css3 menu generator by Css3Menu.com
International Rhododendron conference 2014
20 -24 October
Dunedin - New Zealand
Dunedin is known for its cooler climate and grows superb Rhododendrons as we witnessed in the variety of gardens that were available for us to view. Two of the gardens included are classified by the NZ Garden Trust as Gardens of International Significance , these being the 28 hectare Botanic Garden (NZ’s oldest) with its Rhododendron Dell established 100 years ago, and the garden at Larnach Castle. Others visited included privately owned suburban and rural gardens. In the Glenroy Auditorium many named blooms were on display these being contributed by growers and members.
Overseas visitors and locals were offered pre and post conference tours. Pre Conference participants met in Auckland and were able to visit gardens and sightsee on their travels through the North Island before flying to Queenstown and travelling by coach to Dunedin. Those on the Post tour travelled from Dunedin through the McKenzie Country to Christchurch visiting gardens and tourist attractions along the way before their departures home.
Guest speakers are always a highlight of the conference sharing their travel experiences and expertise.
Neville Peat, an author, photographer, ecologist and conservationist, titled his talk ‘Wild Dunedin - the ecology of Dunedin’.
Steve Hootman, Executive Director and
Curator of the Rhododendron Species foundation and the
Our own Denis Hughes of Blue Mountain Nurseries in Tapanui (a wholesale and retail business established in 1932) spoke about his personal views on Hybridising Rhododendrons.
Hartwig Schepker, Scientific Director of the Botanic Garden and Rhododendron Park Bremen, Germany gave two presentations. The first ‘The Mysteries of Arunachal Pradesh –exploring unknown rhododendron territories in North- Eastern India’ and the second ‘An unusual network of parks, private gardens and nurseries - Rhododendron cultivation and preservation in Germany’.
Lynn Bublitz, a retired high school principal has been involved with Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust’s garden near New Plymouth since he was a school boy and chaired the Trust for ten years. Lynn’s topic was ‘Maddenia in NZ’.
A Banquet at the Dunedin Town Hall on
Thursday evening was followed by a plant auction (proceeds to
Report by Joy Gavin
These are the gardens that were visited:
Flanked by pine-clad hills, with a view across Dunedin Harbour, Tannock Glen is reminiscent of a true Scottish glen and loch. The specialist rhododendron collection there has been built up since 1975 by members of the Dunedin Rhododendron Group and contains a large number of rare species collected from the wild, plus choice hybrids. A flowing lawn, with well balanced plantings of mature Magnolia, Prunus, Acer and Quercus, among others, form a backdrop and canopy for the rhododendrons that lead down-hill via gravelled paths to more shaded plantings and a short bush track that leads back towards a beautiful stand of golden elm.
Dunedin Botanic Garden was established in
1863, and is the oldest in New Zealand. It is one of only five
Gretchen and John came to live in Dunedin in
2003, but as the property had been purchased earlier they were
Patti and John Matheson began developing an
inner-city woodland garden out of dense second growth bush and
sycamores in 1981. All but the tallest trees were removed and
initial planting was of native tree ferns alongside a small
creek. Sequentially, rhododendrons bred by the late Bruce
Campbell and established hybrids from Blue Mountain Nursery in
Tapanui followed. Landscaping of the house bank used rock from
Otago Peninsula and rail sleepers from Otago Central Railway.
The resultant plots were filled with spring bulbs, smaller
rhododendrons, roses and perennials. Beyond the creek the garden
has a less formal habit with mainly azaleas, larger
rhododendrons, Cardiocrinum giganteum,hellebores, Primulas and
hostas shaded by tall Wellingtonias on a pathed bank that leads
to Mercy Hospital gardens. The property is most colourful in
spring but the well defined Dunedin seasons allow variation of
flora that continues to give great pleasure to the owners.
Larnach Castle was built during the decade of the 1870s by William Larnach. The oldest trees date from this decade as does the layout of the driveways. Margaret and the late Barry Barker purchased the property of 35 acres, including the ruined garden, in 1967. A new garden has been developed in the footprint of the old layout, close to the house in sympathy with the historic buildings; further out in response to the landscape. An axis was created from the Castle to the view and the surrounding formal landscaping established in the 1990s. Removal of trees from the North Slope revealed a beautiful view, but opened the site to salt winds. The South Seas Garden was created to withstand the conditions and to reflect our position in the Southern Ocean.
“Glenfalloch”, 430 Portobello Rd
Glenfalloch Woodland Garden, Gaelic for ‘hidden valley’ is an historical garden, - tranquil, beautiful, much loved and classified as a Garden of National Significance. A garden of four seasons with spring being spectacularly impressive of bulbs, rhododendrons, Azaleas, drifts of English Bluebells, Snowdrops, Primula Candelabra and wild Primroses around every corner. Summer displays enchanting drifts of flowers. Autumn and winter is a leafy tapestry of brilliant reds, orange, yellow and claret boldly provided by numerous varieties of Maples, Birch, Rowan, English Beech, Oak Ash, Walnut Elm and Horse Chestnut trees which complement the indigenous New Zealand native ferns, Kowhai, Rimu Pohutakawa and Cordylines. The aging dry stone walls accentuate the garden structure in artfully arranged beds, maximising seasonal colour combinations, form and texture. The original Homestead and fountain stand majestically above the sweeping lawn where the driveway swirls up and around the front, ‘Alfred Buxton’ style.
When the Chambers bought this property almost 13 years ago it proved to be the start of an adventure in rediscovering the ‘bones’ of a long neglected garden. Today the drive sweeps up one side of an extensive lawn, past old pohutukawa, cordylines and kowhais. The courtyard behind the house is backed by old established camellias and two Cyathea medularis frame the entrance. On the northern side of the large architecturally classic house a substantial pergola supports a large Pandorea vine and is backed by the beautiful hydrangea-like shrub Dichroa febrifuga along with colourful azaleas, scented daphnes, lilies and lilacs. Behind the house, rhododendron, heather and conifer sections, raised flower beds, a rockery and vegetable garden have all been enhanced with new plantings now stretching up the slope of this lovely little valley. Cross the bridge to:
This garden is nestled in a sheltered valley on the beautiful Otago Peninsula. Developed over 24 years by the current owners the garden features a variety of plantings and garden styles both formal and informal. White stemmed Himalayan Birches and rock walls line the entrance driveway. The front garden features an expansive lawn bordered by heavily perfumed Rugosa roses framing a view of the magnificent Otago Harbour and includes natives and perennials intermingled with a colourful display of Irises Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Magnolias in the lower sheltered areas. A secluded woodland garden is situated behind the house with water loving plants edging an attractive stream, which runs through the property from open farmland hills above. Quaint planked bridges lead you through lush plantings of Rhododendrons, Maples, Cherry’s and Magnolias under-planted with Hostas, Astilbes, and Irises.
The property was originally settled in the 1880’s: many of the large trees and the stone walls date from then. Reg and Nan Medlicott developed the rhododendron garden in the 1950s and 1960s when Reg was the Medical Superintendent at Ashburn Clinic. They were helped by Phillip Barling from Glenfalloch, The original plant of the hybrid rhododendron “Mrs Percy McLaren” is in the garden: it was named by Reg Medlicott after his mother-in-law. When Evelyn and Trevor Millar purchased the 2 hectare property in 1995, there was a jungle of blackberry, gorse and other weeds outside the main lawns and hedges. They have extended the garden and planted hundreds of rhododendrons, and there is still a lot of work-in-progress.
15 to 20 minutes travel west from central Dunedin is a lovely rural area known as North Taieri. This is where Broxburn Park is situated. Broxburn Park was named by the first settler, a retired ship’s captain who settled there in 1864 and named it after his home district in Scotland. It is now a 40 acre “lifestyle block” running sheep and beef cattle. The current owners have lived on the property since 1982 and have created a large 1 acre garden with sweeping lawns and many varieties of trees and shrubs. An ornamental lily pond with waterfall was designed and installed as a millennium project. There is also a collection of restored horse drawn carriages.