What to expect
Sprawling over 2.4 hectares, Gardens of the World brings together native and exotic plants from around the globe in magnificent parkland just 10 minutes from Richmond or 25 minutes from Nelson City. Open from dawn until dusk year round, entry is just $5 per adult and a gold coin per child. These outstanding gardens are consistently rated by Trip Advisor visitors as being one of the region’s top attractions ideal for picnics and leisurely strolls. Gardens of the World are also a highly sought after outdoor venue for parties, weddings, outdoor concerts, corporate functions and reunions.
Laid out in separate zones, the gardens of New Zealand, Australia, Africa, America, the Orient and Europe thrive in immaculately kept garden ‘rooms’, all of which have been expertly formed to replicate each region’s unique aspect and microclimate.
Behind the gardens
Current owners the Day family, fourth generation Nelsonians and keen gardeners, are quick to credit Geoff and Gillian Etherington as creators of the original gardens back in 1990. At the same time, the Day’s inspired custodianship is easy to see, with three full-time gardeners employed to help maintain the gardens in peak condition year round. Families choose the venue for celebrations throughout the year with the Day’s hosting wedding parties, outdoor concerts, and all types of functions.
Listed on the New Zealand National Garden Register, Gardens of the World annually attracts thousands of visitors who marvel at the garden’s scale and outstanding beauty as well as the rarity of many of the plants themselves. Native birds too are attracted to this oasis of nectar, shelter and food, with tūī calls ringing from the treetops, plump kererū (wood pigeon), baby fpiwakawaka in springtime, kingfishers, nesting blue herons and host of other garden birds fluttering and calling throughout the day. The tranquillity of the site is such that on most days you can sit back on one of the seats, close your eyes and hear nothing but birdsong on the breeze.
The plantings at Gardens of the World are geographically grouped according to the plants’ continent of origin. There are also formal rose gardens, an herbaceous area, herbarium, white garden, amphitheatre, water garden and rhododendron walk. Enclosed by strategically planted hedges and with the added delight of fountains, streams and a lake, this secluded hideaway is ideal for picnics, sunny mornings and relaxing afternoons. (If a fountain isn’t playing while you’re there, just look for the button that brings it to life.)
From rare African aloes, alpine plants and scented English roses – to the New Zealand native collection, exotic lilies and established fruiting edibles such as towering avocado, pecan and macadamias – Gardens of the World is a unique environment where species from around the globe can be enjoyed by all. New areas are always being added or extended and bulb plantings increase by the hundreds each year.
With nearby artists’ galleries, wineries, cafes and trails to complete your day out, Gardens of the World is a must see experience and an amazing venue for any occasion.