Gardens to take you back in time

Friday, 1 September 2023

Gardens to take you back in time

Whether you are a keen gardener, a lover of nature and beauty, or just interested in enjoying a peaceful day out surrounded by beautiful plants and environment, we highly recommend you take a walk through some (or all, if you can) of our gardens hidden away in Selwyn.

We are excited to introduce you to some of our most historical gardens.   

720 Sleemans Road, Windwhistle

These gardens date back to 1912 where they were first established by Wilfred Hall and his wife Millicent Potts. Millicent’s father was none other than Thomas Henry Potts, who for all the keen enthusiasts out there, was one of our most renowned botanists, ornithologists, entomologists, and conservationists. He was so renowned that Mt Potts (set of Lord of the Rings) is named after him.

So, it is no wonder at all that with such a fantastic background, Millicent Potts shared her father’s passion and set up a stunning array of plants, trees, and flowers across two acres of land.

These gardens were extensively restored back to their glory by its current owners after many years of neglect. Gunyah’s gardens now sprawl across 12 acres of beautiful lawns, mature trees, NZ natives, exotics and much more. They have kept (and restored) the old orchard and added their own. There is also a pond, a gazebo, and the exotics include original coloured and perfumed azaleas and rhododendrons from the Pott’s days.

There is no lack of beauty and native wonders in these gardens, including the most southern growing kauri in New Zealand. And for those who love the restoration of beautiful areas, there is a native beech forest that is being restored, which highlights the owners desire to keep everything in its original glory and their passion for nature and conservation.

We could go on all day about what the Gunyah Country Estate has to offer in terms of their garden, but we highly recommend you take the trip to Windwhistle to see it for yourself and learn more about their conservation efforts, while you take in the great sights of Mt Hutt and Mt Winterslow.


151 Milnes Road, Hororata

Going even further back, this beautiful one-hectare garden features some magnificently huge trees that were planted in the 19th century, which is something quite spectacular to witness.

Daffodils and Tulips, Terrace Station

The earlier Victorian formality has changed to an informal garden within the original structured design which is still evident.

Beneath the trees are areas of massed planting of woodland perennials and bulbs – galanthus, hellebores, primroses, violets, trilliums, peonies, daffodils, cyclamen and more.

Kate Foster, the current gardener, has lived here almost all her life and loves sharing this family space. She has a team of volunteers who enjoy hosting visitors who have been coming for the past fifteen years. And if you are after guidance or advice on any of the plants or trees while you are visiting, Kate is more than happy to share her knowledge and experience of the garden. 

And for those that are hoping to take a piece of the garden home with them, there are plant stalls selling the plants you see flowering.

Within the garden is the Hutch, a one-time summer house. It now has displays of garden and farm tools and information about the property. There are also domestic nature displays.

Visitors on ‘Open Garden’ days are welcome to bring a picnic to have on the expansive lawns where chairs are provided. A leaflet is given to visitors showing the garden layout and names of significant trees. And for those with kids, there is plenty to keep them entertained, with activity sheets sharing places to play hide and seek and pinpointing the best trees to climb.

Cherry Blossoms, Terrace Station

Four ‘Open Garden’ days are held in the spring and two in the autumn. Follow signs from the roundabout in Hororata. Watch the Facebook page for any changes due to adverse weather.

Admission is cash only, $10.00 for adults and no charge for children.

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