Starring role for Walter Peak garden

TSS Earnslaw cruises in front of the four-star Walter Peak garden. Photos: Supplied
TSS Earnslaw cruises in front of the four-star Walter Peak garden. Photos: Supplied
The garden at Walter Peak homestead on Lake Wakatipu has gained a four-star rating from the New Zealand Gardens Trust.

It becomes just the 11th garden in the South to be rated four stars or better by the trust.

Paul Norris, general manager of Real Journeys, which owns Walter Peak, said the original garden was established by the McKenzie family in the late 1800s, and their family home, named Ardmore House after the family’s village in Scotland, was still on the site.

The four-star Walter Peak garden.
The four-star Walter Peak garden.
‘‘Thanks to the unique microclimate at Walter Peak, certain plant species not normally found in [that area] happily flourish here, including a kauri tree which is believed to be the southernmost specimen in New Zealand.’’

Another native worthy of note was the kaka beak shrub, which was critically endangered and also normally only found in the North Island.

Non-native notables included giant redwood trees, which sheltered the garden from the wind, and East Asian cherry trees.

‘‘Year-round, there are plants to admire, from narcissi in winter, tulips in spring, roses in summer, to the glorious colours of the trees in autumn,’’ Mr Norris said.

‘‘Since 2014, there has also been an intensive planting of native trees after the wilding pines on Beach Point were removed to restore the area to a combination of native plants and pastures.’’

Established as a Trust of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, the NZ Gardens Trust promotes noteworthy New Zealand gardens and horticulture, and rates gardens using a four-star to six-star system.

In its assessor’s report, the trust noted that the planted beds at Walter Peak were well maintained and designed with an excellent variety of plants creating subtle variations in line, texture and colour.

Under the trust’s system, a four-star garden displays ‘‘a good degree of design and plantsmanship’’.

‘‘They have a consistent level of maintenance or important plant collection that distinguishes them from a registered garden.’’

Other starred gardens in Otago and Southland.—

SIX-STAR: Larnach Castle gardens (Dunedin), Dunedin Botanic Garden.

FIVE-STAR: Olveston (Dunedin), Orokonui Ecosanctuary (Dunedin), Gore Public Gardens, Queens Park (Invercargill)

FOUR-STAR: Hereweka garden (Dunedin), Oamaru Public Gardens, Golf Course Rd garden (Wanaka), Bannerman Park (Invercargill).


Sorry Mr Norris there are at least two kauri trees at Oban on Stewart Island. And a couple of pohutakawa.

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