Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hamilton Gardens

We visited Hamilton Gardens on our way back to our home base near Auckland. They were stunning, huge, we only covered a tiny bit. We particularly enjoyed the Paradise Garden Collection which were a variety of gardens representing some of the worlds significant garden traditions. So we had an English Arts and Crafts Garden, a Chinese Scholar's Garden, a Japanese Contemplation Garden, an Italian Renaissance Garden, an American Modernist Garden and our favourite an Indian Char Bagh Garden or enclosed 4 part garden, which really had the wow factor.

The girl gardener responsible for both the Char Bagh Garden and the American flower meadow was deadheading and we were able to have a chat. The actual garden is still evolving, there are twiddly bits still to go on the Mughal style buildings, and there is another fountain to go in the pavilion overlooking the river. The flowers in the sunken beds are changed a couple of times a year and the soil is renewed every 5 years, although this hasn't happened yet as it has only been going for a couple of years. It is the only one in New Zealand with sunken beds like this which bring their own problems with fungal disease due to lack of air flow and as there is a clay subsoil here water retention needs careful monitoring. The garden is subject to frost but it is sheltered and they keep their fingers crossed that the Sweet Williams and Stocks and others they plant in the winter will survive. I bet the scent then is fabulous. The photo shows the end of summer flower beds and they still look great, the colours of a Persian carpet. (Click on the photo to get a larger version.)

The Kitchen Garden was very productive, I think the gardeners here must be into prize pumpkin growing, there were some giants. There is a new Maori Garden under construction, it has a fascinating sun dial which not only tells the time but the months too.

All in all it was wonderfully stimulating. I can't wait to get stuck into our garden back at home! We've been thinking about planting a corner of our with plants that will remind us of this trip. So far this could include the Wollemia Pine, more Grevillias, lupins, verbascum, cosmos, and now all these jewel like bedding plants from the Indian Garden ......

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