If Gilly and Fraser Brodie are trying to keep their green fingers under cover, then their home’s frontage is a key player in the subterfuge.
From the roadside, only two plant pots flanking the front door give any indication that green things grow at this Tauranga address. It’s in sharp contrast to what’s behind the fences of this property with its Italianate house.
“The public entry to all of our homes has invariably been on the southern side so no one has any idea what the northern aspect offers in terms of garden. There’s very much an element of surprise,” says Fraser.
The unexpected delights are pure Mediterranean: concrete ponds, one with a lion-head water feature and others with an interconnecting rill; a grapevine-clad gazebo; and an abundance of formal hedging.
* A Tauranga home that celebrates the ’70s
* An abundant Tauranga garden filled with birds, bees and plants
* A perfectly bespoke Tauranga family home
There are cypress and olive trees, red geraniums in terracotta pots atop pillars, kumquat trees with their orange bursts of colour and potager gardens laden with vegetables and herbs… perfect for adding pizzazz to pasta – Fraser loves to cook and Gilly enjoys making pesto and kasundi tomato relish.
Gilly and Fraser have called their garden Piccola Lante. It’s their adaptation of Villa Lante, a “most lovely” Italian garden of the Renaissance period.
Their specific garden idea germinated from a book dedicated to the photographic history of gardens, while the general Italian theme was one they had already played around with in a previous garden.
“We knew that an Italian theme was what would suit us best here. We wanted less of the free-flowing and more of the structured, and less of the ongoing work too,” says Gilly.
Their new suburban site offered a clean slate to work with; it abuts a public reserve with towering trees, which provided an established backdrop. Gilly has since scaled the fence to plant masses of bluebells, as well as wildflowers and swan plants to encourage birds, bees and butterflies,