Garden History

1970's before the garden development

1970’s before the garden development

When Felicity and Lew moved here, they never thought they would stay. Felicity thought she could paint and be a famous artist, but in a very short time she had 4 children so painting was impossible. “I wanted an activity that could work with the children and me, and we could all do something together. Then I thought of gardening, but on a great scale“. At the beginning, it was a cow paddock. “I looked at it and I could imagine it with trees, garden beds, waterfalls, a lake and a bridge. In my mind I could see it. And I thought I would do it, the children had a beautiful place to play and I could create. That would be my project“.


bridgeBecause Felicity loves Monet’s paintings, she decided to create a Monet garden, with a lake, lily pads and the Wisteria covered bridge, that would be something that she could work on and the children could play in, and they would be all very happy.




tractorLew is pretty handy with moving the earth and created the different levels in the garden and dug out the lake.  he is so cleaver he even built the bridge and the witch’s cottage.






Untitled2Felicity finds her inspiration in all the European gardens. “Because we live in a cool climate with great rain fall we can grow the kind of plants that Monet would grow“.






FlowerThen, Felicity and Lew had to find a name for their garden. “It is a garden where we are interested in the history of plants,how they were used to dye fabric, weave baskets and heal illness. We thought of the word Witch because it is an old Celtic word that means someone who heals, using plants. They were the herbalists, the doctors, 2 000 years ago. So we thought, in a way this is a witches garden“.


aurelie“When the garden became too big to manage ourselves we wondered what we would do. Our children grew up and left home leaving us alone with a big home and garden.” Of course this meant Felicity could paint again but what would she do with the massive garden? “Then we discovered HelpX, a website which connects backpackers with hosts who give accommodation and meals in exchange for work. We have been doing this for some years now and had backpackers from all over the world and it is a wonderful experience. It keeps us young, it’s like having kids at home again, except these kids work!”  

Today, you can enjoy the fruit of labor carried out by Felicity and Lew, their children and backpackers from all over the world.


Monet Bridge in spring 2001









You can download our visitors guide, click here: TheWitchesGarden-Brochure