Whangarei Gardens

We made 3 stops today: The Rock-Hoppers Garden, Whangarei Falls, and Whangarei Quarry Gardens.


Gordon & Rosie Speedy are the owners of this garden and their name has some significance in how they built their garden – very speedy.

They started 20 years ago with their 2 kids clearing the ground and excavating with power equipment. With a blade grader and a back hoe they dug out the ground for the pond and scraped the pathways without a plan except in Rosie’s head. The rocks were piled up and used for walls and rock gardens:

The garden covers 10 acres and the Speedy family are the only ones who do the work. Now that their kids are grown up Gordon and Rosie maintain the whole garden by themselves.

Here are some views of the pond and water features:

Believe it or not, the whole garden was built and planted in 6 months by the Speedy family.

The beautiful lawns are reminiscent of English gardens as they set off the plantings with a green base:

The garden is filled with interesting pots and wire sculptures that add to the detail of the plants:

It is Spring here and the Rhododendrons are blooming and the Japanese Maples are sprouting their fresh new leaves:

The garden makes heavy use of succulents and Bromeliads for bright colors and contrasting forms:

Here are some interesting plants:Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana) newer hybrid

Persian Shield (Strobilanthes gossypineus)

Michelia (Magnolia doltsopa)

Callistemon ‘Tower of Fire’

Toona ‘Flamingo


A short hike after lunch brings us to a beautiful waterfall:

Notice the native palms (Nikau) and the tree ferns (Dicksonia?) along the creek:


From the 1940’s to the mid 70’s the rock in this quarry was used for base rock for roads and highways in the North Island. In the mid 70’s quarry operations were discontinued leaving a huge scar on the landscape.

A non-profit organization was formed and built a dam to hold the water coming down from the waterfall:

The creek flows down through the valley and creates the pleasant sound of rushing water in the garden:

Here are some scenes as you walk down along the creek:

The plantings are mostly subtropical including Philodendrons and Bromeliads with nice color accents:

Here are some interesting plants:

Honey Bush (Melianthus major)

Silk Floss Tree (Ceiba speciosa)

Encephalartos villosus

Salvia cv.

Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea)

Rhododendron Vireya hybrid

Tomorrow: Paihia Gardens

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