Bridget Romaines |

Meadowbank, Auckland | February 2014

“ The garden provides me with fresh food and an opportunity to be creative.” ....more words below images

Bridget Romaines | Meadowbank, Auckland | February 2014

We have had our garden in Meadowbank, Auckland for 5 years. It is north facing, very sunny on a gentle slope. It is fairly varied, consisting of a strawberry patch, an avocado bed and side beds of fruit trees. The main part is formed from 8 raised beds planted with vegetables and wild flowers that cover 30 square metres.

I don’t spend much time in the garden during winter, but in summer I am out there for about 2 days a week.

I was inspired to start gardening by my daughter – then aged 8.  She was a keen participant in the Meadowbank School’s enviro and gardening programmes and started coming home with all sorts of ideas and information.  I chipped out a patch of turf from the clay base, threw in some compost and a cherry tomato plant and was rewarded with a bumper crop – I was hooked.  I got involved at school as a parent volunteer, including later with the ‘Garden to table’ programme, and learned so much from the committed educators Wendy Maasters and Nicky Elmore.

I had a great spot for a garden but not the expertise to transform a lawn-covered slope into a productive garden.  Online I found the wonderful Clare Jackson from Greenfootprint who helped me with the optimal layout for the garden and her friends Nelson and Dani who knew all about permaculture gardens and built and set up the beds.

My youngest son, Jonathon, is a most willing companion for any gardening related to berries.  Apart from him I work alongside a parade of visiting WWoofers who we host in return for their help in the garden and to remind us of our own adventures travelling the world!

Courgettes, strawberries, silver beet, avocadoes, spring onions, garlic, onions, tomatoes, leeks, bok choi all grow really well but potatoes and passionfruit are not successful. We suffer from passionvine hoppers.  Having tried unsuccessfully to control them by egg eradication we are sadly resigned to not having a passionfruit vine again… I am unhappy when I lose produce to pests - I’d prefer to be eating it myself!

The garden provides me with fresh food and an opportunity to be creative.

I love cooking with produce from the garden, looking out the window at its lovely form and working in it on a sunny day in the summer. Summer is my favourite season when the garden is in full production!  Very satisfying to harvest and spend time admiring and sharing produce and tips with my gardening buddies.

I am an organic and natural gardener all the way.  It has been so satisfying to see the soil improve over the last five years.

My highest garden moment is having my garden featured in POD – because it has caused me to pause and reflect on how satisfying it has been to have seen the change from an unproductive and featureless patch of lawn to an aesthetically pleasing and food-providing resource for my family!