Legend has it that everything south and inland of Auckland is just not that cool. A lot of ranch land and unremarkable small towns. Most of that proved true on the drive from Auckland to Hamilton, but there’s a gem of a garden on the outskirts of Hamilton that was a complete delight.
Built on the site of a former dump and wasteland, the Hamilton Gardens stretch over acres of green lawns and groves of trees. But the highlight for me was the series of themed walled gardens that told a remarkable story about the history of major garden styles. Having visited many of the original gardens, I was struck by how well they captured the feel of each one. I’m such a nerd for gardens!
You enter through a long corridor of hedges . . .
. . . into a small courtyard with a pool and blind passageways leading off into different rooms . . .
. . . there was an Indian paradise garden . . .
. . . and a Japanese garden that reminded me of Ryoanji . . .
. . . a Chinese philosopher’s garden . . .
. . . a grove of bamboo like the one I saw in Seoul . . .
. . . an Italian Renaissance garden . . .
. . . and, my favourite, a series of English Arts and Crafts gardens based on the ones that Gertrude Jekyll and Edward Lutyens did in the late 19th and early 20th centuries . . .
. . . and a Tudor knot garden . . .
. . . an English chinoiserie pavilion inspired by the one I saw at Stowe earlier this year . . .
. . . and a Picturesque garden (which comes right after the Landscape gardens of the 18th century), complete with a folly in the distance . . .
. . . and then moving away from the historical gardening movements, we had a concept garden . . .
. . . a tropical garden . . .
. . . and a bunch of others that I ran through too quickly to take proper photos of because I was running out of time to get to Hobbiton!