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Visitors to Hamilton Gardens are being transported to warmer climates where lush tropical spaces filled with bromeliads, palms and exotic orchids flourish; after the Gardens’ newest garden was recently opened.
Paying homage to temperate climate gardeners who have tried to recreate the mysterious beauty of tropical landscapes since the 16th Century, the Tropical Garden was officially opened in early-February.
A vertical garden wall covered with thousands of tropical plants housed in 6000 “pockets” has been set above a ravine, which is a key feature of the latest addition to the Gardens’ Fantasy Garden Collection. Visitors can walk along a jungle path, across a boardwalk before crossing the bridge where the vertical wall can be viewed.
Hamilton Gardens Director Peter Sergel says the Tropical Garden concept is relatively simple: “It features plants that look tropical but which will survive in a Waikato climate. They create the impression of a lush tropical garden but in fact are hardier species than those found in steamy tropical locations.”
The vertical gardens are becoming increasingly popular in Europe, but uncommon in New Zealand, Mr Sergel says. The vertical gardens are attached to a block wall which runs through the centre of the garden. “Each of the vertical garden pockets holds a plant and they are fed by quite a complex drip irrigation system. The challenge of green walls is keeping them watered.”
Orchids from Australia, bamboos from Asia and birds of paradise have been planted. Roughly 200 species feature in the garden, with more than 6000 individual specimens planted. The Garden was first mooted in 1999 and construction was started in 2011.
Hamilton Gardens is a conceptual garden based in the Waikato 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. Mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs are available to hire and guided tours are available.