Akaroa Gardens

We saw 3 unusual and amazing gardens today – Garden at French Farm, The Giant’s House and Fisherman’s Bay Garden.



This garden is about 6 acres on a beautiful piece of land right next to Governors Bay in Allendale, NZ. It is maintained by 2 gardeners with occasional other help when needed.

The head gardener is talking:

A garden was started on this property in 1865 so many trees here are old. The present garden was started in 1977 by Sir Miles Warren and Pauline and John Trengrove. Their inspiration was from a trip they made to England where they saw Great Dixter, Sissinghurst and Hidcote gardens.

From Sissinghurst came the idea of a tower to provide a place to view the garden:

Hydrangea anomala petiolaris is growing on the tower.

From Hidcote they got the idea of having many garden rooms connected by an axis path. In their case the path was a stairway with side paths at each level:

From Great Dixter they got the idea of growing plants in large borders and beds:

Meadow Rue (Thalictrum sp. )

There is a creek that flows through the property and there are 3 different bridges that cross it:

On the other side of the creek there are good views to the bay and many paths to walk to see unusual plants:

One of the primary purposes of this garden is to display outdoor sculptures:

Other interesting scenes in the garden:


Pyracantha in full bloom


The artist Josie Martin has lived in this house for 26 years. When she first moved in she found shards of lovely old China buried in the ground because there was no rubbish collection back then. She started doing the mosaics in her garden and with the help of local craftsmen in construction she produced this very unusual garden:

The garden is only about 1/2 acre but there is 22 years of work put into it.


This garden is located on a cliff right next to the South Pacific Ocean on New Zealand’s South Island. The route to get to this garden is difficult as you can see with these photos and videos:

They made a video about this land called “Fools and Dreamers”. You can watch it at


It shows how the land has been renovated by getting rid of the Gorse weeds and replacing it with the native vegetation at Hinewai Nature Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary.

Videos of the owners talking about the 7 acre garden and 700 acre ranch:

The drama in this garden is definitely the fantastic view. The plants and the planting are also beautiful and very well done:

Perennial garden:

View from the deck and house:

There are many Hebes, Flax, Carex, grasses and other native plants in this garden:

Here are some of the owner’s cows who are sort of noisy sometimes as you will hear on the next video:

The garden extends from the cliff edge up the slope to the Monterey Cypress which were planted over 100 years ago.

Several wire sculptures are in the garden one of which you can get inside:

Up in the canyon there are many Rhododendrons and deciduous Azaleas blooming.

Above the house there is another perennial garden not seen by many people:

Tower of Jewels (Echium wildpretii)

Tomorrow – Oamaru Gardens

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hope Jenkins says:

    Hope Jenkins again.
    I loved your pictures of The Giant’s House. That was such a delightful place to visit. There were surprises around every corner. Josie, the owner-artist-creator has such a fabulous imagination. I shared your picture tour with my husband since he wasn’t with me in 2016 when I was in the HPSO New Zealand tour. Thanks. I enjoyed remembering that wonderful time in her garden.

  2. What a captivating article! Your trip is showing that some of New Zealand’s gardens are truly a testament to human creativity and nature’s beauty.

    One additional tip I’d like to share, especially for those planning to visit these remarkable gardens, is to bring a small notebook or a garden journal. While photos capture the visual allure, a journal can help you jot down your thoughts, emotions, and even sketch your favourite scenes. This personal touch can add a layer of depth to your memories and provide a unique perspective when you look back.

    Imagine flipping through your journal years from now, reliving the scents, sounds, and feelings you experienced in these enchanting spaces. It’s a wonderful way to connect more deeply with the gardens and preserve the essence of your visit.

    Happy garden explorations to all future visitors!


Leave a Reply