Hamilton Gardens is one of the most visited tourist attractions in New Zealand and we had to stop by on our way to Auckland. Each enclosed garden is artfully done, telling the Story of Gardens through themed gardens.
As I walked through each enclosed garden, I was amazed at how stunning and spectacular they were. Each one beautiful, creative, interesting and fun.
The scale of this beautiful garden and the architectural detail gives you the feeling of walking through an Italian Renaissance garden. There’s a Capitoline Wolf which represents the ancient legend of the founding of Rome. It is a sculpture of the she-wolf suckling the twins, Romulus and Remus.
The Japanese Garden of Contemplation has a Zen Garden and a Shoin style room set around a pool. This type of garden invites visitors to sit in a building opening to a veranda to view its landscape. It made you feel as if you are actually walking in Japan.
We wandered through the Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Hamilton Gardens discovering what was just around the corner.
The Chinese Scholar’s Garden is ‘Yichang-Yuan’ which means ‘Garden of Retreat in Flowing Happiness’ and it continued to be a journey of discovery as we headed to the next enclosed garden.
Indian Char Bagh Garden is a Persian-style garden layout. The quadrilateral garden is divided by walkways or flowing water into four smaller parts. In Persian, “Chār” means ‘four’ and “bāgh” means ‘garden’.” This was beautifully done with such detail on the ceiling and I was in awe.
A feature of most Tudor gardens were the beasts on green and white striped poles. They include; a griffin, dragon, centaur, phoenix, unicorn, satyr, sea serpent and Bottom – one of the primary characters from William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This whimsical garden had my eyes darting around at each of the beasts 🤣.
The English Flower Garden typically has an arbor, fountain, urn or seat and commonly uses walls and hedges to create outdoor rooms unifying a collection of plants. This garden gave me the feeling of being in someone’s backyard.
The Picturesque Garden at Hamilton Gardens makes reference to the story of The Magic Flute, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart just months before his death. I playfully posed next to Papageno, who is half bird and half man.
For me, the most memorable of all, is the Surrealist Garden. Here your imagination is allowed to run free as you feel small next to the moving trees, giant water faucet and door.
The Mansfield Garden represents the early 20th century New Zealand garden described in Katherine Mansfield’s short story ‘The Garden Party’. It was amazing to see such detail with the circular driveway, tennis court and a table of food. Of course I had to jump behind the wheel of the Ford!
Concept gardens aren’t necessarily practical, natural or even attractive but are usually based on a central idea or message. The whakataukii inscribed on the white wall is:
He peke tangata, apa he peke titoki
“The human family lives on while the branch of the titoki falls and decays”.
Hamilton Gardens’ most innovative piece is an oversized steampunk blimp, the Huddleston Airship is hovering beside the Concept Garden.
On our visit, a K-Pop Party was about to start at the Hamilton Gardens. I watched as they rehearsed.
Hamilton Gardens is open everyday of the year and surprisingly the entry and parking is free. I was impressed by the garden’s whimsical layout that took me to amazingly beautiful destinations. Hamilton Gardens is a must see and I highly recommend strolling through this public garden park. It’s not your conventional botanical garden and truly a place to experience and see. https://hamiltongardens.co.nz/collections/