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  • Day66

    Hamilton Gardens

    February 14, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all of us in NZ. And Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you at home!

    The weather here continues to be great. Hot, but not humid, so it has been nice. We do have to be super careful as the sun is intense and it is easy to burn here. That’s why we are going to continue searching for a good hat for Chris, or stay out of the sun!

    Chris, Donna and I were itching to go back to the Hamilton Gardens, so we made a plan for the day.

    1. The Gardens in the morning
    2. Hat hunting
    3.Kayak ride down the Waikato River with three families at 4:30 p.m.

    The gardens in Hamilton are about a 1/2 hour drive from where we are staying and there is no charge for entry. It is a beautiful place. Rather than focusing on plant collections, the emphasis is on different types of garden design.

    The people who created the gardens wanted to showcase “the cultural meaning and context of gardens over the past 4,000 years”. It was interesting to see how the culture of a time can be seen through the gardens of the time, or how the attitudes towards nature were viewed.

    The first development of the gardens began in the early 1960s at what was then the city's waste disposal site. It had been a The first garden that was built was the Rogers Rose Garden which was opened in 1971. It was an attempt to block highway development over the site. The property is on a lovely piece of land on the banks of the Waitako River. Someone, I am not sure who, had a great vision. Since 1982 many newly developed areas have been opened to the public.

    I am not going to list all the enclosed gardens that we went into but some were incredible - Chinese, Indian with a mini Taj Mahal, a herb garden, a Mansfield garden based on the short story ‘The Garden Party’ by NZ writer Katherine Mansfield, and a brand new Surrealist Garden with strange forms.

    Diane and Claude, you would love it!!

    We stopped for a cup of tea and a scone in the cafe overlooking a peaceful pond before heading into town to check it out and look for a hat.

    As we rounded a corner, we bumped into a life-sized statue of the Rocky Horror Picture Show creator and Hamilton native , Richard O’Brien dressed as Riff Raff. We had a Time Warp moment.

    No hat to be found but we did enjoy our town walk. The river runs right through town but it is somewhat hidden. Work has been started to make a riverside trail. It was is a good idea, as it is a lovely river.

    More about the second part of our day in the next footprint.
    Read more