New Zealand Garden Tour Finale

In the last report on our garden tour, I described some historic gardens in Hamilton. For me, it was one of the best parts of the trip, but there were still many excellent gardens to visit and I am sharing some of those with you today. Near Wellington we visited the Otari-Wilton’s Bush a Native Plant Garden and Forest which featured native plants large and small, and then we flew from Wellington to Queenstown on the South Island. Our first garden in Queenstown was Chantecler, a beautiful private estate garden where we got a glimpse of how New Zealand’s one-percent might enjoy life. The grounds were extensive and varied with hydrangeas in the shade and lavender, roses and fountains in the sunny spots.
Pam and I avoided the trip to Milford Sound choosing instead to recover at our hotel from the colds we caught from our fellow bus travelers, but we didn’t miss out on any gardens. After a long bus trip from Queenstown, our next stop was Glenfollach gardens in Dunedin. The most memorable part of this garden was the varied fuchsias which seem to thrive well all over New Zealand.
A fantastic venue was the Larnach Castle, a manor home built in the 1870’s by W.J. M. Larnach, a wealthy banker and politician, who, despite his fortune, committed suicide in 1898. The building itself was lavish with exquisite Victorian woodwork, tile and plaster features. It also had a spectacular view of the large bay at Dunedin Harbor as well as extensive and varied gardens.
We also visited the Dunedin Botanical Gardens which were fabulous with plants from Africa, South America and other areas as well as Rhododendrons, roses and other flower gardens and borders. It is a place that you could explore for more than a day. I was inspired to order and plant some Alstroemeria when I got home and likely will get some of the Tiger lilies too.
Trott’s garden was our next stop at Ashburton and it was a delightful garden of hedges and borders and one of our last garden was Ohinetihi in Christchurch which featured several large art pieces. There are so many gardens and hundreds of pictures I would love to share, but not enough room in this brief column. Soon I will be back to California garden issues–Happy gardening and garden travels.
If you have a gardening related question, you can contact the UC Master Gardeners at 209-953-6112. More information can be found on our website.

Fountain at Chantacler in Queestown, New Zealand

Otari-Wilton Bush Garden featured many native plants.

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