Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco

The Conservatory of Flowers is a Victorian greenhouse and botanical garden located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.


The materials for the conservatory were purchased by businessman James Lick. He died in 1876 before construction could commence and the materials were sold by his estate. A group of businessmen purchased the materials and offered it as a gift to the City to be erected in Golden Gate Park.

The conservatory opened in 1879 making it the oldest building in Golden Gate Park. It is also the oldest wood-glass conservatory in North America. Its design is inspired by the Kew Gardens in London. The impressive wooden Victorian building has 16,800 window panes.

It houses nearly 2,000 plant species across five galleries – Aquatic Plants, Highland Tropics, Lowland Tropics, Potted Plants, and West Gallery.

The conservatory is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4.30pm. It closes some public holidays; visit the website for full hours and pricing.

It is located at 100 John F Kennedy Drive.







Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

The Japanese Tea Garden is a jewel in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.


This is the oldest Japanese garden in the United States. It was originally created for a Japanese village exhibit as part of the California Widwinter Exposition in 1894.

After the exposition Japanese landscape architect Makoto Haigwara developed the exhibit into to a permanent Japanese tea garden. Haigwara and his family lived on the property until World War II when they were evicted and sent to an internment camp.

The garden’s winding paths weave around pagodas, wooden bridges, rock gardens, koi ponds, and buddha statues.

There is a tea house serving Japanese refreshments. I had a cup of green tea with a slice of green tea cheesecake.

If you visit before 10am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday admission is free. The garden opens at 9am and closes at 4:45pm in winter and 6pm in summer. See their website for prices and seasonal hours.

The Japanese Tea Garden is located at 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park.








Jallianwala Bagh Memorial

Jallianwala Bagh Memorial is a public garden in Amritsar that is memorial to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.


The memorial was established in 1951 to commemorate the massacre.

On Sunday 13 April 1919 the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer opened fire on thousands that had gathered peacefully in the Bagh to celebrate Baisakhi, an annual Sikh festival.

Visitors will enter the garden through a narrow lane, which would have been the only way to escape but was blocked by Dyer’s men.

The bullet ridden walls have been preserved as a reminder of the tragedy. There is also the Martyr’s Well, which many people jumped into to avoid the bullets. Around 120 bodies were recovered from the well.


The spot from where General Dyer’s troops opened fire


Bullet marks



Martyrs’ Well

As well as the preserved bullet marked walls and the well there are several monuments within and outside the garden.

The centrepiece of the garden is the Flame of Liberty, a 30ft four-sided red stone pillar in the shape of a flame. The Flame of Liberty was inaugurated on 13 April 1961 by Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India.

Amar Jyoti, which translates as ‘timeless light’, is an eternal flame, that burns 24 hours a day.

Outside the entrance to Jallianwala Bagh is an elegant white marble statue that is also in the shape of a flame.

The 6.5 acre garden is located within the Golden Temple complex, and is a short walk from the Golden Temple.



Flame of Liberty


Amar Jyoti




Pukekura Park

Pukekura Park is a Garden of National Significance in New Plymouth covering 52 hectares.


Pukekura Park contains a range of landscaped gardens, lakes, exotic trees and walking paths through native bush.

It is also is full of history. The park opened in 1876 as a recreational reserve. At that time it was a stream valley full of gorse and wild bush.

In 1878 the main lake was formed by damming the Pukekura Stream that run through the park. In 1884 the ‘Poets Bridge’ was built across the lake. The original bridge was rebuilt in 1938 due to deterioration. Its red colour scheme is based on the Shinkyo Bridge in Nikko, Japan.

In 1888 a bandstand was erected and in 1897, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the drinking fountain was unveiled.


Poets Bridge


Drinking fountain and bandstand

In 1928 a fernery was built that today has more than 50,000 plants. The Tea House opened in 1931, which is operating today as Tea House on the Lake, it is open from 9am to 4pm.

There is a waterfall that opened in 1970. It has three main cascades. The highest is 10.6 metres. It uses water from the adjacent lake. Water at the foot of the waterfall is recycled through a pumphouse to a small pool at the top.

To celebrate the park’s centenary a water wheel was erected in 1976.




Water wheel

The park was named Pukekura Park in 1907 after the stream that run through the park.

Pukekura Park is also home to the Sports Grounds, TSB Bowl of Brooklands, and the the Brookland Zoo.

The main gate to Pukekura Park is at 10 Fillis Street, New Plymouth.









Tūpare Gardens

Tūpare is a former private gardens open to the public in New Plymouth.


Tūpare is a 3.6 hectare heritage property managed by the Taranaki Regional Council, which means it is open and free to the public to visit.

Businessman Sir Russell Matthews and his wife Mary purchased the property on on the edge of the Waiwhakaiho River in 1931. At that time it was covered in blackberry, gorse and bracken. They begun building a home and developing the landscape gardens.

The Tudor-style house was designed by James Chapman-Taylor. There was a disagreement between Matthews and Chapman-Taylor over the size of the dining room and Matthews ended the agreement. Matthews did follow the original plans and it took him 12 years to complete construction.




Tūpare was purchased by the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust in 1984 and opened to the public.

The word tūpare means ‘garland of flowers’.

There are three suggested walking routes around Tūpare. The Boundary Trail circles around the property through Redwoods, bush and the garden. The Garden Walk criss-crosses through the main garden areas. The House Stroll is an easier walk through the some of the popular areas of the of the garden.

Dogs and bicycles are not permitted in the gardens.

The gardens are free to visit and are open 9am to 8pm during daylight savings and 9am to 5pm during the winter.

Tūpare is at 487 Mangorei Road, near the intersection with State Highway 3.








VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Botanical Garden is a 22 hectare (55 acre) garden in Vancouver, Canada.


VanDusen Botanical Garden, which first opened in 1975, is located at 5251 Oak Street at West 37th Avenue.

The opening hours change each month with the change in daylight hours. So it is best to check the website for accurate timings and admission prices.

Garden highlights include an Elizabethan Hedge Maze, Sino-Himalayan Garden, Japanese Garden, South African Garden, Chilean Garden, Australian & New Zealand Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Canadian Heritage Garden, Woodland Garden, Fern Dell, Vegetable Garden, Fragrance Garden, Rhododendron Walk, and formal and heritage rose gardens.
Also onsite there is the Shaughnessy Restaurant and Truffles Cafe, otherwise visitors can find a spot and enjoy a picnic.

VanDusen Botanical Garden Map


VanDusen Botanical Garden


Totem Poles


“Transformation Plant” – Artist: Chris Booth, New Zealand

The Giant’s House Akaroa

The Giant’s House is a quirky sculpture, mosaic garden and gallery in Akaroa.

The Giant's House

The Giant’s House

The sculpture, mosaic and terraced garden is created by artist Josie Martin.

The Giant’s House is located at 68 Rue Balguerie, which is off Rue Lavaud (Akaroa’s main road).

Winter hours (1 May – 24 December) are 2 pm – 4 pm and summer hours (26 December – 30 April) are 12 pm – 5 pm. On cruise ship visiting days (October – December) it is open 12.30 pm – 4 pm. Adults are $20, children (2 – 15) are $10, students and NZ super gold card holders are $17. There are family pass tickets available.

The house also offers bed and breakfast accommodation.

The house was built in 1880 by the BNZ Bank Manager. It took 5 years to build the house using Kauri and Totara milled from the Banks Peninsula. The house was named ‘The Giant’s House’ after a little girl looked up at the house and said it was so big it must belong to a Giant.






Christchurch Botanic Gardens

The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is a public garden located in central Christchurch, next to Hagley Park.


The 21 hectare (52 acre) garden was formed in 1863 when an English oak was planted to celebrate the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

At the Rolleston Ave entrance, next to the Canterbury Museum, is the Armstrong Lawn, which is named after John Armstrong one of the early curators of the Gardens. Located here is the Peacock Fountain, which was imported from England and unveiled in 1911 after a bequest from local businessman John Peacock. The fountain went into storage in 1949 and was restored and moved to its current location in 1996.


Peacock Fountain

Nearby is the Curator’s Cottage, this Tudor-style house was built in 1920. It is now a Spanish style restaurant and cafe, serving lunch, dinner and tapas 7 days a week.

The iconic Avon River runs through the Botanic Gardens. Visitors can take a guided Edwardian style punting tour on the Avon River through the gardens. The 30 minute tours depart from historic Antigua Boat sheds.

Curator's Cottage

Curator’s Cottage

Woodland Bridge crossing the Avon River

Woodland Bridge crossing the Avon River

The Central Rose Garden was built in 1909. The rectangular garden is based on the rose garden owned by the Duchess of Sutherland in Herefordshire, England.

A highlight is the Garden’s six indoor conservatories, which are open daily from 10:15 am to 4 pm.

Cuningham House, which houses the tropical plant collection opened in 1923 and is named after Charles Cunningham, who bequest funds to the Gardens.

Townsend House has the cool greenhouse flowering plants collection. The original Townsend House opened in 1914, following funds from the estate of Annie Townsend. The current Townsend House opened in 1955.

Cherub statues, Townsend House

Cherub statues, Townsend House

Garrick House, which houses over 500 species of cacti is named after Henry Garrick who donated a collection of cacti to the Gardens. Next door to Garrick House is Gilpin House, which is named after Huia Gilpin, a former director of the Council’s Parks and Recreation department. Gilpin House has the orchid collection. Both Garrick and Gilpin House opened in 1960.

The Gardens’ alpine plant collection is housed in Foweraker House. This building opened in 1967 and is named after Jean Foweraker, who donated many plants to the Gardens.

The Fern House opened in 1955 houses a large collection native New Zealand ferns.

Garrick House

Garrick House

Fern House

Fern House

A more recent feature to the Gardens is the World Peace Bell, which was installed in the Gardens in 2006. There are fewer than 25 of these around the world. The bell is made from coins and medals from over 100 countries and symbolises a nation’s commitment to world peace.

World Peace Bell

World Peace Bell

The gardens are open daily from 7 am. The gates close 9 pm November to February, 8:30 pm March, 6:30 pm April to September, and 8:30 pm October. The cafe and visitor centre is open 8:30 am to 5 pm.

There are entrances on Rolleston Avenue, Riccarton Avenue and Armagh Street. There are public carparks at Riccarton Avenue and Armagh Streets with free parking up to 180 minutes. Note: The Armagh St is currently closed for repair.

Taupo Rose Gardens

The Taupo Rose Gardens are located in South Tongariro Domain adjacent to the Taupo Museum.

The Rose Garden was established in 1979 when 800 rose bushes were initially planted by the Taupo Rose Society.

Taupo Rose Garden

Taupo Rose Gardens

In December 2007 the garden was renamed The Joan Williamson Rose Gardens in honour of Joan Williamson-Orr, to recognise her 30 years of service to the Taupo District. Joan Williamson was the Mayor of Taupo Borough from 1986 to 1988 and Taupo District from 1988 to 2001. Later she served on the Lakes Health District Board from 2001 to 2010.

Visitors can walk through the gardens to a path that leads down to the Taupo Boat Harbour. There are no gates to the gardens so visitors are free to visit as they wish.

The centrepiece to the garden is a large gazebo, which is perfect to sit and relax. Within the rose gardens there are also fountains, bird baths and a sundial.





Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens is a public garden located on State Highway 1 just south of Hamilton Central.

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

The gardens are open from 7.30am. They close at 7.30pm in the summer and 5.30pm in the winter. There is access from Gate 1 or 2 on Cobham Drive. The Information Centre and Shop is open from 9am to 5pm all year round.

Alternatively you can also walk along the edge of the Waikato River from the city to Hamilton Gardens, which is what I did. After crossing Victoria Bridge I turned right and followed the path along the river.

Along the way I passed Wellington Street Beach and Hayes Paddock.

Wellington Street Beach is Hamilton’s own inland beach on the edge of the Waikato River. The small sandy beach has a jetty, which local youth jump from and there is a large grassy area suitable for picnics.

The beach has significance with local Māori. It was an important waka (canoe) landing site for earlier Māori traders. Many Māori who swim in the river at this spot today perform the ritual or tohi, where they splash the water on their face. This is done five times as a blessing to each of the Tanui Māori kings – Potatau Te Wherowhero, Tawhaio, Mahuta, Te Rata, and Koroki.

Wellington Street Beach

Wellington Street Beach

Hayes Paddock was developed as a garden suburb of state housing. Between 1939 and 1945, more than 200 houses were along seven streets, which were mainly named after former Governor-Generals. Macfarlane Street, named after James MacFarlane, is the only street not named after a Governor-General. MacFarlane was partner in the company Henderson and MacFarlane.

Hayes Paddock is named after William Hayes, who farmed the area from 1903 to 1925. The area is now a protected heritage precinct under the Council’s district plan.

Path to Hamilton Gardens

Path to Hamilton Gardens

In 1960, four acres of land was put aside for the purpose of a public garden. Those original four acres make up what is the Victorian Flower Garden and the Hammond Camellia Flower Garden. Over time the gardens expanded to what it is today.

The gardens present the theme – the ‘story of gardens’. There are five themed collections, which are Paradise, Productive, Fantasy, Cultivar and Landscape. Within each of these collections are individual themed gardens.

The Paradise Collection is my favourite. It is like you are visiting another part of the world. The Paradise Collection includes an American Modernist Garden, Chinese Scholars Garden, English Flower Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, Indian Char Bagh Garden and an Italian Renaissance Garden.


American Modernist Garden – a late 20th Century garden designed for outdoor living, in the American West Coast tradition.

Chinese Scholar's Garden

Chinese Scholar’s Garden – an interpretation of the 10th – 12th Century Sung Dynasty gardens

English Flower Garden

English Flower Garden – designed in the style of an English 19th Century Arts and Crafts garden

Japanese Garden of Contemplation

Japanese Garden of Contemplation – an example of the 14th – 16th Century Muromachi Period gardens

Indian Char Bagh Garden

Indian Char Bagh Garden – an interpretation of a 16th – 17th Century garden built for the Mughal aristocracy.

Italian Renaissance Garden

Italian Renaissance Garden – an interpretation of the 15th – 16th Century Renaissance Gardens

The Productive Collection are edible gardens. The Kitchen Garden is a traditional European productive garden with a variety of vegetables and small fruits. Students from Waikato Institute of Technology maintain this garden as part of their studies. There is also a large herb garden, that is designed around four rectangular plots. The Sustainable Backyard is a garden that is designed around sustainable gardening principles.  The Te Parapara Garden is a traditional Māori horticulture garden.

Te Parapara Garden

Te Parapara Garden

The Fantasy Collection includes a Chinoiserie Garden, which has European interpretations of Oriental design that were fashionable in late 18th and 19th Century gardens. The Tropical Garden uses plants from other climatic regions. Hamilton Gardens currently has two fantasy themed gardens under development – a Tudor Garden and Surrealist Garden.

Tropical Garden

Tropical Garden

Although it was spring when I visited it was still very much winter so there was not a lot flowers blossoming in the Cultivar Collection, which includes the Hammond Camellia Garden, New Zealand Cultivar Garden, Rhododendron Lawn, Rogers Rose Garden, Victorian Flower Garden.

The last themed collection is the Landscape Collection offers nice short nature walks. This collection includes Bussaco Woodland, Hamilton East Cemetery and Valley Walk.

Another prominent feature of Hamilton Gardens is Turtle Lake, which is nice area for picnics. Located nearby is the Hamilton Gardens Cafe, which is open 9am to 6pm in the summer and 9.30pm to 5pm in the winter.

Turtle Lake

Turtle Lake

Hamilton Gardens, which recently won International Garden of the Year at the 2014 Garden Tourism Awards, receives over 1 million visitors a year. So next time you are in the Waikato region check out what is one of New Zealand’s best gardens!