Ten Taranaki Gardens and Parks worth a detour: activities
The ten gardens are both privately owned and public spaces for visitors to enjoy. Perhaps the private garden you have put at the top of your bucket list is not open. This means a return visit in order during the Taranaki Garden Festival. Seasonal changes will inspire you to repeat visits.
Te Popo is a Garden of National Significance, this large country garden of 34 acres is largely woodland. The trees are underplanted with exotic and native scrubs, bulbs and flowers. The shade loving landscape is transferred with natural walkways where nature is permitted to intrude on the paths. There are ponds, waterfalls and a 30m suspension bridge. The gardens are filled with birds. There is accommodation within the property for visitors. To book or for further information check out Te PoPo Garden Accommodation Midhurst Stratford Taranaki.
Rhododendrons have a special place in Pukeiti. The garden is glorious in spring with lush blooms interspersed with native foliage. There is a cafe on the premises and a kids Treehouse trail to explore.
Pukekura Park is one of the most well-known parks in New Zealand. A stunning natural space for New Plymouth with its 52 hectares of picturesque botanical gardens. The gardens are home to the Brooklands Zoo. Pukekura is a stunning location for the TSB Bowl of Brooklands which hosts concerts and live performances. The lake and tea house are popular meeting points for locals.
Te Kainga is an exquisite town garden carefully cultivated to showcase New Zealand native plants. The plants are arranged to reflect the natural environment. The rock pool and rock garden A naturalistic pool and rock garden are similar to the Wilton’s Bush (Wellington) setting displaying plants requiring specific environmental conditions. A few exotics have crept in. Not surprisingly, an old specimen of Rosa ‘Souvenir de Madame Léonie Viennot’ trained against the house and rhododendrons around the back.
There is also an organic kitchen vegetable garden. Te Kainga Marire has artfully borrowed its adjoining landscape of a bush reserve on one side and a bustling mountain stream on another to expand the garden’s vision. For contact details check out Te Kainga Marire – New Zealand’s Native Garden. Open daily 9am – 5pm from September to April. Te Kainga Marire is also part of the Taranaki Garden Festival.
Established in 1932 by Russell Matthews and his family, Tupare is an Art & Crafts garden set alongside the restored Chapman-Taylor designed house in the English style. In addition to the beautiful hard landscaping, stately plantings of trees create shelter and a magical atmosphere in the property. Leading all the way down to the Waiwhakaiho River, winding paths cut out of the hill-side lead to surprising vistas and intimate garden rooms. The river flat area retains an idyllic pastoral feeling with simple plantings of specimen trees complemented by the movement of the wind and water. The garden is well known for its trees, shrubs and perennials that thrive in the largely frost-free Taranaki climate. Many of the trees are deciduous specimens such as the copper beech, dove trees, tulip trees and liquidambars making for a blaze of colour in autumn. Smaller trees, typically maples and magnolias, are favoured alongside rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and hydrangeas. The understory are cottage garden plants and spring bulbs.
Open every day and entry is free for further details check out Tūpare.
There is a regular programme of public events including music, garden fairs and horticultural workshops.
Hollard Gardens are a relaxed garden reflecting the life and times of the garden’s founder Bernie Hollard. The enormous variety of plants makes it a great place to visit for planting inspiration. The garden’s layout and planting continue to reflect the style of Bernie Hollard. Bernie Hollard was an avid collector, an experimenter and a practitioner of sustainability before it became mainstream. Bernie’s Home Garden contains vegetable beds, poultry, bees, worm farms and a food forest. Various fruit and vegetable growing methods form part of public workshops and demonstrations of how to garden sustainably. The gardens established in 1927 are now mature leading to spectacular spring and autumn displays. This is in contrast to the 1981 New Garden with its open spaces narrating the history of the farming community.
Taranaki Trust manages popular programmes such as live music concerts, garden fairs and workshops on both the ornamental garden and Bernie’s Home Garden.
Open all day, every day with free entry
A gully is the setting for hundreds of Nikau Palms establishing an interpretation of the south Pacific. There are defined spaces moving from intimate and larger spaces, with an emphasis on native plants, which link seamlessly into exotic plantings. Lush exotics, including strelitzia, rhododendrons, abutilons and orchids, create interest and colour throughout. The pool is framed with exotic palms lending strong visual support to the sense of the Pacific.
Ancient Pukatea trees with huge buttress roots form a native rainforest canopy along a natural creek. There is an active pest control programme to encourage bird life. The boardwalks, ponds and waterfalls make for a restful feel within the garden. Look for the weta motels. It is a steep site with a number of steps.
The garden is only open for the annual PowerCo Taranaki Garden Spectacular and then by appointment during Summer. Contact Details and Location 65F Govett Ave, Frankleigh Park, New Plymouth, Email: email@example.com
Cemeteries are fascinating for the sheer historic nature of the plantings from the deceased’s favourite rose to cherry blossoms and crab apple trees reflecting the age of the cemetery. There is an army of volunteers loving tending the planting. A place of quiet and serenity that should be on every gardener’s bucket list.
King Edward Park is rated by the New Zealand Gardens Trust as a nationally significant garden. The park showcases the formal design style of 1902 when it was established. A favourite is the magnificent closely sculpted hedges framing the azalea and rhododendron collections. Naturally a garden of this vintage has a rose bed, now with both heritage and modern varieties. The mature trees and century old model boating pond reflect a different time and style. There is a bronze statue of Wendy, Peter Pan’s friend in the gardens. The garden is a favourite for picnics and simply relaxing in the stately public park.
Puketarata Garden is a garden within the historic rampants of Puketarata Pa site. There are earthen fortifications to walk along and ridge lines where gardens once lay. The country garden of Jenny & Ken Homer is wrapped around its heritage with an organic feel to the plantings which are interspersed with native bushes. The Puketarata Pā and kainga Keteonatea, were both significant to the area. The gully has a QEII covenant, with natives, exotics and walking tracks. Open 9am – 5.00 pm 7 days a week but we recommend you phone to make an appointment. Open 9am – 5.30 pm during the Taranaki Garden Festival in the first week of November. For further information check out Puketarata Gardens Hawera South Taranaki Native Excotic Plants.
NOTE: An honourable mention
Tikorangi The Jury Garden (private)
A special feature of this garden is the majestic sub-tropical Rimu Walk and the intimate woodland of the Avenue Gardens. The sunken garden and rockery are part of the legacy of the garden’s founder who established a nursery on the site. Tikorangi The Jury Garden is now not generally open to the public and the rare occasions that it is, it’s worth the effort to view this magical garden with its whimsical nature.
Travel Pack Information
- Taranaki Garden Festival is an annual event between the last week of September and early October to maximise spring viewing of the spectacular rhododendrons Taranaki is famous for. The festival is now one of New Zealand’s premier garden events.
The journey is worth it.