NZ Gardener Magazine article - March 2009

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STORY: Jane Wrigglesworth  PHOTOS: Sally Tagg

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.Sue and Bruno Reusser

When your office view flaunts emerald waters and sweeping vistas you probably don't mind going to work every day. Meet the happy couple Sue and Bruno Reusser whose hand-crafting of home and garden has culminated in a picturesque haven.

Sue and Bruno have lived on the Barrier for 35 years. They built their home (using no power tools because they didn't haLooking out to the estuary from the Reussers' gardenve a generator then; although they now have solar and wind power), then developed a lovely garden overlooking the estuary.

A savvy hotchpotch of veges and flowers grows side by side, and the emphasis is on organic gardening and self-sufficiency. They never spray: "Not even organic sprays".  They're too busy being mussel farmers for that.
 

Most veges are allowed to go to seed, for two reasons. Carrots and parsnips are particularly fine-looking in flower, says Sue, but they're really there to attract the beneficial insects. And the whole outlook, with pretty flowers and seedheads, looks splendid indeed.

Hundreds of plants have been grown by seed that Sue has collected, and others from organic seed bought from Koanga Gardens and Kings Seeds.

Sue experiments with new varieties regularly, particularly those that have a short growing season. 'Hungarian Yellow Wax' peppers - a hot, canary yellow, banana-type chilli - have been a great success, as have the long thin Japanese eggplants. Certain varieties of tomato do well here, like 'Russian ReA basketful of homegrown macadamia nutsd', a variety that apparently does well in Dunedin too.

Climbing a gentle slope, you come to the house and orchard. The verandah is clothed in grape vines (I can vouch for the tastiness of the fruit!) and an adjoining area is home to several fruit trees. Wander a little further and there are still more fruit trees.

"It's too warm to grow apricots and cherries and too cold to grow coconuts. But we can grow everything that's subtropical. We have bananas - the 'Lady Finger' varieties, which grow better in a colder climate - cherimoya, casimiroa, nine different varieties of plum trees, figs, nine different types of apples, a dozen feijoas, quinces, pears, nectarine, guava, lots of citrus, macadamia nuts and lots of peaches." It's a veritable fruit bowl.

 


Harvest
Time.





Bruno's trusty
Thermette is
used regularly
to brew up
a cuppa.


 

A raised bed is netted to keep out the birds.

           

FREE AS A BIRD

* There are always plenty of eggs at the home of Bruno and Sue Reusser. The Reussers keep between 12-18 chickens in a large enclosure beside their orchard.

* At meal times they're fed a diet of mussels and garden scraps, and each day they're let out of their enclosure and allowed to roam freely around the orchard to scoff any bugs and fallen fruit - and to fertilise the ground. A system has also been set up in the chook house so that manure is easily collectable for the garden.

 

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Reproduced with permission - Subject to copyright in its entirety.
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