South Canterbury

Contact People

Joy & Bernie O'Keefe

Phone: 03 692 2864

Garden visit programme for 2023

The committee has decided on three garden visit trips for later in the year.

The first will be an overnight, two-day trip in the wider-Christchurch region: the weekend of 7/8 October. The Timaru area: Sunday, 5 November.

Christmas garden visits, Methven area with the Christmas party at Geraldine: Sunday 26 November.

Committee members are working on itineraries for each visit and more details will be provided later in the year.

Rhodenza 2023

The NZRA Rhodenza 2023 [Conference] “Celebrating Rhododendrons”, will be based in New Plymouth and runs from 24 to 27 October. The programme includes a day at “Pukeiti” and tours of prominent Taranaki gardens. More information and registration forms will be available in May.

2022 Review

A Taste of the amazing garden visits that the South Canterbury Rhododendron Group Inc organise.

Join them on their next trip which is an overnight, two-day trip in wider-Christchurch region: the weekend 7/8 October!

Methven/Montalto region gardens in mid-November. 

A good roll-up of members enjoyed a warm spring day in the Methven region. A decent downpour the evening before had spruced up the gardens which were all in excellent condition.

The morning started at Jenny and Brian Senior’s property on the outskirts of Methven. Here, beds weave their way about a big lawn creating deep bays to wander around. Trees including a copper beech, a range of cornus, variegated maples and a Parrotia persica, among others, provide shade for the extensive planting of rhododendrons. For many of the group the real pleasure was in the underplanting in the borders. Among these was Cornus canadensis, or creeping dogwood or bunchberry in Canada which is rarely seen in gardens today. There were also fritillarias, hostas, pulsatillas, pulmonarias, heucheras, trilliums and small alpine plants. Bigger planting included herbaceous paeonias and kalmias. A magnificent clematis caught many eyes as we arrived on the property.

The Senior’s garden set the tone for the next three properties all of which were a delight in their own way.  These were bigger, established country gardens with wonderful old trees as background and framing for the borders and display gardens.  The first of these, up the road from the Senior’s, was Erina and Peter McCaw’s Mt. Harding Road home which is a classic farm property with beautiful garden beds shaped around the homestead with views to the mountains beyond and all overshadowed by century old trees.

Members were treated to a forest walk through the shelter and explored a path cut during the pandemic which allowed us to see the magnificent old trunks and branches of the giants, as well as some of the fallen trees. It was enlightening. Back at the homestead, we saw once again exotic trees planted around the extensive lawn including a range of cornus, copper beech, gleditsias, maples and two wonderful Sophora japonica or Japanese pagoda trees. Under and around the trees was a brilliant display of azaleas and rhododendrons in what one visitor rightly called “fairground colours”. Other plantings included hydrangeas and paeonias. The McCaw’s garden in its green landscape and sitting among old farm buildings is a peaceful and serene place in which to wander. No wonder we were late leaving for our lunch date half an hour away at Montalto.

On the Mayfield Klondyke Road we discovered Anne and Athel Price’s extensive and magnificent country garden.  A long drive leads to the homestead surrounded by lawns, trees, ponds, a croquet court and deep borders....

Make contact with Joy and Bernie to find more of what this active group gets up to.


South Canterbury Rhododendron Group Inc November Garden tour 2022
South Canterbury RhododenronGroup Inc garden visits November 2022
South Canterbury Rhodoendron Group Inc November 2022