Rahiwi is a William Fielding (1875-1946) designed home set in a beautiful garden that mixes formality with family-friendly. The garden was reclaimed by the present owners nine years ago, its prior state being an overgrown jungle and 1970’s styling unfit for the heritage home. Its current state is a testament to their hard work and vision. The owners' aim was to have an outside space that honoured the house, but was low maintenance and robust enough to withstand a bump or two from their four children. On your tour, stop in the front garden to admire the wisteria, cherry trees, camellias and rhododendrons before moving on to the large lawn, vegetable gardens and family play areas at the rear of the property.
Tarata is a country garden which includes a hectare of remnant Totara bush through which there are walks. As a ‘lifestyle’ property, the philosophy of the owners is that the garden should provide fuel for the body, for the fire and for the soul. Since last in the tour, Adrienne at last now has her garden shed, a Flowering Dogwood grove has recently been established, a new Manuka walk established featuring a lookout to the Tararuas and existing areas have been further developed as the owners’ ‘labour of love’ continues to evolve. The property features woodland paths, vegetable & fruit growing areas, nut & firewood & specimen trees, a glasshouse, flower beds, a formal fountain, rhododendrons & Japanese maples, an outdoor entertainment area with a wood fired pizza oven, a chook ‘Hilton’ and much more.
La Dolce Vita
You will find one surprise after another as you wander around this extensive garden on the fringes of Masterton. There are a wide variety of spring flowers scattered amongst the tall trees that line the driveway, while earthen plant pots, garden ornaments and a rotunda provide plenty of interest. You will also see many roses, camellias and rhododendrons. One side of the property is bordered by a large Feijoa hedge, while around the house you will find wisteria, formal hedging and lawns, well-kept vegetable gardens, a fountain, and views across farmland. A large duck pond with a wild duck population will round off your tour.
This large country garden adjacent to Rathkeale School in Opaki, was established in 2000 by Grant and Vicky Harper. Evesham benefits from a backdrop of native bush featuring venerable kahikatea, and from exotic plants which were part of Alfred Buxton’s 1925 planting for the Maunsell Family’s Rathkeale Homestead. A formal structure is softened by areas of woodland and dense shrubbery, by buxus and English beech hedging and by a large collection of many roses, acid loving plants and huge specimen trees. If you are looking for a picnic spot during your tour this could be it.
Returning to our tour is the historic and beautiful Brancepeth Station, 15 minutes east of Masterton. Brancepeth was established in 1856 and was once one of the largest sheep stations in New Zealand, covering 31,000 hectares with a staff of over 300, and a permanent population of over 100. Our tour provides you with a rare opportunity to view the Brancepeth gardens and historic buildings. You will be rewarded with beautiful vistas and a chance to see Summersii Flax the very first tri-colour flax in the world. There are a wide variety of trees on the property, some over 150 years old, including a Totara, Bidwillii (Bunya Bunya), Sherwood Oak, Western Red Cedar and Peppermint Gum. Garden features include the Camellia Garden, Rock Walk, Pear Orchard and Rose Garden. Historic buildings on the property include the stables, cook house, whare, clerk’s office, store and a library. Refreshments will be available for purchase at Brancepeth as a fundraiser for Wainuioru Primary School, and there will be plenty of places for a picnic. House tours are available again this year. There will also be a number of stalls selling plants and local products. Definitely not to be missed.
This large country garden, developed and enhanced over the last seven years, is a flower lover’s paradise with concentrated borders packed with flowers, including a collection of interesting and rare perennials. The garden has been planted for year round colour, and to suit an exposed dry and windy climate. There is a newly planted ‘prairie’ style bed of mixed perennials, grasses, fruit trees and bulbs, and a large and colourful vege garden. If that is not enough there is also a family entertaining area with an outdoor fire, succulent sculptures and stunning views across to the Tararuas and neighbouring vineyards. This is a garden you might want to bring your lunch-time picnic to.
A garden organised with retirement in mind, Gail and David McLean live at the end of a tree- lined drive. Rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias and weeping maples under-planted with petunias, aquilegias and other annuals border the lawn. Close to the house, box hedging edges the terrace used for summer entertaining. A small goldfish pond nearby provides a soothing backdrop. Hydrangeas bloom magnificently. Large pots provide splashes of colour and the garden is enhanced with garden art.
Chester Road Cottage
This country garden that surrounds an old rustic cottage (note the fabulous stone chimney when you visit), may be small, but it packs a lot in. Along with an interesting mix of plants, there are vegetable gardens, a dove cot, friendly chooks, a large pond and fantastic farmland views. The owners will be selling plants if you want to take some home with you. Unfortunately, if the weather is wet on the tour weekend this garden will probably be closed due to parking issues.
This colourful cottage garden packs a lot into a small space. You will find roses, chestnut trees, a fish pond, magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas, vegetable gardens and of course Birches. It also has two elms which have been designated trees of significance by the local council. Originally planted as an English country garden, over the years it has morphed into a lot more although the roses certainly still hold sway, with an array of beautiful colours and scents. Mature trees down one side of the property have lent themselves to a lovely shaded walk, with the birches at the front providing an effective screen from the road. Definitely one for the flower lovers on our tour.
Braemore Farm Garden
This country property owned by Warren and Robyn Walker, is a garden of three parts. Start with the cottage garden around the house, before heading towards the back of the property stopping to talk to the aviary residents. Through the maples you will find an extensive gully walk containing a mix of mature trees and new plantings including himalayan lilies, magnolias, hydrangeas, hostas and rhododendrons. Follow the path past a large pond, rustic farm buildings and take in the views over neighbouring farmland. Once you have had your fill, head towards the wilderness area at the side of the property where you will find a wide range of plant varieties and a wandering path back to the beginning.
Springrock House Garden
This smaller Eketahuna garden has been developed to provide a suitable surrounding for the 119 year old Springrock House. The current owner of Springrock House, Matt Gardiner, has established a garden which includes formal hedging and lawn areas, rhododendrons, hostas, anemones and clematis. There is also room for an entertaining area, a sizeable vegetable garden and a few chickens. Springrock House Garden is an excellent example of what can be achieved on a smaller country property that showcases the home while still giving an impression of plenty of space.
There is a lot to see and do at Lansdowne Nursery, which was first opened way back in July 1894 as Hales Nursery. As a wholesaler nursery it is not usually open to the public. You may want to start your tour in the large and lovely private garden of nursery owners for the last 20 years, Marilyn Hunt and Paul Foster, before taking a self-guided tour through the nursery itself which specialises in bedding plants, potted colour and hanging baskets. Naturally there will be plants for purchase (cash purchase only). Marilyn will also be running 45 minute demonstrations, twice a day, on assembling hanging baskets and colour bowls. You can book a place at a demonstration for just $5 per person when you book your tickets, with money going towards Pukaha Mount Bruce. The Rotary Club of Masterton South will provide refreshments for purchase (cash only) at this tour stop, or you can picnic on the lawn.
The Sarah Jones House
This lovely villa was built in 1914 for Sarah Jones, wife of James Jones who was the owner of the original department store in Eketahuna. The garden has been developed over the last ten years by owners Glenn and Roger, as a walking garden with different garden ‘rooms’. At the front and one side of the house there is a more formal garden, with trimmed buxus, along with other trees and bushes kept in topiary shape. The garden rooms are at the back of the house and will delight you with their variety and hidden secrets.