Witness the science of gardening at Hamilton Gardens

Learn how cultivar gardening has developed since the early experiments by our Palaeolithic ancestors.

At Hamilton Gardens part of the science of gardening has always been the identification and breeding of plants. Perhaps the most ancient examples of plant breeding programmes were those directed toward improving food crops. However, the genetic principles discovered in the breeding of wheat or maize from their Palaeolithic ancestors have also been applied to plants whose use is mostly aesthetic.

There are three areas to our Cultivar Garden:

The Camellia Garden displays a wide variety of Camellias from species to recent cultivars.  

The Rhododendron Lawn is being planted to tell the story of Rhododendron and Azalea breeding.

The Rogers Rose Garden, developed in 1970, hosted the first World Rose Convention in 1971. It tells the story of the evolution of the modern rose through a series of areas that each focus on a different aspect, including

  • The species rose
  • The Malmaison roses of Josephine, Empress of France
  • The development of the first hybrid tea by Jean-Baptiste Andre Guillot
  • The Peace rose, Mme Meilland, and its descendants
  • Recent cultivars, including past and present winners of the NZ Rose of the Year Trials held annually in the Rogers Rose Garden.

The Hybrid Tea rose ‘Hamilton Gardens’  was the last rose released by world famous rose breeder Dr. Sam McGredy in 2008.

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens is a conceptual garden that explores the context, history and meaning of gardens through time, and from around the world. It is internationally recognised for its unique concept and is the Waikato region’s most popular tourist destination.

Only five minutes drive from Hamilton’s CBD, the Gardens is open 7 days a week during daylight hours and entry and parking is free. Access is off SH1, alongside Cobham Drive on the southern side of Hamilton.  Mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs are available to hire and guided tours are available.