10 September 2012

Inspiration from the fabulous Hamilton Gardens

So, to continue from last night before we were so rudely interrupted by heavy rain, thunder, lightning and hail! First, the most inspiring garden at the Hamilton Gardens in terms of getting cracking at home. It's called ...

It's about the size of a normal backyard and intensively gardened in the permaculture style, cramming edible stuff all over the place, as well as flowers and places for people to sit, play and generally enjoy life. There is even a beehive on top of the grapevine-clad pergola for maximum pollination. It always makes me think how we imagine that children need vast expanses of lawn to play on, but that they really love nooks, crannies, secret paths and mounds. My children love this garden!

Of course there is a chicken tractor, a worm farm and a compost bin.
 A wildflower patch under a crabapple tree
Fruit trees are espaliered around the border fences (leafless, because it's barely springtime). Check out the clothesline to Jack's right. 

Now let's stroll to the Te Parapara garden, a recreation of a traditional Maori garden. This is not only a faithful replica of how pre-European Maori would have gardened, but it is packed full of ancestral and spiritual references. It's totally unique - being the ONLY replica of a pre-European Maori garden - and beautiful. I am always amazed by it.

These mounds are freshly planted kumera (sweet potato). Yum. One of the huts is just for storing kumera in.
One of many traditional carvings. These carvings were all done by hand and each is symbolic of something or someone.
And to the most beautiful (I think) garden: the Italian Renaissance garden. Is this really New Zealand - surely we are in Italy?

Now it's just a short walk to the Indian garden.

Remember we are barely out of winter. In summer the flowers are a complete riot of colour.
The fountain in the sheltered area (there must be a proper term for it, but it escapes me!). That's the Waikato river in the background.
The ceiling of the sheltered bit. Such detail.
For the first time yesterday we saw the new Tudor Garden with its magnificent mythical sculptures. Every few years a new garden is added, each more creative than the last, I think.
There are several more wonderful gardens, each with distinct character: the Japanese and English gardens are also favourites of ours. But I think this post is already long enough. Hopefully it is encouragement to come and visit!

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