This book celebrates the endeavours and achievements of women gardeners who are responsible for some of the most-admired gardens within New Zealand. Often starting as a home-based hobby, fitting around child care and other domestic tasks, the gardens developed by the women featured in this book have evolved into living works of art.
Scattered from the far north to Stewart Island, these gardens have a few things in common. Each one has been developed by a woman responding to her own landscape and locale with energy and verve. Often an outlet for a creative urge, the gardens portray a wide cross-section of styles. The stories of the gardeners also share common bonds – hard work and a passion for the landscape – but also stories of combating isolation, loss and joining a sisterhood of gardeners.
Some gardens are well known and justly celebrated both here and overseas: Bev McConnell’s Ayrlies in Auckland, and Margaret Barker’s garden at Larnach Castle in Dunedin. Others are undiscovered gardens worthy of wider attention. Gracious country rose gardens, inner city courtyards and edible gardens all feature.