All the gardens under the sun!

With the last of the summer holidays ebbing away, there was only one thing to do…  squeeze in one more day away to do something you love.  So, I packed up the family for an early start to what has to be one of the coolest gardens around.  Hamilton Gardens.  I’ve been before, but it isn’t a just do it once kind of a place.  As the seasons course across the calendar the gardens reveal something else just as other features that have had their day in the sun fade away.   This should be an opportunity to go garden visiting at least once a month to soak it all in and appreciate the changes nature provides for us.  It is only two hours away from us and I always come away with the intention to visit again, until life gets in the way.  Not this time – I’ve marked it in the diary…  I will be back.

Hamilton Gardens
The entrance to the gardens hints at the pleasures to come

But let me tell you all about it.  Hamilton city had the forethought and great vision to convert the local rubbish dump beside the Waikato River into a garden, as far back as 1960.  They decided not just to create a botanical garden, but a garden museum exploring the development of gardens across time and cultures, which are represented in over twenty garden styles.   And they are all world class and award winning… internationally.

Hamilton Gardens
At every turn there is something to amaze you

Short of getting garden overload, which would leave me deliriously giddy for days, I paced myself and only visited a handful, peeked in a few and left a few for next time to ensure I’d return.  So, let me share with you my favourite gardens so far.

Chinese Scholar’s Garden

Normally the Japanese style garden is the one people seem to want to recreate and there were several versions created in Monty Don’s garden show Big Dreams Small Spaces, across three seasons that I binged watched over the holidays.  But no one had expressed interest in a Chinese style and to be honest I’d never really given it much thought myself as an exciting garden possibility.  But as the first garden of the day it blew my breath away.

This garden is based upon gardens from the Sung Dynasty from the 10-12th Century.  The garden is supposed to take you on a journey that evokes imagination and surprise.   This is a big call, but I think I’ll call it one of my favourites.

You can find out more about this garden >HERE<

Italian Renaissance Gardens

I almost didn’t visit this one as I wanted to save it for next time and the day was late and the kids were beginning to moan.  I promised them I’d just take a peek.   But on turning the corner and emerging from the dark corridor into the bright light of day, the most incredible garden revealed itself to us and we were lost to it.  The intensely blue of the sky allowed the bright colours of the plants, contained within the deep greens of the hedging plants of the formally laid out garden and the cream brickwork and sea green geometric pools at the centre of it all to just pop.  It was complex in its design, yet somehow elegant in a way that only an Italian could pull off.   I will visit this garden again, and again… and again….

You can find out more about this garden >HERE< 

Mansfield Garden

My third favourite garden was rather quirky in its origin, but it translated wonderfully from the pages of a book I now must read.  The garden is designed around Katherine Mansfield’s short story ‘The Garden Party’.  She is one of our famous authors from the beginning of the 19th century and had a fabulously daring lifestyle until her early death aged 34.  This garden not only reflects a garden in her story but also what a typical garden would have been like for the well to do kiwi back in the Edwardian days.   It is so well done, you feel like you are one of the attendees at the party as you make your way down the paths.

You can find out more about this garden >HERE< 

There are only so many words to fit on the page and images to jam in as well, so we will continue this again next week.  There is still so much to show you.

Hamilton Gardens
The walled vegetable garden is so impressive. I have garden envy!

Come again soon – after more than a week of sunshine the garden is beginning to finally bear a proper summer harvest.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

NB: Clicking on each image will give a bigger picture and a few words to describe them.

8 thoughts on “All the gardens under the sun!

  1. Thank you for posting this. I lived in Hamilton in 1960 for a few years, and left NZ in the late 60’s. I am impressed that Hamilton has such a fabulous garden – my next visit to NZ will include a visit to this garden.

  2. I visited the Hamilton Gardens in October 2017. They were amazing,we spent the whole day their in awe. Such a clever concept. We loved all the gardens & recommend a leisurely visit. Tea at the Kiosk or near the river is a must.

  3. Oooh, the Mansfield garden is new since our last trip, great excuse to go back! My favourite is the Indian garden.

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