Tupare, New Zealand

Just outside New Plymouth

Tupare is a gorgeous garden and house on the outskirts of the town of New Plymouth, on the west coast of New Zealand. It was established by the Matthews family but is now owned by the Regional council and is open free to the public.

Russell Matthews bought the land in 1932 and then embarked on a 9 month honeymoon through Europe gathering ideas for the property. He built the house in the valley and created a garden around it.

Hydrangeas grow wild in New Zealand, I kept seeing them on the side of the road. There's also more colours than your standard pinks and blues, plus the flower heads are huge!

As well as a spectacular garden, the property also has a view of the volcano, Mt. Taranaki.

The property goes down to the river, the Waiwhakaiho River ( I had to do a cut and paste to get the name right!) The area by the river now is a wide open space with barbecue areas that people can come along and have picnics.

Waiwhakaiho River with the water coming off the mountain, freezing cold!

Russell Matthews collected plants for different parts of the world and he created these different 'room's' in the garden. This is the bamboo grove.

A redwood tree, impressively tall, more impressive when realising that the tree isn't that old since it was planted by the Matthews.

The greenhouse, an essential part of any English style garden!

The walled garden just off the greenhouse.

The gardener's cottage (now the back part are the toilets for the public, and the front part a small exhibition room) The original gardener's cottage was a tin shed, then a more substantial cottage was built. It eventually became redundant as the gardeners would live in their own homes and drive in to work each day.

Looking up at the house through the Japanese maples, different varieties, my favourite is the one with the bright green summer leaves, in late autumn they go a vivid red.

The Matthews had 4 children and they would earn money working in the garden, a sixpence for an hour's weeding. Their father apparently wouldn't allow any modern shortcuts and said that 'weeding was done best on one's knees'!!

Wandering around Tupare is a great way to spend some time and it's really wonderful that it's all free.