Preparing for the future

John and Bev McConnell. Photo Wayne Martin

In 1964, Ayrlies Garden was simply a large piece of land with a small cottage placed on it.

Today, it sprawls across some four hectares of rolling terrain, with large lawns, ponds and waterfalls.

The magnificence and scale of Ayrlies Garden is such that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Such is the sheer size and wonder of the gardens that it takes its toll and with owner Beverley McConnell now in her eighties, her son John McConnell says the focus is now on preserving the garden and wetlands for future generations.

“We made the call that we wanted to keep the garden for as long as we can into the future,” he said.

Mr McConnell says they entered extensive discussions with Auckland Council about what to do with an area of land left over from the old farm which is now too small to function as a farm.

“We had a long hard chat with council but they didn’t see it as being a significant piece of land in context of what their plans were.”

He says they’re selling off sections of the land in order to raise some capital.

“Our hope is that we can invest that capital and the proceeds of that can look after these gardens and wetlands for the future.

“The way I see it, you’re on this earth for however long your lifespan is…if you can leave a place in a better way than which you found it then you’ve done okay.”