Episode 4: Sailor Morgan
Five years ago our recipient Sailor Morgan and his family returned to the old family home in Wainui Bay, Northland. He found casual work at a local quarry, but when he's not there helping others - diving for seafood for a funeral, bringing in a grader to fix the road after the stream has flooded, mowing the lawns at the cemetery, bus stop, verges and marae.
Sailor keeps an eye on the whole bay. He repairs the verges after car-damage, he even scoops up after the cows have been down the road! He gets a digger and truck from work and repairs neighbours' drives, paying his boss for the equipment as many of those he helps have little spare money. He's known as a peacemaker, often taking young guys under his wing and straightening them out. He's been brought up in the old ways, so people rely upon him to know what to do in times of trouble.
But Sailor doesn't have much himself, having taken on a hefty mortgage to repair the old house, so plans for the enormous section remained dreams. When we arrived the garden consisted of a slope his wife Amanda has planted with cuttings from friends, Sailor's terracing project to prevent more landslides, a hole dug for a pond, a few old fruit trees and a LOT of lawn.
Although the huge section presented a challenge, landscape architect Richard Greenwood felt it offered an opportunity for a truly large-scale design with different feature areas.
Lucky for us Sailor's in with his boss the quarry manager! Mita turned up with a huge excavator, truckloads of enormous local boulders, and a bobcat which performed like a ballerina! We excavated outside the kitchen/living area of the house and built a pergola-covered deck leading onto a concrete-floored entertaining area, from where there would be 180-degree views across the valley down to the sea. This involved moving a very substantial water tank to somewhere less intrusive, and replacing it with a specimen pohutukawa tree. The new entertaining area was completed with some incredible furniture made by Rustic Twist, with Maori motifs all sculpted into coloured metal, plus a state-of-the art Rinnai barbeque.
On one day we counted 100 volunteers at this garden! And we needed them for all the planting. After the bobcat had carefully placed the huge boulders on the bank dividing the two levels of the property, we planted it with natives. More planting with literally hundreds of young native plants to retain Sailor's terraces, plus on the lower level an entire orchard of exotic fruit trees from Incredible Edibles.
We cleaned up the pond and built a jetty out of some reclaimed timber so that the children could access their boat more safely.
Lastly - the cherry on the cake: a truly big boy's toy for
Sailor, thanks to John Deere: the most powerful and glamorous
ride-on lawnmower you've ever seen!
Materials and suppliers
Our thanks to all of the following sponsors, without whom Sailor's new garden would not have been possible:
Greenwood Design Ltd
Terragona Landscape Contractors
Natural Habitats Ltd
Townscapes Landscapes Ltd
The Plant People Ltd
Coloured concrete for terrace:
Rinnai New Zealand Limited
All paint and accessories for the series supplied by:
Resene Paints Ltd
Tel: 0800 RESENE
Pergola: Lumbersider "Diesel"
Water tank: Lumbersider "Racing Green"
Turfgrass Specialists Ltd
See varieties below and contact your local garden centre.
Milne's Plant Link Ltd
Freephone: 0508 645 637
Carex fagellifera brown
Carex comans bronze
Fig "Mrs Williams"
Olive "El Greco"
Blueberry "Blue Dawn"
Mulch and planting mix:
All potting mix, soils, barks and mulches for the series supplied by:
Redvale Garden Care Ltd
Luxury accommodation and dinner for Sailor and
Copthorne Hotel & Resort, Bay of Islands
Po Box 150