Blending farm and garden

MaryAnne with some of her magnolias.

MaryAnne and Rod Calver moved from their kiwifruit orchard to their farm on Lindemann Road 31 years ago so that they would have more room for their horses, and to also farm livestock.

Both MaryAnne and Rod have had a lifelong association with horses and they had met a few years previously on the hunt field.

Sadly, their horses are now buried on a special place down the farm and now their riding is all done on an electric tandem on which they have ridden most of New Zealand`s cycle trails including the Timber Trail and the Kopiko(East Cape to Cape Egmont).

When MaryAnne first came to Aberfeldy, the property had no garden and so she was able create an ever expanding park incorporating many trees and shrubs.

Rod is pleased that the garden expansion has ceased but six years ago, another 2.5 hectares of riparian planting all along their section of the Tahawai stream had been done in mainly natives but it does incorporate some large English trees that were planted 30 years ago, and also some redwoods at the seaward end.

The farm has very high fertility, which has meant the tree growth alongside the stream has been amazing.

MaryAnne will admit that initially she planted too many trees and, for at least 15 years, the garden is visited annually by Brett Soutar of “Short Back and Sides” to remove trees and use their arbor skills to control the growth of the trees and shrubs.

The farm was run as a small sheep and cattle property and, at one stage, ran 250 ewes.

Now, there are no sheep on the property and they are two years into a Speckle Park breeding programme and all the cattle on the property are either Speckle Park or Angus.

Aberfeldy History

Aberfeldy has connections going back to the founding of the Katikati Settlement by George Vessey Stewart in the 1870s.

One of the seven big houses built in the Katikati area by Major General Stoddard was sold to Mrs Mary Gledstanes in 1879. She was the sister of George Vessey Stewart.

Rod has several newspaper clippings about this house which was called Larkspur.

In 1881, Mrs Gledstanes held a ball at her house and chronicled is a description of all the ladies dresses. Sadly, the house burnt down in 1905.

Fruitful legacy

However, it has left its legacy of wonderful 150 year old trees including a Norfolk Pine, a Morton Bay fig, an Olive tree and a very fruitful fig.

Also, the area has many wonderful old gum trees which would have been planted for shelter from the winds coming from over the Kaimai Range.

These old gums are the Calver’s main source of firewood.

MaryAnne`s garden can best be described as a rambling rural garden of many rooms which feature roses, magnolias, camellias vireyas, hydranges and clivias.

In spring, daffodils cascade under silver birch trees.

Part of the garden`s beauty is in the vistas out over the farm, its cattle, the riparian plantings and of the old Larkspur homestead site with its 150 year old trees.

Aberfeldy is one of many gardens to feature in the Katikati Rotary Garden Ramble this year.

Held every two years, the ramble on the first weekend in November from 9am to 5pm each day and features both rural and urban gardens from Athenree to Aongatete.

This year Kings, Seeds will be open to the public on the Saturday and ramblers will be able to purchase seeds and learn about this important Katikati business. Many of the gardens will also have other attractions such as artists, music and sculptures.

Tickets costing $30 for the weekend are available at the Katikati Arts Junction or can be purchased on line

Katikati Rotary welcomes people from out of the area to come for the weekend.

Self-contained caravans and campervans can be parked at the Katikati Primary School or at Council designated caravan parks around the area.


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