West Melton’s must-see gardens

Thursday, 29 September 2022

West Melton’s must-see gardens

With Spring here, there is no better topic to write about than the blooming gardens that are starting to look their best. 

You may have seen our last article on gardens that are an absolute must visit during Spring. Well, we’ve decided to add to the list, with some gardens to explore in West Melton.

So please keep reading to find more gardens we believe are a must-see during your spring adventures!


Julie has worked extremely hard since she has opened her herbal garden to the public 18 months ago, and we are in awe of the results she has produced.

This is a garden you must visit if you are interested in seeing what is involved in a ‘working garden’. It includes an orchard, vegetable/culinary herb garden flowers and a medicinal herb garden. It is not a show garden per se, although the herbs are impressive to look at, but rather a garden where all the herbs are used for skin care products, and herbal teas which are then made on the property.

The Herbal Garden is designed to be part of the plan to be sustainable and helps visitors and customers to know what goes into every product. All the gardens are built on organic/permaculture bases, all natural without any chemical additives. Everything that is in the garden stays in the garden; trees, bushes, branches are all cut and put through the chipper and used as mulch, all garden waste, weeds etc, are composted along with house food waste. Very sustainable and definitely something we can all learn from!

With two acres of garden being constantly developed, visitors can expect to feel inspired by what they can bring into their own working gardens. In the medicinal herb garden, there are information plaques that advise what certain plants are used for and their benefits. Julie is a walking fountain of knowledge and is always happy to further elaborate when guiding people around her gardens.

Julie also has a workshop where visitors can come in and see how she dries herbs and how they are used in oils and made into products. These products are available to buy on the day. She hopes that visitors can take away some inspiration and share with her their ideas and experiences too.


Stoneycrop Garden’s background story is by far one of the most inspirational we have come across.

After Brian was injured in the Christchurch Earthquakes their plans to travel were put on hold. Instead, they decided to move out to West Melton and buy three quarters of an acre and continue their love for gardening.

Inspired to making it accessible for Brian, their garden is wheelchair and mobility-issues friendly. It is designed accordingly with limestone chip paths for easy access, raised garden patches and with free caregiver entry for those with a Hapai access card.

Helen and Brian bought the land eight years ago, and within one year they had opened it to the public. This was a result of Helen being named Gardener of the Year by NZ Gardener magazine after being nominated and put forward by Brian. 

They have a large group of mixed plantings, but they especially love planting Rhododendrons. They also have many varieties of maples, magnolias, cornus, camellias and viburnums – and plenty more plants, flowers and trees to see while visiting.

And if you are looking to walk away with some beautiful plants, visit their plant stall. 

So, if you need a garden that has fantastic mobility access for you and your family, this might be the one for you. And as members of the Camellias Society, the Alpine Society, the Rhododendrons Society and after being named as a 4-star garden by the New Zealand Garden Trust, you can be sure that you will be surrounded by fine knowledge and experience on all things trees, plants, and flowers.


Rated as a 5-star garden by the New Zealand Garden Trust, this fantastic garden comes with flowers, plants, and trees of all sizes and colours. From rhododendrons to azaleas, camellias to maples, you name it, it has it.

And to think this all started with a shingle pit over 25 years ago? Chris had a vision that he could turn a barren one and a quarter acre into something beautiful and lush. And he made that vision into a reality.

Mel’s favourite part of the gardens are the peonies that are due to come into bloom starting from October. She thinks they are breathtaking with their bright colours. Chris’ favourite must be the maples and he invites people to come and look and see just why that is!

Casa Rossa is primarily a show garden that has plenty of benches and lawn for visitors to sit down and enjoy a picnic, while they take in the beauty that surrounds them. There’s even a pond with a stunning red Japanese style bridge that crosses it. If you’re lucky, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, you’ll witness the most gorgeous peaceful and serene sights around this pond that will feel as though you have been transported to another country. 

With wedding photos being taken in this gorgeous garden, you will be left checking to see if they have availability for your own. It truly is a beautiful garden that we think you’ll leave feeling inspired.

Mel and Chris love working with other gardeners in the community and is neighbour to Julie and the Herbal Garden (featured above). She thinks it is great working with like-minded individuals who have a love for nature and beauty.


It appears rhododendrons are a favourite throughout the gardens of Selwyn, but we think this garden and nursery may be the most passionate, dedicating their gardens to rhododendrons and mollis azaleas exclusively.

To meet the needs of their customers in sourcing a variety of different rhododendrons, they have combined horticulture skills and have developed an extensive rhododendron propagating site. This has enabled them to stock over 500 different varieties of rhododendrons in their nursery including fragrant and sun tolerant rhododendrons.

You can’t go wrong trusting the experts to bring you the best. And they certainly enjoy a challenge. Relocating their rhododendron nursery was no easy task bu,  they have found that their West Melton property has created an amazing environment for rhododendrons, utilizing the dapple shade of the oak trees in the truffiere.

Each visitor is welcomed with open arms.  During the upcoming open days, at 11:30am and 1:30pm, you can hear some top tips and tricks on how to grow and maintain your rhodos. They are even more than happy for you to bring along a picnic and enjoy it on the lawn amongst the rhododendrons.

Customers have exclaimed that Rhodo Direct’s rhododendrons are some of the best they have ever had the pleasure to purchase. They have several long-standing customer relationships, and would love for you to become one of them.

Available to purchase online or on site at their garden and nursery located in West Melton. Currently open from 10am to 4pm, seven days a week.  

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