Wednesday, September 26, 2012

GARDEN TOURS A Visitor’s Guide to 50 Top New Zealand Gardens

Author: Michele Hickman
Random House New Zealand - RRP: $49.99
Reviewed by Dawn Forbes

The author is a New Zealand gardening writer and designer currently based in England and the photographs are by UK garden photographer Steven Wooster taken while visiting New Zealand on several occasions. 
The selection of gardens is based on his photographic portfolio so not to be taken as the best, or biggest, or most accessible.  Some very good gardens have not been included because of bad weather, light or conditions prevailing at the time of his visit. 

All included are members of The New Zealand Gardens Trust (NZGT) and at the back of the book is a list of all properties within their membership and website details of “other gardens to visit” so if your favourite is not included in the book, or none are within your geographic range, you can visit others online…and I am sure you will want to after reading through the book.

It is not only the photographs that are appealing but the details within the text.  The history of the land and garden, the choice of plants and trees, the aim and energy of the owners and their willingness to welcome all gardeners to come and enjoy their peaceful space.
 The selected properties start in the north with historic Butler Point, named after early-settler William Butler who built there in 1847 (the old homestead is still inhabited) and ends up south of Larnach Castle with many public gardens included on the way. 

All are open for public visits, some by appointment, some daily or seasonal, some are free and some are not but the specific details are included in each chapter of the book or on the NZGT website.
Fifty detailed gardens which are all very different in style, colour and size.  If you can’t drive to them, be content with the won’t smell the roses, but it will be very satisfying just the same.

Dawn Forbes is an Auckland reader and occasional reviewer of gardening books on this blog..

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