Garden Photo of the Day

Steve’s garden in New Zealand

Today's photos are from Steve Mosley in Auckland, New Zealand. Steve says, "I’m from Auckland but I lived most of my life in Toronto, Ontario, and gardened in Zones 3-6. Now I'm back in Auckland and I garden in a sub-tropical zone. My garden is only a small urban garden – not some big 1/5th or ¼ acre section. I am really lucky as I live on lava flow and have volcanic soil – I’ve had enough of clay!! I have excellent drainage – it requires heaps of mulch and a little fertilizer (both chemical and organic) – the mulch helps with the water." Beautiful, Steve! This is my favorite size garden, and yours is wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing! Feel free to share other gardens from NZ…(Steve is a landscape designer!)


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  1. user-1020932 02/06/2015

    such a beautiful garden and variety of plants in such a beautiful part of the world. i'm seeing japanese maples, hymenocallis, bromeliads, agave (attenuata if i am seeing correctly) , chamaecyparis,,,,,,,,,,,,the list is endless. a great space you have created and how lucky you are to have the soil and climate to have it all. NZ is probably my number 1 want to visit locations tho i will most likely never get to experience it. thanks and i'm so glad to have seen your garden

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 02/06/2015

      Hey, Jeff, have turned me into someone who thinks she sees there one in the lower right corner of the 4th down picture?

      1. user-1020932 02/06/2015

        yep, i think it is Agave attenuata but i could be wrong,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,i'm wrong quite often

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/06/2015

          no, you're right. There's always an agave! :)

          1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/06/2015

            Nope, I am holding out so not always(stubborn soul I am)

          2. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/06/2015

            You know you want one........ :)

      2. steve_mosley 02/06/2015

        Meander1 - yes they are Agave - they didn't make the cut - I removed them because they started to get too big - they started to get 'out of scale' for the garden

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/06/2015

    Lots of wonderful colors and textures, Steve. I really love the warm and welcoming character those aged looking bricks give to your pathway and edging. Did your home have plant material in place to begin with or did you get to start from scratch?

    1. steve_mosley 02/06/2015

      Meander1 - this was an over grown weedy mess when I first moved here - the entire story is on HomeScapes FB page Homescape Garden and Lawn Ltd

  3. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/06/2015

    Oh photos from New Zealand,wow I love traveling the world via the Fine Gardening blog. So many many very familiar plants,for some reason I was thinking more tropical plants, guess I'm way off on on that. Well not really I just looked that up and you can grow almost anything,tropical to typical. Steve I bet you have fun going to nurserys with such diversity in plant material. How did you become a landscape designer? Were you interested in plants as a young person? Have you all ways enjoyed gardening?Your gardens look beautiful and you are enjoying Summer so your gardens are in full swing. Lucky you!!!

    1. steve_mosley 02/07/2015

      Nuserynotnordstrom - The reason there are not more tropical plants in my garden is my garden is 9 gardens in 1 - when I returned to NZ I needed to know how to grow some plants, how other plants reacted and what would and would not grow in Auckland - as for tropical - I have quite a few - There would be 9 tropical Rhododendrons, Iresene, Phoenix robillini's, Brunfelsia, Cyclamen, Gardenia's to name a few.
      I really don't spend much time at nursery's - I spend most of my time in my clients gardens - and I have every imaginable garden type you could think of - with the exception of a traditional English Cottage Garden - most of the perennials are on NZ's National Weed List - it's against the law to have them.
      My Grandma had me in the garden when I was 4 - the first thing she taught me was the Parsley at her back door "was a bloody weed" cause she would throw her tea leaves around it daily and Parsley loves tea leaves - Gardening has been my passion ever since.
      I love being in my garden - it smells so good.
      If you have not been in NZ this summer - the only thing I can report to you is - it's been really hot, sunny, and really bloody dry!!
      Lucky me!!!

  4. jerrysiss 02/06/2015

    This is one of the pleasing to the eyes backyard gardens I have seen. I am planning a makeover and rearranging of my current backyard and this has inspired me. Good job Steve.

    1. steve_mosley 02/07/2015

      Thank you Jerry - I hope you have as much fun creating your space as I did mine - All my best - enjoy your garden

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/06/2015

    Really a treat this morning. I love the contrast of the rolled grass with the plantings using such great border shapes. The potted specimens are amazing. is it purely design or because of the soil? NZ seems like such a magical land with such variation in elevation and climate. Please do share more.

    1. steve_mosley 02/07/2015

      Tim - Great to hear from you - Yes my friend - you have to come visit some time. NZ - well all I can say - it smells really good!!! we have scented plants all year round with the late spring being the best with roses, citrus, Brunfelsia, Viburnum and Viyreas plus many many more.
      The potted plants are by design - everyone of them are very special to me so if anything happens and I need to move then these can come with me without the nastiness of transplanting.
      our climates are - really different - the big mistake made by many about NZ is we are so small in area that they think it's all of the same - The only way to describe NZ - "might be small in size but it's 'huge' in landscapes.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/07/2015

        Thanks for taking the time to answer questions on the blog, Steve. Informative and interesting. I had a chance to check out your facebook page; I don't do Facebook and was happily surprised to that I could see content. Great work. It was wonderful to see some other photos of the 'curly' japanese maple, and even better to read your environmentally responsible philosophy. I could never garden with only natives because it would limit my artist's palette too much. Better to be conscious of invasive species and incorporate natives and provide for native wildlife, in my opinion. cheers.

  6. VikkiVA 02/06/2015

    Beautiful garden Steve and I love the size and how manicured you keep it. Your plant variety is stunning. I have always been drawn to a garden that incorporates many different plants. Ironically the speaker at my garden club meeting yesterday spoke about growing trees in containers. She said she has several and recommended one always rest the container on hard service, such as a piece of cement or large paver. This would prevent the tree from sending down roots through drainage holes. Do you do that with yours? Your container grown trees look beautiful and healthy. I have to ask what are the two white towers circled by fencing in the last picture and in the same picture what is the very curvy tree trunk(?) that has no leaves? It looks like it may be in a container. Vikki in VA.

    1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/06/2015

      Great point Vikki,I grow many Japanese Maples in pots,I went to move one forward a little last Spring and yes a root had grown through the drainage hole so I had to clip it hoping that I hadn't killed my sweet weeping maple. Fortunately it lived but I hadn't thought of putting pavers or bricks or something under it. Always great information on this blog. Have a happy day!!

    2. steve_mosley 02/07/2015

      VikkiB - Thank you very much - I too like the size - I also love the fact that I am on lava flow with volcanic soil - if you have never gardened in soil like this - you are missing out! you do have to keep the mulch up as the drainage is so good but a minor problem - the reason there are so many types of plants in the garden is due to the fact there are 9 different gardens in this garden - Since I do this for a job I needed to know how the different plants (that I didn't know that well or not a all) would grow in Auckland - so along with the ones I wanted I started planting - they have now all grown into each other to make it look like a well established garden - I do have to keep it under control!
      As for the pots - yeap I always put then on pavers and for the reason your speaker noted - it's a real bummer when that happens - I come across many in the course of the week. It also will (in many cases) bonsai the tree - I use an organic liquid fertilizer - it consists of fish emulsion, seaweed and blood and bone - it's awesome!!!
      The 2x towers is my sculpture I made called Urban Rain - It consists of/represents;
      The two towers are light tubes and they are office towers - the rusted steel cage is in the form of rain drops - representing acid rain - they both sit on a slab of concrete - representing the urban heat sink - and at the base is the broken statue of a woman - representing if we don't look after this world then we will be the broken statue at the base.
      The curly maple does have leaves on it - it is lost with the foliage in the back ground - it is a dwarf Acer palmatum (the cultivar I'm not aware) and has been grown with this curly trunk - it's a form of man-made manipulation - I was given this as a sickly seedling half hanging out of it's root-ball bag and half dead - Yes it's potted and always will be and she is responding well to a bit of TLC!
      Take care and if you would like to see more of my garden please check out FB Homescape Garden and Lawn Ltd - the start to so far album is there.
      Ta for everything

  7. betsycarrsullivan 02/06/2015

    Steve your gardens are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them. It seems like a wonderful and restful place to relax in for you. Love your old pavers in the pathways. I was wondering about the white towers also? Beautiful! Enjoy!!!!

    1. steve_mosley 02/06/2015

      Betsy - thank you - the white towers are a sculpture I built a few years ago - it is called 'Urban Rain' and are rusted steel cages shaped as water droplets around office towers on a solid block of concrete - at the base of the concrete is a broken statue of a woman - the main meaning - if we don't look after our environment we too will be the broken statue - have a wonderful day - Steve

  8. Spring_y 02/06/2015

    It maybe small but it's packed with beauty.

  9. GrannyMay 02/06/2015

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful garden Steve. Great use of space! Love the brick path, curves and use of containers! I don't know why it is always a surprise to see familiar plants growing in locations that we assume to be very different. You have shown that some plants, like roses, daylillies and maples are favourites almost everywhere.

    1. steve_mosley 02/06/2015

      GrannyMay - thank you - the orange rose pictured was given to my Mom (who is aka Nanna) when my eldest Brother past away from Cancer - it's called 'Remember Me' - I get bored with the typical 'you got to stick to the correct genre' - I figure nature will do what nature will do - stick it in and if it grows - great and if it doesn't - oh well try again!

      1. GrannyMay 02/06/2015

        A beautiful way to remember a loved one! And a beautiful rose. As for planting what you shouldn't , no harm in trying what you like. Nature will decide, no matter what we think.

        1. steve_mosley 02/06/2015

          Granny - I am late for work - I am doing a Japanese topiary to an old over grown juniper today so can't wait to get out there - there is more to it when planting - you do have to get most things right like soil, aspect and drainage but I like how you can plant the same type of plant 3' from each other with the same everything and one will grow well and 1 will die - Have a great day/eve - Steve

  10. GrannyCC 02/06/2015

    What a change from Toronto especially at this time of year. You must be enjoying it as your garden is beautiful. I too wondered what the white towers were and thought maybe lights with a cage for vines to grow on. I love all the plants in pots. A good way in small garden to have favourite plants when you have a smaller place. Enjoy your summer Steve.

    1. steve_mosley 02/06/2015

      The 'white towers' as you call them - is a sculpture I built a few years ago - they are light tubes and it's called 'Urban Rain' - they represent the danger's to the environment urban areas can do to the world. The rusted steel mesh around light tubes (represent office towers) is shaped as water droplets and it sits on a solid block of cement - at the base of it is a broken statue of a woman - meaning we need to plant more gardens to reduce the impact of a cityscape. Steve

      1. GrannyMay 02/06/2015

        Wow! Thanks for the explanation. Love the sentiment.

      2. GrannyCC 02/06/2015

        Steve thanks for the explanation. Something to consider. I certainly think we need to plant more gardens.

        1. steve_mosley 02/07/2015

          GrannyCC - I fully agree - have a wonderful day - Steve

  11. beckysspring 02/06/2015

    Love this... Maybe I should take my 1 acre and split it into rooms... Hmmmm.
    And this makes me really wish I could enlarge these pictures like we used to be able to do.

    1. user-1020932 02/06/2015

      i think they enlarge for some people but not for me. if i want to see BIG i have to save image then enlarge from the saved picture

      1. beckysspring 02/06/2015

        I will try that. Thanks!

    2. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/06/2015

      Becky,I have an iPad that I view this on and it's perfect because you can expand and see every little square inch. Love it because I'm a detail person so naturally I want to see the small details. You may want to consider an iPad,I really don't even use my computer much at all anymore.

    3. steve_mosley 02/06/2015

      Becky - Please check out HomeScapes FB page - Homescape Garden and Lawn Ltd - you can view the how the garden has 'grown'

    4. GrannyMay 02/06/2015

      Becky I enlarge by doing a "right-click" on the photo, choosing "open image in new tab" and then going to that new tab where I can enlarge that photo. I do all the photos, one after the other, then can look at them all by switching from tab to tab.

  12. schatzi 02/06/2015

    Beautiful, beautiful! Love the kitty too. Re placing potted trees on pavers: I do too, because I have had problems with verticilium with some of my Japanese maples and I want to keep the potted ones away from the native soil. New Zealand would be a wonderful place to visit!
    So much beauty.

    1. steve_mosley 02/06/2015

      Shirley - I always put the pots on pavers - mainly to stop the roots getting into the ground - I will pass along your hello to Kitty - she just had breakfast so shes currently snoozing - when she wakes up - around dinner time!

  13. Lisianne 02/06/2015

    The circular grass area has really captured my eye; it's quite unique and makes me rethink use of a square space.

  14. GrannyMay 02/06/2015

    Steve, I went to your FB page and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the photos and explanations of how your garden has evolved. Now I know why your lawns look like putting greens!

  15. user-7007327 02/06/2015

    What a lush garden and lawn. Love the brick walkway and circular look of the yard. A pretty kitty, only one? Are the white towers lights?

    1. steve_mosley 02/07/2015

      Elizabeth - ta for your comments - The brick path was found under the heaps of weeds I had to dig out when I first moved here. I changed the lawn area's a bit to create the round look of the yard. The lawn in the small garden is perfectly round. I have my elderly mother living with me and Kitty cat is her cat - she also has another one called puddy cat but she is ever elusive. The 'white towers' are a light sculpture I built called Urban Rain - The towers are the lights and represent the city office tower, the rusted steel cage around them are in the form of rain drops and they are on a slab of concrete - at the foot of the sculpture there is a broken statue of a woman - the meaning is, if we don't look after the environment then we will be the broken statue - it's beautiful at night.

    2. user-7007327 02/07/2015

      Steve, what I wouldn't give to see your light sculptures at night. Pictures, maybe?

  16. steve_mosley 02/07/2015

    Diane - thanks for being in contact - the truth about that pathway - I found it under a deep carpet of weeds when I moved here. I tend my lawns with the utmost care - Auckland is a very tough place to grow grass - we are dogged with pest and diseases - hot and dry then cold and wet so what is required here is you could have 3-4 different types of grasses on your property.
    The first potted plant I did when I came home in 2002 - I still have it - I don't remember any potted tree I have has ever died in a pot - liquid food and remember to water?
    Kitty Cat is Nanna's cat - she also has Puddy Cat but she's ever elusive - My Elderly Mom lives with me - and yes there are plenty of places to sleep.
    Have a pleasant day - thanks again

  17. foxglove12 02/08/2015

    Beautiful, lush and relaxing.

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