Us expats are always told in comforting tones ‘home is where the heart is’, but the heart isn’t always the full story; so today I thought I would tell you about where I keep my soul. In the heart of Auckland City, tucked away in a corner of the Domain are the Winter Gardens and that ladies and gents is where I keep my soul.
When I was a teenager and needed to calm down from my latest strop I would go and hide in the Winter Gardens, same story when I was stressed out about university exams. So it was only natural for me to go for a wander when I was home for the first time in over two years. The green houses are not the biggest or the oldest, but they are the exact size to fit my imagination.
The Winter Gardens were built in 1913 for the Auckland Exhibition, there is a tropical house, a temperate house and more marble statues than you know what to do with. The gardens themselves are always changing, when I visited this time there was a rather delightful display of rainbow rhubarb amongst the foxgloves and roses. Then of course you have to stop by the fernery to soak in all the native New Zealand flora – crazy to see a silver fern again after growing up with them outside my bedroom window.
The only part that was always missing from the winter gardens (and I know I sound like a world class snob when I say this) is that there was no good coffee nearby. What more can a runawaykiwi ask for when she has found emotional and spiritual solace from a garden? Well, coffee of course. Thankfully not too far away a new coffee shop has opened up, Nadu is just down the arse end of Nuffield Street in Newmarket and is well worth the walk. Its actually got a garden vibe to it with creepers hanging from every available surface. The beans are Kokako (a kiwi favourite) and the Flat White is nothing less than the taste of home.