I'd returned to NZ, and kicked myself for not having gone off, during my final year living in England, to be one of the working party that slashed and dug and dredged it out of its slumbers. One day...

A virtual coffee table book: that's a good way of putting it. I've noticed that when I and presumably others come across a new blog I do a quick scan,and because of that time business, don't go much beyond the post of the moment. The occasional stumble across older posts and also the realisation that most of us don't get read much to start with, made me aware of all that effort going unappreciated. Since my husband's death I have found it hard to read books and even magazines, so for the time being you are my reading material!
Well I should have guessed we are about the same age with music references and talk of print photography. If you are interested you could read my Ice Breaker post (21 Feb) for a peek at one wee corner of the World in Jan 1960.

The Sagittarian said...

Oh I would love to visit there, and it's Tuesday so maybe I should have a 'business meeting' that I must attend and hot foot it out there right away?
I won't be able to visit there this weekend, we are shifting into a real house and away from the bunker! I'll drink to that!!