Hamilton is New Zealand’s fourth largest city and is located about 2 hours drive south of Auckland in the centre of the Waikato region. The Gardens are quite famous and deservedly so as they are unique. It won the International Garden of the Year award in 2014. The garden is alongside the Wakaito River which provides a stunning backdrop to some of the collections. Entry to the gardens is free.

The ‘story of gardens‘ is explored through five collections of gardens. [source of text is from the information plaques in the gardens]

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Productive Garden Collection

Gardens representing different aspects of the relationship between people and plants.

  • Te Parapara Maori Garden (above)
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Herb Garden
  • Sustainable Backyard Garden

Fantasy Garden Collection

Gardens representing different forms of garden fantasy.

  • Chinoiserie Garden
  • Tudor Garden (under redevelopment at the moment)
  • Tropical Garden

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Cultivar Garden Collection

Gardens featuring plants selected and bred for the garden.

  • Rogers Rose Garden (see separate post)
  • Rhododendron Lawn
  • Hammond Camellia Garden
  • Victorian Flower Garden
sexy bexy
Sexy Rexy

Landscape Garden Collection

Gardens representing different historic interpretations of an idealised landscape.

  • Bussaco Woodland
  • Valley Walk
  • Hamilton East Park Cemetery
  • Echo Bank Bush

Paradise Garden Collection

Gardens representing some of the most significant garden design traditions.

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Given we only had a limited time to explore and that the weather wasn’t in our favour being quite showery, we concentrated on the Paradise Collection, each of which will be posted individually otherwise this will become a very long post!

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22 thoughts on “Garden Portrait: Hamilton Gardens

  1. Fascinating! So much more lively and realistic in native countries (rather than our zoo depictions although they try). The Maori gardens would be a must see for me 😋

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    1. There was certainly much more that I would have liked to see, and spend more time in the areas I did see – there will be more posts on that section during the week. It is an interesting garden.

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  2. What an absolutely enticing post Jude. I want to go there now, and failing that, I’m eager for your other posts. The rose is beautifully captured (does it really have that horrible name?) and you’ve given a great tasting of some of the gardens. It’s an amazing concept: have you ever come across anything like it in your botanical garden wanderings? Thank you for 5am pleasures.

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    1. Oops! No I have named it incorrectly, but it still has the sexy part which I guess you don’t like. It should be Sexy Rexy!! (I’ll go and edit it now). I was very taken by these gardens, no I haven’t come across one that depicts all these different designs in one place. Very well executed too. And I’d dearly love to return and see the fantasy section, there was a lot of work going on there.

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  3. I can’t believe it’s free to visit this gorgeous place! I want to go and see the Maori and tropical gardens, my two favourites from your photos. But what a lot to see, what was your favourite bit?

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    1. I couldn’t believe it was free either, considering how much we pay over here to visit gardens! I was more than willing to give a donation. I could spend the rest of my life in this garden! My favourite bit from what I saw is the Chinese Garden – somehow and I have no idea why, these gardens fill me with a sense of peace. And they are the gardens with the least flowers! I need to investigate that.

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  4. I agree that they would be among the best and most diverse gardens, so beautifully laid out. Your photos and descriptions do them credit Jude. I’m looking forward to another visit when we are over there.

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    1. A few more posts to come on this garden PP. I’d put it at the top of the gardens I have visited around the world. Such an interesting concept. I shall watch out for your take on the gardens – please drop into to the Tudor one if it is open!!

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      1. Will do, when we were there the Indian garden was under going maintenance so missed it. Always lots to see there. Will look forward to the next posts…

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