The Dirt: A Wellington apartment with a beautiful garden

Sam Waghorn is the owner of the wine distribution company Wag & Co. He lives in Wellington with his fiancé Nate, his roommate James and two fox terriers Boy and Pipi.

Sam: We moved around a lot When I was small.

My father is a breeding agent so we lived in South Canterbury, Southland and North Canterbury.

On each property, my parents planted things, put things in pots, they always had vegetable gardens.

Mum had these beautiful, white, very fragrant roses – Margaret Merrils – and she would always pluck them up, wrap them in newspaper, and transplant them to a new garden.

I would like to say it is an apartment for adults. We have a fairly extensive collection of blue and white porcelain plates on the wall.

We tried to make it as much of a home as possible, with pictures, photos, lots and lots of houseplants – probably too many.

I met Nate on Tinder. I noticed him because he looked like a real person, and he’s very real. We immediately hooked.

The online dating scene in the gay world can be quite intense and quite wrong, so it was quite nice to meet someone who had a moral fiber (laughs).

Nate hated gardening when he met me, but now he is obsessed with mowing lawns and he keeps making suggestions, moving outdoor furniture and pots.

James is our weeding expert – if we have a day of gardening he will come and help me and ask me every now and then what a weed is and what a plant is.

Starting my own business was terrifying, absolutely terrifying, but I wouldn’t change it. In terms of personal growth and all that makes me feel good, I think I needed it.

I was national sales manager for Astrolabe Wines. I wanted a new challenge and thought, I think I can do it on my own. So I created the company three years ago and it still exists today.

Gardening is the reason. It’s nostalgic, going outside, getting your hands dirty. It’s a way of dealing with s … life throws at you.

I just like knowing that we have a backyard and I can always go out and pull weeds or spray the lemon tree, make sure it doesn’t die.

The lemon tree was practically dead when I arrived and managed to revive it. Citrus fruits love urea, I’m not kidding. There is a lot of nitrogen in the urine.

I also use citrus fertilizer and spray them with copper to keep the leaves from turning yellow. I pruned it a bit, but it’s the pee on them that’s the main thing.

My parents had a lemon and a lime tree in their house; it was in front of my little brother’s room, he would get up and walk through the window onto the lime tree. So they have this tree that produces kilos and kilos of fruit and my mother attributes it to my brother.

I planted a lime tree and feijoas. Lots of lavender. I made the conscious decision to plant a mix of native and hardy plants, but also annuals and perennials suitable for drying – we have a lot of dried bunches indoors.

Some people would think we are crazy to invest in a rental, but I have been here for almost three years and it is nice to have friends in the summer, to build a fire and to be outside.

I have always known that I was gay. But growing up in a rural area, going to a boys’ school, then a boarding school for three years, you say to yourself, “oh my god, people are going to think I’m an alien.”

I was 24 or 25 when I went out. I was really dramatic about it. When I told daddy about it, he said, “I thought you were going to tell me you were dying or something.” Because you build it up to this thing where you think you’re going to let everyone down.

Then he said “it’s okay” and walked over to me and poured me a very, very stiff whiskey. I’m pretty much into spreadsheets so I made a list of the people I needed to call, say, or message. It was like ripping off a fucking ugly band-aid.

Buying a home is the end goal, But unfortunately [that prospect] in our beautiful country is a little gloomy. Especially in Wellington. What you are getting for your money is pretty depressing.

I would absolutely hate living in an apartment. I must have some earth around me, some grass.

We hope it will calm down one day and we will buy something. But where we live is great, we have beautiful views, we are by the sea, we can’t complain.

we will get married at the end of next year at my cousin’s vineyard, Astrolabe Farm in Blenheim. The reception will be in an olive grove, no marquee, a large row of tables.

I have a small greenhouse and I grow seedlings there for the flowers. All the wedding flowers will be dried.


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About Douglas Mackenzie

Douglas Mackenzie

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