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Why New Zealanders Love Their Gardens

The country's most iconic flowering
tree, the pohutukawa, is also known
as the New Zealand Christmas tree
for its bright red December blooms.

No doubt about it, New Zealanders love their gardens!

From the landscaped front lawns of their detached suburban houses to public parks and gardens in New Zealand, there are a wealth of botanic delights waiting to be discovered. The country's mild, temperate climate, its north-south axis and range of altitudes mean a wide variety of plants may be seen. These range from subtropical to subantarctic species, often within a couple of hours drive of each other.

New Zealand gardens boast a beautiful selection of native flowers and trees, including the magnificent flowering pohutukawa tree (known as New Zealand's Christmas tree because it flowers in December) and the alpine Mount Cook lily, the world's largest buttercup.

In many places, garden tours in New Zealand include private as well as public gardens. Some of the large private country gardens in the Eastland, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wairarapa and Canterbury regions were former estates and are quite spectacular.

The damp, lower slopes of Mount Taranaki are renowned for their rhododendron gardens, at their 'blooming best' in October, as are gardens in Dunedin. Christchurch, known as the Garden City, is well named with its extensive leafy parks and magnificent Botanic gardens.

The annual Ellerslie Flower Show is the largest floral exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere. It is held at the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens in Manukau City over five days on 5.5 hectares surrounded by native bush.

Not simply a display of flowers, Ellerslie has become a major cultural event, showcasing lifestyle, art, landscape and design, with creative displays of flowers and foliage. There are more than 300 exhibits with many of the displays presented taking months to build.

The picturesque South Canterbury district of Timaru is gaining a reputation as the rose garden of New Zealand. Roses thrive in Timaru because it has plenty of sunshine, warm dry summers, cold winters and definite seasons. Timaru is home to one of the world's most respected rose experts, boasts an impressive collection of public and private rose gardens and now it has its very own rose.

The new rose, a pale, creamy, apricot known as the 'City of Timaru', has been produced by famed British rosarian, David Austin, father of the English rose. Possibly the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the Timaru rose garden in New Zealand attracts rose lovers from around the world.

The New Zealand Gardens Trust provides a searchable Web site of gardens in New Zealand, and the promotion of excellence in the open garden sector through the setting of recognised credible standards. The NZGT is working in partnership with Qualmark, New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality, to encourage our best New Zealand gardens to meet the high standards required of businesses operating in the tourism market.

Auckland winter garden
Temperate greenhouse in the Auckland Winter Garden

More about New Zealand gardens around the Web:

Gardens to Visit in New Zealand

NZ House and Garden

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