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More or less, out of necessity the borders have mainly been restricted to perennials.  The borders are Shirley's special parts of the garden, as she selected all of the plants, and they are her favourites.  After the borders were initially dug, Shirley has been their sole carer, and put in very hard work in keeping the garden beautiful and healthy.  It is especially appreciated by our visitors who are gardeners themselves.  She has put in lots of hard work as there is an abundance of roots and pine needles and weeds ready to intrude.  Of the latter, not so much now.  There is also a deficiency of sunlight and water because of the essential pine shelter trees.  Every year, since it has been established, and that has been many, many years now, she has faithfully mulched the garden, cut back the old foliage, and watered it in the summer months. By 1995 the garden was all but completely planted.  The garden was tidy and pleasant but a long way from mature  When you start out to establish a large garden you have to make some difficult decisions about planting and tree spacing.  The commonly understood rule for plant size is usually based on well nourished and well cared for growth at 10 years.  On that basis it would be a long and patient wait before the garden was full and bountiful with flowers.  Generally speaking trees and shrubs increase their capacity, i.e. their size, by one third each year.  The choice we made was to over plant to fill the space quicker with colour and ultimately texture, knowing that we would face extreme culling later.   While this was happening we were busy making and caring for the lawn spaces to frame the garden, and establish spaces for sculptures. Incidentally we had no intention of opening the garden to the public, but the garden was showing real promise in 1995, and we both felt it would be a bit selfish to keep it to ourselves.  We thought that perhaps we could try opening up for part of the year and spend the remainder doing things we wanted to do, like trips etc.  We had had enough of business, we didn't want Efil Doog to become a business, and I don't think it was a real possibility anyway.  Neither of us wanted to comply with the documentation that is necessary and I don't think there was any possibility that we could convince the Tax Department that the garden would ultimately make a profit.  What we wanted was a lifestyle with no serious ties, no hassle or stress.   In other words we could do what we wanted, when we wanted.  Over the intervening years, because of my past experience, I had been invited to join a number of groups, trusts and organisations, but have somewhat selfishly declined, and we have avoided anything that might interfere with our freedom, and tranquil lifestyle. Since our retirement we have been in a position where we were free from financial worries, not rich, but we could afford to meet the financial cost of opening the garden to the public.  This was substantial, but enabled us to have a garden that people would be pleased to visit.  These costs are unavoidable, and probably wouldn't occur to the same extent if you were just living on the property, but to our minds, if you are going to charge people to visit your garden, you must provide a garden which is tidy, well cared for and have something just a little bit special. The joy of having a garden open to the public, particularly in your retirement, is all the wonderful and interesting people you meet – people who have similar interests and outlooks, and maybe like you, just a little crazy.  People come from all over the world, they love exciting places and ideas and are folk who do things, they are proud of their life and achievements and most of them like talking about it. Occasionally we get the stereotype, sad visitor who cant help remarking how lucky we are to live in a place like this, just as if God had lifted us up and dropped us into a ready-made garden but we genuinely enjoy looking after and caring for our visitors.  It is a wonderful way to spend one's later years, meeting and greeting people with a positive outlook who are living for tomorrow and not thinking about yesterday. Just before retiring we had thought we might put some sculptures in the garden, and having enjoyed doing a little wood carving in the past, I felt I could turn out something acceptable myself but I really didn't know where to start.  If I could watch somebody, I could get the drift.  So a few months before retirement I visited the Sculpture Symposium at Frank Kitts Park after work, and I did so for several evenings after work.  I just watched the sculptors dressed in my dark business suit, white shirt, tie and shiny black polished shoes.  They were working on two ton blocks of Oamaru stone (limestone); there was plenty of fine white dust and it got everywhere.  It was interesting and I was captivated by the imagination, complexity, skill and hard work involved in the procedure and became an immediate devotee. After I had watched for several evenings, I reckoned I could knock a couple of sculptures out, so I ordered two 2 ton blocks of limestone from the quarry at Oamaru. Some of the sculptures I saw being carved were very intriguing.  The concepts appealed to me and after discussion with Shirley we determined to select five pieces for the garden, if we could get them at a fair price.  We chose five pieces, or rather five pieces chose us, and I approached each artist as to the cost.  There was a lot of umming and aahing especially among the new artists, quite obviously they were looking for advice from the more senior artists as to the value of their works, and the next day they came back to me with extremely unrealistic prices suggested by professional sculptors, who I believe were trying to ratchet the inexperienced artists work in order to safeguard their own positions.  One of the senior artists, who was also the organiser, had even suggested to them that because I was a businessman and wore a suit, I was obviously a con-man anyway.  “You can't trust businessmen – they are all con-men”.  As you can imagine, this annoyed me.  But I accept that this attitude from pseudo intellectual socialists, particularly mediocre teachers, is common. I arranged a  joint meeting with the five artists, I told them I was prepared to purchase the pieces and I would give them $20,000, there and then, for the finished pieces provided they were properly finished and delivered to Efil Doog.  As far as the prices for the individual pieces were concerned, that was for them to figure out for themselves.  There was immediate agreement and the sculptures were ultimately installed in the garden along with others purchased and some pieces I did myself. There are now in excess of 50 sculptures in the garden, they add a different dimension and have matured and aged with the garden, along with the trees and shrubs.  The sculptures I bought from the Frank Kitts Sculpture Symposium were New Dawn by Marie Moanoroa Pareta Munroe – Rock of Ages by Tanya Ashken – Fertility by Tuti Tuaokakao – Life Can Continue by Alan Williams – Rebirth by Bodhi Vincent and I am not sure whether it was that year or the following year I bought a very nice sculpture called Square on Wellington by Hisao Kameyama. Tuti's sculpture and also the sculpture by Hisao I believe would both bring substantial prices these days.  They are both interesting and excellent. .  
Incidentally we had no intention of opening the garden to the public, but the garden was showing real promise in 1995, and we both felt it would be a bit selfish to keep it to ourselves.

The History and the making of the Garden Efil Doog

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