The new Picturesque Garden at Hamilton Gardens will be opened on Monday, November 4, after three years of development.

The garden represents an historically significant form of garden design, providing another link in the Hamilton Gardens "story of gardens" theme.

Hamilton Gardens director Peter Sergel said the garden displays a changing attitude.
"The 18th century Picturesque Garden movement reflected a changing attitude to nature," said Dr Sergel.

"Before that gardens were usually formal and symmetrical, but these gardens were supposed to look relatively wild and natural. The gardens were often enhanced with artificial ruins and rustic bridges and took advantage of any dramatic site features.


"They were also trying to make gardens that appealed not just to the eye, but to the heart and the mind. To that end there was often reference to stories from antiquity and sometimes a sequence of features that told a story. In this garden, that story is of Mozart's 18th century opera The Magic Flute.

"An advantage of using that particular story is that it's laden with 18th century Masonic symbols which were also a common feature in gardens of that age. These included items like sphinxes, the three forms of classical pillar and Palladian pavilions."

It is fitting significant sponsorship for the new garden has come from the Freemasons Foundation. The Grand Master of Freemasons NZ, Mark Winger, said Freemasons over the centuries had been strong supporters of cultural pursuits especially music, as well as actively supporting initiatives benefiting the local community.

"The Hamilton Gardens are a real treasure and we're pleased to be part of its development," Mr Winger said.

"It's very interesting to see how the high-profile role of Masons in 18th century society played out in the gardens of the time, and today Freemasons can help bring those gardens to life," he said.

The new garden will be formally opened by Mr Winger on November 4, and will be open to the public from 3.30pm.