A plain little garden on Waiheke has been transformed into a place of enchantment with a range of？subtropical plants
THE SITEpersonalized teacher supplies
Stuart Jobling and his partner Barry Danby have created a？delightful， densely planted subtropical garden on Waiheke Island. With its canopy of palms， flowering trees and lush-leaved subtropicals below， the exotic garden is a far cry from the rather ordinary property the couple bought back in 2011.“There was virtually no garden， just lawnlinen cushion covers，” Stuart explains. “There was one or two large willows and a kanuka – that was about it.”
“But we liked the house，” continues Barry.？ “And the flat site which is rare on Waiheke.？ It’s also a very sheltered location； plus it has a stream.” Other factors in the site’s favour are its good depth of topsoil， which makes planting easy， and its high water table that is a boon to gardeners on an island where water is very precious.
THE LANDSCAPING PLAN
The first major landscaping project was the construction of the boardwalks that meander through the garden， connecting the street front car parking area and the pedestrian entrance to the existing bridge over the stream. Next the couple added a pergola over the bridge and built the oriental-inspired summerhouse， with Stuart doing most of the construction himself. He also built his art studio and laid the gravel paths using local Waiheke stone.
“We built it all ourselves with only one argument，” laughs Barry. “We also had to replace all the decks， as they were originally built by a 70-year-old and weren’t level.”
Words by： Carol Bucknell. Photos by： Helen Bankers.
Stuart’s tiny art studio is a creative hideaway secluded in the garden.
In a cool， shady spot in the middle of the garden， Stuart and Barry have created a quiet sitting area where they escape the heat on very hot days.
The front of the house which faces north west has a more cottage garden feel， with pots of flowering annuals around the deck.
A small bridge crosses the tiny creek， while a variety of secluded seating areas wait to be discovered within the lush vegetation.
Warm conditions and plenty of water mean the subtropical plants have flourished， surrounding the house completely in colour and foliage in just five years.
Palms are Barry’s favourite plants， and the garden features different varieties including fishtail， dwarf Phoenix， bangalows and New Zealand native nikau.
The front garden features a？bit of colour to contrast with the predominantly green subtropical plants.
A BEFORE shot of the garden.
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Part of our love for linen stems from its simplicity, from the fact that it does its job quietly and efficiently for years and years, whilst also looking understatedly beautiful. A driving force behind LinenMe is our belief in the need to slow down, to avoid unnecessary clutter and fast fashion, to appreciate the little things that bring joy in our lives and our homes. We have loved these interviews in the A Simple Path series, and the responses got us thinking: what does the idea of slow living mean to you?