On entering this delightful garden one is immediately aware that a plants-woman lives here. There is a sense of order; plant textures that play off against one another, colour schemes that are muted, yet there are elements of focal points on the opposite side of the colour spectrum that provide excitement, and then there are the clever groupings of plants according to their water requirements.
Pam’s knowledge of plant requirements stems from her farming background. She was acutely aware of the poor sandy soil when she and her late husband Charles moved to Leisure Isle 15 years ago. This has since been transformed over the years to a nutrient- rich base for luxuriant growth; compost is regularly replenished and a rigorous feeding programme is in place. Plants are indeed fortunate to have found a home in this garden, as they are loved and cared for with a passion.
Pam’s favorite plant is the rose: there are some new hybrids but her favourites are the old romantic roses. Last winter trenches were dug around the roses and the soil was removed and replaced with compost, gypsum, lucerne meal, bonemeal and micro root. The roses are pruned in July, lime sulphur is applied 3 times a week and a thick layer of manure is placed around the growth node. Pam feeds with Ludwig’s Vigorosa and Neutrog’s Sudden Impact throughout the season, alternating every 3 weeks.
The standard Solanum rantonnettii, also known as Lycianthes rantonnetii, is cut back to the ‘ball’ every second year and the Bougainvilleas are severely hacked back in winter. The blue flowers of the Solanum are a perfect foil for the mixed border of Delphiniums, Inca lilies, Lavatera and roses. The Delphiniums were grown from seeds given to Pam by Brian Robinson and these amazing plants now stand almost 2 metres tall!
Around the house to the back is a hidden treasure; you enter the circular vegetable garden through the arbor and beyond that is the yellow garden. This garden is a tribute to Pam’s son who died 2 years ago. His love for yellow flowers inspired Pam to create this lovely section: to break the monotony of one colour Pam introduced bronze foliage, rust coloured bougainvillea and apricot Incas and roses with great success.
Pam has created a garden that is peaceful, yet there is exuberance of life. The garden is beautifully maintained, yet the impression is given that plants are allowed to do their own thing. This garden is relaxed and a wonderful tribute to Pam’s gardening skills. Well done!
Photographs and Text: Esther Townsend