Garden Trail – Day Two

Saw some fabulous gardens today and chatted to some amazing gardeners – John Burton’s gruff exterior hides the heart of a man who has been involved with gardening since the age of 5 … and he turned 83 recently! John is helping out at Alf and Shirley Mundt’s Te Puna garden as he has advised Alf in plant selection and planning the garden.

Welcome to the garden of Jo Dawkins

Jo Dawkins, who spends almost every waking hour at Te Puna Quarry Park has a neat and tidy home garden full of interesting plants, plus a nursery she keeps for the Bethlehem Country Club retirement village (plus she plays golf). How does she manage it? 


Gael Blaymires, whose Looking Glass Garden (extensive and hilly) is opening from Thursday to Sunday, was visiting Jo’s garden today and reckons that being committed to a garden ensures “skinniness”! Looking at the pair of them, it must be true.

Just down the road, Colleen Thwaites’ garden was, as always, a picture and, as always, had visitors reeling at the riot of colour, scent and beauty. She’s paired the new Lemon ‘n Lime Rose (bred by Rob Somerfield at Te Puna) with a dark-blue penstemon. Gorgeous. But sometimes pairs like with like – the purpley Blueberry Hill rose with pink-purple cottage flowers.

When I stopped at Palmer’s for a reviving cuppa on the way home I made an impulse purchase – Picotee, also a new release from Rob. I told the cashier that since I lived in Tauranga I should have a Tauranga rose but she didn’t seem very impressed.

Apparently some of the glossy mags are in town so expect to see some of our fabulous gardens gracing their pages from now on.


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