TSB Festival of Lights, New Plymouth

Each summer the TSB Festival of Lights transforms Pukekura Park, one of New Zealand’s premier botanical gardens, into a magical illuminated night-time wonderland of multi-coloured lights gleaming amongst the trees, attracting more than 100,000 visitors each year. Come and be wowed by the live night-time entertainment from national and international performers, stunning lighting features, a fantastic mix of daytime activities for children and families, twilight movies in the park and pop-up performance features.

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival

A huge program in 2018, with opera, rock, folk, jazz, blues and soul performances, cabaret, comedy, cocktails, theatre (including A Midsummer Night’s Dream), workshops and more. Events from dawn to late night and for all ages.

Heroic Garden Festival

The Heroic Garden Festival showcases 22 gardens created by the LGBT community and other supporters of the Mercy Hospice in Auckland. A major feature of the event is that all the owners/creators of the gardens are in their gardens to talk to visitors. Each year there is a selection of both repeat and new gardens covering many styles from traditional to modern.

Individual gardens NZ$10.00; weekend pass NZ$60.00 (early bird $50); bus tours NZ $119 to $139

Auckland Garden Designfest 2017

The fourth biennial Auckland Garden DesignFest on November 25 and 26 will showcase 20 of Auckland’s most beautiful, professionally designed gardens. With only one exception, which is back after a gap of six years by popular demand, these private gardens have not previously been open for public viewing. With each garden highlighting the benefit of good design, visitors will receive a unique opportunity to gain inspiration and learn more about the creative process behind each garden.


Tickets for the Auckland Garden DesignFest are available from iTICKET, Kings Plant Barn New Zealand stores and onsite at the garden gate.

All Garden Tickets valid for the whole weekend: $65*
EARLYBIRD TICKETS $55* before 30 September
Single Garden Tickets: $10*
Three Garden Tickets: $20. Garden gate only.
*Booking fee applies at ITICKET

Botanical Art Worldwide, Auckland

This inaugural worldwide event, which will take place in many countries simultaneously, will bring together artists, institutions, and the public to highlight the role contemporary botanical artists play in bringing attention to the need of safe-guarding our planet’s botanical diversity.

The Auckland exhibition – ‘Ngāi Tipu Taketake – Indigenous Flora’ will take place from 30 March – 1 July 2018 at the Auckland Botanic Gardens, with the possibility of it travelling to other main NZ cities.

Stunning designer gardens at Auckland Garden DesignFest 2015

If you have been thinking of visiting New Zealand, don’t miss this one-off opportunity to see the work of some of our top designers in private gardens that bring out the best of Auckland’s iconic landscape. From the famous volcanic cones throughout the city to the backdrop of sea and harbour in the spectacular Hauraki Gulf, you will come away entranced. Continue reading “Stunning designer gardens at Auckland Garden DesignFest 2015”

Which gardens make your heart sing?

When I first took an interest in garden design, it was all about the look. Some combination of colours, textures and forms would jump out at me from a page and I would ooh and aah about how beautiful it was. Continue reading “Which gardens make your heart sing?”

Auckland to Ayrlies – with cocktails

Having been lucky enough to lead more than a dozen garden tours to various parts of Europe, Japan and Australasia over the last 10 years, I’ve recently returned from a garden tour of New Zealand by cruise ship. It’s my first experience of conducting a garden tour this way but I hope it won’t be the last. I thought I’d share a typical day with you, which also gives me the chance to write about one of the best gardens we visited, Ayrlies, just outside Auckland. Continue reading “Auckland to Ayrlies – with cocktails”

Garden tour of Great Barrier Island, NZ

Last year I overdid it, positively gorged myself, on garden travel. But just after enjoying a wonderful weekend at the Melbourne Garden DesignFest in the middle of November, there was one more tour that couldn’t be missed. For the last couple of years, three friends and I have headed off to Great Barrier Island, just off the coast of the North Island of New Zealand, for their superbly organised ‘Spectacular by Nature’ Garden Tour. Continue reading “Garden tour of Great Barrier Island, NZ”

New Zealand’s geothermal vegetation

During our recent holiday on New Zealand’s North Island, we saw ecosystems that were so different to South Australia’s landscapes that they seemed positively alien. The apparent darkness of a glow worm cave gradually brightening to become a miniature replica of the Milky Way was memorable… but nothing was more eerie than the geothermal areas we visited. Continue reading “New Zealand’s geothermal vegetation”

New Zealand native garden – Te Kainga Marire

It’s so easy to take our own environment for granted, and so much easier to value and appreciate differences when we travel overseas. From the video promoting the Taranaki Garden Festival, the open gardens featured are stunning, but I was surprised that nearly all seem to have a distinctly English flavour. On the other hand, perhaps not so surprising for a country settled not only by the Maori people but also by the English, and which measures its annual rainfall in metres. Continue reading “New Zealand native garden – Te Kainga Marire”

Pukeiti Gardens, New Zealand

The wonderful thing about being a gardener on vacation is that, no matter where you are in the world, you meet people who love plants. The climate may be different, the plants may be different, but that joy of all things green and growing, of creating a beautiful environment, also creates an instant connection we recognise in each other. It’s exhilarating.


Continue reading “Pukeiti Gardens, New Zealand”