Geoff & I met in 1981, he had just returned from 4 years overseas, & I was exploring N.Z with an old school friend. We were travelling in an old Kombi van with my 2 children who were then 2 & 5. It was love at first sight, & we both abandoned previous plans & settled in Hawkes Bay. In 1984 we started gardening at Millstream, & moved our house onto the land in 1985. We were very fortunate to have the support of Adrian & Alice White, who owned the land then. They let us live here for a number of years, paying a peppercorn rental.

The next year, our son Giles was born, Geoff drove the local school bus, & the gardens began to support us. We gradually planted the grounds, learning as we went. Our first & shared interest was the herbs, so we began a mail order & gate sales business. Of course this expanded in leaps & bounds as we discovered new & interesting herbs, then old fashioned perennials, then water plants.

In 1999 we made the big decision to break out & have a go at running a cafe. We leased the local hall, which was in need of repair, & with partners Lynne & Dave Robertson we set off into the unknown! We had great fun, & nerve wracking moments setting up, learning how to make coffee, cook in bulk, deal with our customers etc.

I got sick in 2002, & was diagnosed with M.E. which fairly promptly put me out of action. Geoff carried on at the Cafe for another 18 months or so, but we missed working together, having a proper garden, & a family life. So we pulled out entirely, & returned to a more relaxed lifestyle, making herbal products, & pottering in the gardens, at least thats the theory!

For the last 4 years we have been tutoring at Lotus Holistic Centre, in Hastings, we job share which is much less stressful. We teach some practical aspects of herbs, foraging, identification, propagation, composting, basics of gardening, also a Manufacturing & Dispensing unit, into which we try to cram the making of as many things as we can. It’s stimulating for us, as new ideas keep coming up, & we hope we are sparking passion & curiosity in our students.

Our children are all grown up, being 37, 34 & 26 now. We have two Grandchildren aged 4 & 6, & two teenage Grandsons & another baby Β on the way.

What a rich life, what fun & chaos, we love it & are so grateful.