My mother started my love of Sweetpeas. The garden at home would be full of them, carefully picked daily throughout the summer to adorn the mantels around the house and the Bed and Breakfast in little vases. In NZ we’re very lucky to have Dr Keith Hammett, a breeder of ornamental plants based around the corner from Vineyard Cottages in Auckland. A fair few hours have been spent on his website and I’ve ordered a LOT of seeds for the sweetness for our wedding in December. 

Upcycled fence batons make great planter boxes

Upcycled fence batons make great planter boxes

One of the projects this year has been to turn the area around the pétanque court into a hidden garden for our guests to go and enjoy. Upcycling the old fencing posts into flower beds our superstar team player Tori spent the morning gently planting 48 Sweetpea seedlings around the old canes we took from the vineyard tidy up last month. I’m so excited to see how they all grow and to be able to use the flowers for the cottages and our wedding. 

After Tori planted the 48 seedlings we found there are still 40 to go out so it’s all systems go around the property to find the right spots for them let alone all the dahlias we have growing too! Fingers crossed by December our gardens will be bright with all the gorgeous colours and smells.

To complement the sweetpeas and add a whole load of colour we’re planting along the back of the garden 12 different coloured hydrangeas which will provide some privacy as well. I have collected a number of different hydrangea plants over the years including a glorious deep red one from Wanganui a few years back. Now it’s time to be patient and watch them grow!

Last year I managed to save some seed from the sweetpeas in the vegetable garden. They were a stunning dark purple, so once I find the package (hidden in a safe place!) we’ll get those planted up too and tucked them around Pinot Noir Cottage to go with the other lovely purples in the garden.

The other side of the hedge to the petanque court is a little grassy area which is pretty useless. We’re looking for a piece of sculpture to go in their but at the weekend decided to plant an old mirror into the grass to add a bit of shape and fun to the little glade.

VC Archie

Archie meets the mirror

Archie wasn’t 100% sure of the new dog in the garden and kept running behind the glass to find it. The look of delight on his face when he realised it was in fact himself was totally priceless. Nora on the other hand, growled at herself twice before heading off in a totally different direction.

Aspirin is so good for roses, brandy for sweet peas, and a squeeze of lemon-juice for the fleshy flowers, like begonias.
— Gerald Durrell, My family and other animals