We have been visiting the Hamilton Gardens over a decade or more and never cease to wonder in awe and amazement at the veritable visual feast that lies on this once-was-bare-sand quarry-and-garbage-dump land! What a bold dream, to create a thing of exquisite beauty for all to enjoy, in the city of Hamilton. Anywhere else in the world and we’d be queueing up to pay to get in! A dream and vision, fifty odd years in the making.
The gardens were commissioned in 1960 and 4 hectares were designated to be the current Hamilton Gardens fantasy. Departing from the usual Botanical Gardens, Hamilton’s gardens becomes a landscaped visual Fantasia of different themed spaces. Set aside at least 3 hours, and still, you will not have seen all there is to see! I like to time my visits during the school day, that way I get to meander around and photograph these beautiful empty “rooms” at leisure. This recent visit, we went during the school holidays and it was difficult to time shots between hordes of families and bus loads of tourists! However, it was still a treat!
The scale of the gardens is impressive! Impressive and downright breath-taking! It takes much of our time and effort to keep our own backyard under control, so I truly admire the man hours it has taken to not only create, but to maintain and keep these gardens looking pristine and loved! I still can’t believe that there is no entrance fee, entry is free! If you’re ever in New Zealand, DO make an effort to get to see this spectacle, you won’t be sorry!
The themed gardens include the Italian Rennaisance Garden. I love the formality, geometry and symmetry of all these features. Standing at the top of the enclosed garden, one can imagine living in an Italian Medieval Castle! Their gardens reflected a desire to rationalise and improve upon nature. The sculpture of Romulus and Remus suckling a wolf is the legend of the founding of Rome.
There is a magnificently peaceful Japanese garden, but on this visit, it was overcrowded with visitors, so we quickly bypassed it for the Chinese Garden. The morning had clouded over, so imagine how much better it all looks when the sun is out! I had the opportunity to take two sets of tourist’s photos for them, as they were attempting to take “selfies” and it’s always nicer to get a good perspective from further away. I love offering to take photos for people, and usually they are really grateful and offer to take our picture with my camera in return.
The Chinese Scholar’s Garden is based on traditional garden design from the Sung Dynasty (10-12th Century) which often reflected on the Chinese philosophy of Confuscianism. There are amazing views of the mighty Waikato River from the Chinese pavilion.
I must admit, I’m a lover of all things Indian! So the Indian Char Bagh Garden, which is “an interpretation of a 16-17th Century symbolic four-quartered garden built for the Mughal (Persian descendants) aristocracy as an escape from the harsh environment. The designs have complex roots in 3 of the world’s great religions; Islam, Christianity and Buddhism.” is one of my favourites.
These are but a splinter of the rich and intricately beautiful landscaped rooms. Another favourite is the Sustainable Backyard garden, but that would need another visit, and a blog post all of its own! Perhaps I have whetted your appetite enough, that you may want to get there before I do…….. If not, I’ll see you there!