Taking in the Gardens of the “Naki”

I have always wanted to see the Rhododendron season in full swing after numerous other trips to Taranaki – always at other times of the year.

Visiting Pukeiti in low cloud with light rain was a revelation, adding ethereal drama to what is an internationally respected and recently embellished garden of massive significance. The dull watery light made the colours vibrant and the sub-alpine elevation makes the marriage of the Rhododendron and native bush so perfect as you randomly wander the myriad of pathways and features.

I cannot believe after all my visits to New Plymouth I had never been to Tupare, which has got to be one of the most outstanding public historical gardens I have ever visited. Built on a steeply sloping site bordering the Waiwhakaiho river, the vistas over massive specimen trees planted in the early 30’s are mesmerising. The heritage and endeavour that surrounds its formation adds flavour to the journey around its extensive development.

We also visited several private gardens that were part of the festival and although not as grand as the above gardens in scale or history– never the less all offered their own charm, variety, and personal touch.

I find that visiting gardens, especially ones with a broad history, very inspiring. It opens opportunities for me to view various ideas and details that stand the test of time and sometimes even improve with age.

Heritage is the basis of much of my design philosophy.

King ferns are a favourite standout plant in Taranaki
Pukeiti in the mist
Tupare Stairway
Tupare Homestead
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