Five of the best: Private country gardens

Take inspiration for your garden by visiting these exquisite country spreads.

1. Ayrlies

Liz Morrow garden. Photo / Supplied
Liz Morrow garden. Photo / Supplied

One of the region's best known, Ayrlies is a garden of international significance with sweeping lawns, and a romantic profusion of colour every week of the year. Subtropicals and natives mix with a changing backdrop of roses, perennials, bulbs, grasses, wetland and a wild flower meadow. Adults $15, to book phone: (09) 530 8706, email:, 125 Potts Rd, Whitford

2. Brookgreen Park

Formal clipped box-edged gardens, display roses and topiary with gazebos, fountains and a Monet-style bridge over a small lake where the pink waterlilies are just blooming. A vegetable potager with small topiary citrus trees could inspire a pint-sized version on your city plot. Adults $10, to book phone: (09) 415 4433 or email:, 15 Goldflats Lane, Albany

3. Minchner

Spring plantings of cherries, rhododendrons, camellias and acers are starting to show, besides a traditional walled kitchen garden, complete with gardener's cottage and Victorian-inspired glasshouses and formal herbaceous borders.

Views of streams and bush add a different dimension to Mincher. Adults $12, to book phone: (09) 415 7469 or email:, 338 Coatesville-Riverhead Highway, Coatesville, Albany

4. Omaio

Liz Morrow's property is spread over 7.3ha on the Takatu peninsula, where she fuses natives with other carefully selected plants, raised vegetable gardens, a small orchard walking tracks through native bush. Adults $10, to book phone: (09) 422 7443 or email:,, 194 Whitmore Rd, Matakana

5. Totara Waters

This subtropical garden is a treasury of rare plants, nestled on the shores of the upper Waitemata Harbour. Lichen-covered rocks and collections of crucibles and plots complement large sub-tropical plants (the nursery specialises in bromeliads) and ancient bonsai. Plants for sale Monday to Saturday 10am-4pm, gardens are open first Friday and Saturday of the month, 10am-4pm or by appointment. Adults $8, to book phone: (09) 416 8272 or email:, 89 Totara Rd, Whenuapai

* Have you got a fundraising garden or house tour planned for this spring? Email us at to tell us more.

- NZ Herald

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