Last November I visited Taranaki in New Zealand’s North Island for the annual garden festival. Armed with my carefully annotated programme and map, I criss-crossed the provence, visiting an array of private gardens whose owners had kindly opened them to the public for the duration of the festival.
All were beautiful and interesting, but the one that has proved to be the most memorable was neither on my list, nor a private garden.
Hollard Gardens was established in 1927 by the then owners, Bernie and Rose Hollard. While the garden is now owned and managed by the Taranaki Regional Council, “Hollard Gardens is unique in the fact that it is an achievement of almost a lifetime of work by a private individual. It is a plantsman’s garden and a reflection of patience and horticultural skill.” (The History of Hollards)
“Bernie selected his plants based on personal appeal and whether they would fill gaps in his existing collections of species or varieties. The overall design of the garden considered not only the aesthetics, but whether a plant would thrive in its environment.” (The History of Hollards)
The gardens consist of several areas, including a woodland glade, avenues of lawn lined with different rhododendrons, hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs, and a kitchen garden.
It was the kitchen garden that made Hollard so memorable and special for me. It was one of several organic gardens I visited that have been designed according to permaculture principles, but the most accessible and informative.
That the garden is managed by the Regional Council demonstrates an official commitment to sustainable food production which I find refreshing and reassuring.
Also posted to Friday Flowers