Penney Moir
Bowen Galleries and Almighty Mum

Bowen Galleries co-owner, Penney Moir, is certainly an Almighty legend if there ever was one. She also happens to be Mum to Almighty apple counter, Ben and turmeric hustler, Tess, plus adopted New Zealand mum to Almighty beetroot boss, Adán, (whose Mom currently lives in Seattle). Alongside her children and community, Penney has some serious love for Mamma Nature. She also hearts New York. A lot.

Penney’s love for big apples and urban gardening inspired her to make the most of her deck and build a practical, fruitful, potted garden at her Mt Victoria home. Of course the garden also assists Penney in cooking her blessed whanau many a delicious meal. Good on ya Penney!

I can’t help being drawn to rooftop gardens

What makes your garden super awesome?
My garden is fringe Wellington city on a wooden deck that faces west and gets plenty of sun. All our harvest is in big pots that are painted dark grey. I’ve mixed up vegetables, dwarf fruit trees and herbs with flowers - accidental companion planting. The Cox’s Orange apple trees bloom away loyally and every year manage to grow one more apple than the year before. The super awesome thing is watching the deck slowly disappear in to a green, winding path - in my dreams it’s the High Line in New York.

Mt Vic olives

What’s your favourite vegetable to grow / eat?
Parsley curled, parsley flat Italian - any kind of parsley is my favourite edible plant. It starts young and vulnerable, grows dark and begging to be made into pesto with walnuts and parmesan, then leggy and seedy with yellow heads and trunk stems.

Where do you get your gardening inspo from?
Since I’ve got big headed ideas about the New York High Line, I can’t help being drawn to rooftop gardens. When I travel I look up to see what magic people create on tiny decks in apartment blocks or I peer over fences. Tourists photograph views but I’m the one leaning over a back alley gate with my phone, stealing other gardeners’ wonderful, simple ideas for small urban spaces.

Penney in her urban garden

How much time do you spend in the garden each week?
It’s haphazard because it’s easy to look after and it’s seasonal. I can appear really dedicated for a day or two shovelling compost into the pots from a bin built by Hawkes Bay’s gardening hero Guy Morris. That is my secret weapon because the plants thrive with remarkably little input from me. And a home built irrigation system that runs round all the pots from a central garden tap keeps everything lush without much watering effort.

Rhubarb and lemongrass

Home-built irrigation system

Vinnie, a British shorthair black cat rules my house and garden

Who’s your favourite garden dweller (bug, bird or other animal)?
Vinnie, a British shorthair black cat rules my house and garden. He stretches out on his back on the deck where it’s warm in the sun and suggests all’s well with the world. We have a testy relationship when he lets mice loose inside or pretends no one can see his muddy footprints across across the kitchen bench… He’s a chubby, elegant, lazy critter with a sense of entitlement as he tiptoes across the top of the pots.

What does an ideal stint in the garden look like for you?
Sun, no wind, National radio or a podcast and a stint of feeding, pruning, planting. Thanks to the Karori Sanctuary, I garden with tuis singing in the background and truly, there’s no better town than Wellington.

Salad

What is your favourite Almighty juice?
The apple juice, it reminds me of the slowly multiplying Cox’s Orange apples we’re growing. Delicious.

Please provide an Almighty gardening tip for us to share.
Compost is easy in a city garden and it’s the critical element for healthy harvest. Everything goes in to the Guy Morris built bin except meat and I layer it up with seaweed and shredded paper. Worms come from who knows where and no time it’s ready to dig in.

Vinnie

Succulents

Parsley… begging to be made into pesto with walnuts and parmesan