Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular

Published: Thu 12 Jul 2012 03:51 PM
Event Introduction
Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular - 26 October – 4 November 2012
The annual ten day Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular (formerly the Taranaki Rhododendron & Garden Festival) showcases some of New Zealand’s most stunning private and public gardens.
As one of New Zealand’s longest running festivals each year it offers an exclusive opportunity to experience a diverse range of high quality gardens that are among the best in the country.
Visitors will enjoy strolling through large park-like country gardens, geometric and intimate inner city potager gardens, sub-tropical and rainforest gardens.
As New Zealand’s Premier Spring Festival visitors can experience an extensive events programme featuring jazz and wine in gardens, an exclusive landscape design project, guided walks and a garden celebrity speaker series and much more.
We invite you to indulge in a feast for your senses, borne from the imaginations, inspiration and sheer perspiration of our region’s most gifted gardeners.
New Zealand’s Premier Spring Festival -The Garden Festival - like no other!
For more information go to or
Event Summary
The 25th annual Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular (formerly the Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival runs from Friday October 26 to Sunday November 4 this year and features 51 stunning private and public gardens – including Gardens of Significance, National Significance and International Significance – and six new gardens.
All festival gardens are assessed by the festival’s robust assessment process. Each garden of significance is assessed by the New Zealand Gardens Trust, using the Festival’s five main criteria – design, plants and planting, maintenance, construction and overall impression. This ensures the thousands of visitors have a premiere garden event experience.
Event highlights will include celebrity speaker workshops, guided walks, music and wine events and the very popular international landscape design project which is unveiled just before the event.
There are four free, public gardens in the event – Pukekura Park, Tupare, Hollards Garden, and Pukeiti. Otherwise, garden entry ranges from $4 to $12. Tickets can be bought at the garden gate, or are available from the Taranaki Arts Festival office, ph (06) 759 8412, or from the following ticket outlets:
•New Plymouth i-SITE
Puke Ariki, 65 St Aubyn Street, New Plymouth
•South Taranaki i SITE
55 High Street, Hawera
•Stratford Info Centre & i SITE
Prospero Place, Stratford
Local Information Centres
•Inglewood Information Centre
25 Rata Street, Inglewood
•Inglewood Library & Service Cent
46 Rata Street, Inglewood
•Oakura Information Plus
Crafty Fox, Surf Hway 45, Oakura
•Opunake Library Plus
Tasman St, Opunake
•Waitara Libary & Service Centre
15 Queen Street, Waitara
Other Outlets
•Big Jims Garden Centre
1217 Devon Rd, Waitara
•Casa Penuena Cafe
280 Broadway, Stratford
•Fairfields Country Garden Centre
Cnr Mangorei & Junction Roads, New Plymouth
•Garden Edge
Cnr Fantham St & Waihi Rd, Hawera
•Highway 3 Food Bar
171 Egmont St, Patea
•Masters Mitre 10
Broadway, Stratford
•Mitre 10 Mega NP
5 Vickers Road, Waiwakaiho, New Plymouth
•Palmers Garden Centre
Cnr Devon & Katere Rds, New Plymouth
•Taranaki Farmers Mitre 10
103 Glover Road, Hawera
•The Festival Office (TAFT)
Cnr Powerham & Brougham Sts, New Plymouth
•Woodsy's Hawera
129 Fairfield Rd, Hawera
General information
With a climate ranging from sub-tropical on the coastal areas, to rainforest surrounding the mountain and up to alpine conditions on the mountain’s upper slopes, Taranaki has one of the most diverse ranges of garden environments in the world.
The gardens in the festival reflect that diversity of climate and a wide range of tastes from space efficient urban chic of some city gardens, to spacious, more traditional rural gardens covering up to 15 acres.
The gardens are spread right around the Taranaki region, which is unique in that it has a dormant volcano (Mt Taranaki) at its heart and has vast stretches of rugged coastline. The mountain is responsible for the rich volcanic soil in the region – and due to Taranaki’s warm temperatures and good rainfall, gardens and parks flourish in our region. As a result the area has some of the best public and private gardens on offer in New Zealand.
Getting Here
Getting to the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular in Taranaki couldn't be easier.
By Road - Taranaki is conveniently located on the West Coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s midway between Auckland in the north and the capital city of Wellington in the south. Our excellent highways make it an easy drive along State Highway 3 from either direction.
By Air - Take one of the regular short flights daily each from Auckland or Wellington to New Plymouth. Air New Zealand (0800 737 000) flies here.
By Coach - If you don’t have your own vehicle, a number of coaches operate between Taranaki and Auckland, Hamilton, Waitomo Caves and Rotorua in the north, and Wellington, Palmerston North and Wanganui in the south. Contact the local office of InterCity for a schedule. Phone (06) 759 9039.
Visitor's Guide
Visitor Information Centres throughout New Zealand stock the Taranaki Visitor Guide, which gives not only detail on how to get to and around Taranaki, but also accommodation, attractions, dining options and other pertinent information.
International Landscape Design Project
With support funding from the TSB Bank Community Trust, the International Landscape Design Project takes a unique approach every year and have included; a living wall of plants, a whale bone sculpture and even a vibrant virtual garden.
Spectacular illuminated shapes of flowers, spheres and cones featuring designs by the artistically renowned Peranakan culture of South East Asia will light up this year’s Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular.
It will be the first time more than 50 of the Peranakan Lights are exhibited in Australasia and the second showing world-wide after first wowing crowds at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix earlier in the year.
Created from a collaboration between Singaporean artist Sarah Martin and Italian artist Paolo Maimone, the Lights are inflated, illuminated shapes screen printed with designs of traditional Peranakan art - renowned for its rich and opulent designs in ceramics, embroidery, screen-printing and architecture.
The Peranakan Lights will be unveiled just prior to the opening of the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular on Thursday, Oct 25, 2012.
Garden of International Significance
Te Kainga Marire
Pleasantly situated in a leafy suburb of New Plymouth, this town garden is a showcase for New Zealand native plants and could be described as the epitome of the Kiwi garden. It contains a wide selection of plants arranged in a convincing fashion imitating nature. A naturalistic pool and rock garden display plants requiring specific conditions while the roof of a sunken fern house is used to show off the distinctive foliage of the native begonia Elatostema rugosa. Surprisingly, exotic plants are introduced with an old specimen of Rosa ‘Souvenir de Madame Leonie Viennot’ trained against the house and some rhododendrons around the back – there is a productive organic vegetable garden also. Te Kainga Marire’s (translated ‘peaceful encampment’) point of difference lies in the natural plant associations that evoke a feeling of the real New Zealand. The garden is backed by a bush reserve on one side and a bustling mountain stream on another. Refreshments and/or lunch are available by prior arrangement. Car/bus parking is available on the street frontage.
Gardens of National Significance
One of the world’s great Rhododendron gardens is situated in the Taranaki rainforest. There is a superb covered display of Vireyas and many other plant collections. Started in 1951 adjacent to the slopes of Egmont National Park, this cut over forest has been nurtured and replanted with rimu and other podocarps while pest control has been continuous to enhance natural regeneration. Many kilometres of well formed tracks enable most visitors to enjoy both the garden and the rainforest experience and witness some of the pioneering logging operations which took place. Birdlife abounds in the forest and many native birds such as tui, bellbird, pigeon, fantail, waxeye, cuckoo and whitehead are seen. The mountain streams contain rare and endangered native fish. Pukeiti's season starts in July with the first of the majestic large - leaf rhododendrons flowering amongst the forest canopy, one of the finest collection of these anywhere. Camellias, the large magnolias and michelias follow. By October the garden is alive with colour from flower and foliage. Herbaceous plantings, alpines, primulas, hostas and thousands of bulbs continue the display until the giant Himalayan lilies flower in December. The Hydrangea collection comes to a peak in mid summer and on into autumn while vireyas round off the flowering year with their winter display.
Pukekura Park
Pukekura Park is the centre-piece of the parks and reserves network in New Plymouth. Managed by the New Plymouth District Council it covers an area of approximately 49 hectares (120 acres) and includes the adjacent Brooklands garden estate, Brooklands Zoo and the historic Gables Colonial Hospital. Pukekura is a nationally significant park with a large exotic specimen tree collection inter planted within a margin of luxuriant native bush. The park has been continuously developed since its inception in 1876 - its north south linear shape follows a natural stream valley where a series of artificial lakes have been created by damming the flow at various points. Several streams flow through Pukekura originating from a well defined watershed catchment outside the park boundary. Geology and climate are important factors contributing to the successful establishment of plants within the park. Deep deposits of volcanic ash combined with even rainfall, mild winters and warm summer temperatures are conducive to plant growth for a range of species from around the world. With this variety of plant types Pukekura is unique in offering a diverse range of landscapes from dense remnant tawa / mahoe / pukatea forest to broad lawns with annual bedding displays and themed garden plantings. A native orchid and fern collection housed in a partially sunken conservatory and display house is of outstanding interest. An impressive outdoor sound stage and grassed amphitheatre provides a venue for summer time concerts. Above is Brooklands where sweeping lawns, magnificent old trees and flower filled borders delight the visitor. Boating on the fern fringed lake or quiet walks in the upper bush tracks of the valley system are further attractions.
Puketarata, a large country garden north of Hawera, has been awarded Garden of National Significance status only a few years after opening its gates for the Taranaki Rhododendron & Garden Festival. Owners Ken and Jennifer Horner started their home and garden project from a bare paddock in 1983. Now covering approximately one and a half acres on the brow of a northerly facing hill about 6 km from Hawera, Puketarara has north east views of inland Taranaki up the Mangemange river valley towards Lake Rotokare and north west views to Mt. Taranaki.
The garden planting is a mix of natives, rhododendrons, roses, the usual and unusual garden shrubs and perennials. There’s an emphasis on greens and texture rather than all round colour. The garden is settled into the landscape and easily accessible.
A large lawn adjacent to the house, providing warmth and privacy, has been used for family games and is located on the northern side. The grass tennis court on a level below the house, is connected by a haha. A small orchard area has been under planted with mainly daffodils while a vegetable and herb garden area and a berry house can be found behind the home. The gully below the house has been systematically planted with a mix of natives, deciduous trees and rhododendrons which can be viewed from the haha and tracks in the gully area.
The garden and house are adjacent to the Puketarata Pa, one of the many pa in this area. It was constructed some 400 years ago and evidence of the trenches, house sites and miden are still visible.
Oakley Garden
Though this medium size family garden is situated 2km from the coast in a very windy area of South Taranaki, the established shelter creates a haven from the elements. Carefully planned and fully planted garden rooms are linked with hedge lined paths. Features include specially built brick walls and pillars, exuberant cottage style borders, early flowering roses, a vegetable potager and many exceptional hanging baskets. Oakley Garden also features a fern garden, a plant nursery, native bush and plants. This excellent garden has developed a certain style reflecting the owner’s formal training in horticulture and landscape design.
Gardens of Significance
Mary’s Place
A love of plants is clearly illustrated in this setting of trickling and misted waters with rustic collections. Archways are draped with climbing roses & clematis. Hper-tufa pots with succulents adorn the sunny areas. A delightful town garden with a feeling of space and tranquility.
Thorveton is a secluded town garden where the walls and fences are covered with espaliered camellias and apple trees. The small private garden is designed to make the maximum use of space, planted with small trees, vireya rhododendrons and other small shrubs and perennials. An array of vegetables in a minute space is a decorative feature along with an immaculate hedge on a Lilliputian scale. Containers filled with rhodohypoxis and other choice plants are also full of interest. Thorveton also features a glasshouse, a fern garden and water features.
Merleswood, an outstanding evolving garden, set amidst large structural trees and featuring flowering wisterias, seedling raised rhododendron hybrids, maples and rugosa rose hedgerows. The laburnum walk leads to a cleverly developed pond, loads of creative areas to explore.
An imaginative fun garden with a touch of fantasy. There is an intriguing variety of formal and formal rooms, plant combinations with ponga structures hung with wisteria and clematis and an outstanding topiary fantail in golden macrocarpa. Mountside also features a fernery with orchids.
The spacious two and a half-acre country garden in Manaia, South Taranaki, started as a bare paddock in 1961. The garden now features sweeping lawns and mature trees surrounding the farm homestead. For the last 30 years, the garden has been expanded and developed by Marie and Rodney Mills who built upon the original garden plantings started by Rodney’s parents.
In the main garden you’ll find beds of roses, a golden gleditsia and some 60 large rhododendrons providing huge splashes of colour in spring and into summer. A huge puriri tree, often visited by Tui and native pigeons, announces the Openlands shade house area. The shade house is home to many colorful plants including vireya rhododendrons. But it is also home to a number of treasures from the sea including a large wooden supporting beam and a cargo net found at local beaches.Nearby is a dell of native ferns and colourful clivias where two bridges cross the meandering stream running through the property.
Another signature feature of Openlands is the relocated, historic Auroa Methodist church. Built in 1910, the quaint country church has had an extensive renovation both inside and out. In the Openlands garden setting, the church has become a favourite photographic feature of Openlands—both for festival visitors but also local couples as a wedding venue.
An added bonus to the garden’s formal and informal beauty is the exotic birdlife in the property’s aviaries. Colourful and talkative budgies, cockateels, lorikeets and gulahs greet visitors to Taranaki’s latest Garden of Significance.

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