Passionate Plant People: An Eclectic Garden of Eden

05 Dec, 2022

Meet Delwyn, our customer service superstar at Kings Plant Barn Henderson, who gave us a tour of her beautiful garden at her home in Muriwai – a true reflection of her personality, creativity, and passion for nature and plants.

“It’s quite hard not coming home with a new plant each day I go to work...” says Delwyn, who has worked for Kings on and off for the past 10 years. Her garden is a masterpiece of creativity, with almost every type of plant imaginable flourishing in pockets of her Muriwai property. “I didn’t really have a vision for the garden when we bought the property 7 years ago, it was a blank canvas, so I just kept buying plants I liked and popped them in where I thought they’d look good”. Every single plant seems perfectly placed, thanks to the hours Delwyn spends reading and learning about each plant before planting it. The result is a unique, spectacular landscape that is not just a beauty to look at, but also home to birds, bees, butterflies, and even a few pesky pukekos.

From the Grevillea Gateway, to the Perennial Paradise, every pocket of the garden has a different style, reflective of Delwyn’s bubbly personality, and her partner Chris’s passion for one of a kind upcycled garden art. Chris’s creativity was unleashed during lockdown when he started making mosaics. Every piece of art in the garden tells a story, and almost everything has been crafted by Chris. One of our favourites was the surfboard bench seat which Chris lovingly started making only months after they moved in. Mastered out of everything from scrap metal, to broken mirrors and pot pieces, each unique sculpture feels like it could be on display in a museum.

You can’t help but feel inspired from the moment you walk in, the garden bursting with colour, the sweet smell of roses, and rows of grevillea lining the fence line. “They’re just so easy to care for”, said Delwyn, when asked where her love of grevilleas came from, “And the Tuis love them almost as much as we do”. There’s almost every type of grevillea planted, with varieties such as Honey Gem, Moonlight, Green and Cream, Ignite, Eureka, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Canberra Gem. “I choose plants for their names too, not just how they look. My favourite roses have musical inspired names, like Trumpeter and Rock 'n' Roll, in honour of Chris who is a talented musician. So, there’s a little bit of both of us in the garden.” And with roses in full bloom in November, Delwyn couldn’t resist adding a few more to her collection – Blackberry Nip, Deep Secret, Absolutely Fabulous, and Wild Cat have recently been planted.

As you walk past the “Dragon Garden” named after the dracaena draco that towers over all the cacti and succulents covering the rocky base, Delwyn has various sized pots and pockets filled with experimental plantings of contrasting colours you can’t help but be drawn to. Tubers and bulbs bursting with new life, courgettes ready for picking, the stunning dahlia mystic and of course the newest variety of hydrangea – Tuxedo Red – which she simply had to have when it arrived for the first time in Kings stores a few months ago. The perfectly manicured lawn is lined with an edible orchard of almost every fruit imaginable. Limes, lemons, blood oranges, apples, peaches, blueberries, figs, orangequat, raspberries, guavas, nectarines, and perfect plum trees laden with fruit, which Delwyn says has taken almost seven years to produce “After 5 years with no signs of plums, I decided to add a pollinator to give it a boost. I planted a billington, and finally we have plums!

Delwyn loves nothing more than picking fruit and veggies from the garden with her 4-year-old granddaughter Milla. In the raised vegetable garden, you’ll find seasonal potatoes, sugar snap peas, carrots, beetroot and tomatoes. Her healthy harvests are thanks to the regular watering, nutrient rich soil and liquid feeding with potash every two weeks.

Delwyn credits the health of her plants to her fanatical attention to ensuring the soil is healthy. “We dig in Kings Compost with the existing soil when planting anything into the ground. We also put a thick layer of cardboard under the mulch to restrict weed growth and fertilise in spring and summer to replace any lost nutrients."

“I find it so peaceful and therapeutic being in the garden. It really centers me and connects me to nature, even when I’m just weeding" You’d think Delwyn had been a gardener her entire life seeing how well cared for all the plants were, but in fact it was only 10 years ago when she discovered her passion for gardening when they reluctantly did up the garden at their Glenfield home to get it looking good before going on the market. “I was amazed at how easy it was to make the space look beautiful and wished we’d got stuck in earlier so we could’ve enjoyed it."

Delwyn had no idea she'd love gardening as much as she did. She spent most of her working life in an office. It wasn’t until one day a flyer arrived in the letterbox promoting a horticultural course in Kumeu when she decided it was time for a change. As part of the course, Delwyn volunteered at Kings Plant Barn in Porana Road, and was quickly hired on a permanent basis at the Silverdale store as a buyer for perennials, herbs and succulents. “Kings was an amazing learning ground for me, I was surrounded by so many passionate people who were willing to share their knowledge with me." “There’s still so much to learn. I’m probably the local libraries most regular visitor. Each week I get out multiple gardening, craft and cooking books and get lost in the pages learning about different ways to grow plants, and all the things you can do with them. What I love the most about working for Kings (other than shopping for new plants while I’m at work), is sharing my experiences with our customers. Every garden is different, and every gardener needs to learn their own way, but if I can help someone try something new by sharing what’s worked in my own garden, I come home with a smile on my face.”

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