September Gardening Tips NZ

September Gardening Tips NZ

Spring! Hooray! You can feel it getting warmerand the days are getting longer. Your spring bulbs are flowering or well on the way. The deciduous trees have bud movement or are starting to flower.
September is arguably the most important month for gardeners in our part of the world, because it’s the start of the main growing season. So it’s particularly important to get most of your main season outdoor crops planted, to maximise the growing period. You do have to be careful in most districts with frost sensitive plants, because we can get damaging late frosts.

Tasks For This Months Gardening Tips

General September Gardening Tips

You should be finished with your planning of what you intend to do this season in your garden. Any plans you have need consider the long term 10 to 20 years, so you don’t do something now that needs to be undone in the future such as planting trees that will grow too large and/or be in the wrong location and require removal in the future. It is good idea to consult with a professional landscape designer to get advice and a plan and/or have the parts of the job that require specialised skills and knowledge done for you. We’ve probably all seen “do it yourself “jobs that are really a waste of time and money. If you want to engage a professional this month is a good time to do it before they become overloaded with the “finish before Christmas” rush that happens every year.

Snail and slug control – Their populations tend to build up over winter, when wet conditions suit them and control is more difficult. So start implementing control measures. Bear in mind that some baits are toxic to birds, hedgehogs, and dogs, that may ingest then directly or by eating dying snail or slugs. ( There are baits available that are non toxic to birds and dogs. ) So if using snail & slug baits toxic to animals it’s advisable to put them under suitable protective cover.

Ants – If you had an ant problem in the past, start putting out ant baits in places sheltered from the rain, to stop a build up, that can occur around and within your buildings.

Pruning –

All deciduous tree pruning should have been finished by now.

Planting –

Perennials – Finish planting your trees, shrubs an other perennials as soon as possible, so they make the most of the growing season to spread their roots out, before the dry weather starts to stress them.

Food Gardening


Clear out anything that is going to seed unless you’re want to keep the seed. You can get issues with cross pollination of compatible varieties, with harvesting your own seeds. I had both curly leaf and Italian flat leaf parsley, that I let self seed, and now I have a variety of parsley that has narrow flat leaves that I consider inferior, and I’m having to weed out.

If you want to test your soil Ph, it’s a good time to do it now. Then if any lime is needed it can be applied before the main planting time. Prepare your vege beds by spreading compost and fertiliser over the surface. I prefer organic fertilisers such as animal manures. Some people prefer using no dig vege gardening methods. I prefer to dig, so the compost and fertiliser is worked into the main root zone. I’ve also found if you have trees in the vicinity their roots will often take over your vege garden, so chopping through them with your spade, while their small is best.

Now you’ve got the soil sorted plant your main season vegetable crops. If you are in a frost prone area, you may want to consider using a plant covering such as a cloche. Or even just using a clear plastic container with a ventilation opening over your frost sensitive plants, that can be removed when danger of frost has gone.

I often start my vege planting season with punnets of small seedlings, because it starts you two to three weeks ahead of sowing seeds. Then later make successive sowings of seeds to replace harvested crops, there by giving you a continuous harvest over the growing season. You may want to make sucesive sowing at between two to four week intervals depending on your requirements. Generally I find direct sown seeds give you the strongest plants because there’s no transplanting damage done. The main mistake I’ve noticed with seed sowing is to sow seeds too close together, resulting in more labour required to thin out later. So when sowing bear in mind the size of the mature plant and allow sufficient space, while allowing for some seeds not germinating.

Veges to plant or sow –

Beans (both climbing and dwarf), beetroot, cabbage, cape gooseberry, capsicum, carrots, celery, chicory, Chinese cabbage, choko, cress, eggplant, endive, kohl rabi, leeks, lettuce, peas, marrows, melon, mustard, spring onions, parsnip, potato tubers, radish, rhubarb (both seed or crowns), salsify, silver beet, squash, spinach, tomato, swede, turnip.


Frost resistant herbs can be in warm districts. Chives, chervil, parsley, rocket, dill.

Fruit Trees

Pip and Stone Fruit –

Pruning should be finished.

Apply a fungicide spray of copper oxychloride or Bordeaux stone and pip fruit trees.

Grafting – If you want to graft your pip or stone fruit trees, take scion wood, generally small twigs up to pencil thickness. Wrap them in plastic and store them in the fridge until late September- early October when they can be grafted onto the rootstock, or larger trees.

Citrus –

Most citrus are reaching maturity and ready for harvesting when little or no green is visible on the skin. Although Tangelos increase sweetness if left a bit longer.

It’s best not to leave the fruit on the tree too long, as the tree will take the moisture back out of the fruit leaving it tasting dry. Leaving the citrus fruit on too long also reduces flowering and results in a lighter crop next season.

Fejoa trees can be pruned to open them up.

Berry fruits –

Time to fertilise your berry fruits. Start thinking how you will protect the fruit from the birds.

Raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, and loganberries. – Pruning should be finished by now.

Goose berries and Blackcurrants– Pruning should be finished by now.

Strawberries – Plant them now and keep in mind the berries will need protection from birds and snails and slugs. The bird protection usually consists of netting held in place by a frame.


Green Houses/Glass house Gardening Tips –

Remove any dead matter, weed and apply compost, and dig in if needed. Plant tomatoes for an early season crop. Sow seeds in containers for transplanting outdoors later if you want a head start on the growing season.

Pot and Container Grown Plant Gardening Tips

Remove dead leaves and dust with a damp cloth or spray. Re-pot in to a larger pot with fresh potting mix if they appear to be root bound. Give them some slow release fertiliser and kill any insects on them.

Ornamental Gardening Tips

Rose Gardening Tips NZ

Spray with a combination of copper oxychloride and spraying oil. Mulch with compost, around root zone, but keep it off the crown.


Remove weeds and apply snail and slug control measures to reduce any winter population build up.

Sow seeds of: alyssum, amaranthus, aster, balsam, bedding begonia, Californian poppy, carnation, celosia, chrysanthemum, Cleome, cosmos, dahlia (seed), delphinium, dianthus, everlasting daisy, galardia, gazania, geranium, gerbera, gloxinia, gypsophila, honesty, impatiens, marigold, mignonette nastutium, nemesia, marigold, petunia, phlox, rudbeckia, salvia, snapdragon, spider flower, statice, straw flower, sunflower, Swan River daisy, verbena, viscaria, and zinnia.

Plant seedlings of: alyssum, aquilegia, canterbury bells, carnations, cornflower, cosmos, cineraria, delphinium, pansies, polyanthus, poppy, gypsophila, forget-me not, hollyhock, stock, and viola .

Lift and divide and replant clumps of perennials.

Plant dahlia and begonia tubers.

Trees and Shrub Gardening Tips NZ

Plant any new trees and shrubs now before the growing season really gets going. Fertilise existing trees and shrubs now.

Lawn Gardening Tips NZ

Mow regularly preferably fortnightly, to keep a dense swath of grass. Don’t cut too low. The grass should be cut to between 20 to 25 mm. If you’ve got a lot of weeds, now is a good time to eradicate them, and if needed sow new grass seed to fill any empty patches.


Heaps that consist of predominantly unrecognisable matter are ready to be spread around planted areas as a mulch, or for digging in when soil conditions are dry enough. Make new compost heaps by incorporating grass clippings, dead leaves, vegetable scraps with a sprinkling of lime and animal manure etc. Turn and mix existing compost heaps that haven’t decomposed sufficiently.


Magnificent spring cherry blossom

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Go To August New Zealand Gardening Calendar From September Gardening Tips

Go To Gardening NZ Home From September Gardening Tips NZ

August New Zealand Gardening Calendar

August New Zealand Gardening Calendar

The days are getting noticeably longer, and slightly warmer. Spring bulbs are flowering or close to it.

Tasks For This Months

General For August Gardening Calendar

It’s the start of the busiest season for gardeners, so you need to make the most of any good weather breaks to get outside to garden. You need to finalise any plans you’re making and get ready to implement them.


Finish all your pruning as soon as possible.


Finish planting all trees and shrubs, so they will get the full spring period to grow and get established before any dry spells.

If you wanting to plant any deciduous trees, you need to get onto it as soon as possible, before the nursery stocks are sold out. Sometimes there are sales of deciduous trees at this time of year, but it tends to the left over stock.

Food Gardening


Keep harvesting anything that looks decent, and clear out all the spent plants and weeds. It’s a good time to check your soil Ph , to determine if you need to add any lime. You can buy soil test kits at most good garden centres. Soils have a tendency to become acidic over time. Lime reduces acidity. For most veges a soil Ph of about 6.5 is recommended.

Spread a layer of compost over your vegetable beds, and if you’re the digging type, then dig it in.

Start making successive planting and/or seed sowings of hardy veges, bearing in mind you don’t want a large number of any one crop all maturing at the same time. This is avoided by sowing and planting at between two to four week intervals.

In cold districts you may need to sow your seeds under shelter, in containers. Some areas may need an artificial heat source.

Veges to sow –

Warm districts – cabbage, celery, lettuce, onions,spring onion, silverbeet, spinach, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, peas and radish.

Cold districts – parsnips, turnips, swedes, peas and broad beans.

Plant –

Asparagus crowns.

Early potatoes after leaving them in the sun for 7-10 days to get the buds to start sprouting.

Rhubarb – Either sow seeds or buy small plants, or divide large existing plants.

Tomatoes in warm districts in greenhouses.



Frost resistant herbs can be in warm districts. Parsley, rocket, dill.


Fruit Trees

Pip and Stone Fruit –

For August New Zealand Gardening Calendar finish pruning deciduous trees as soon as possible. Burn or dispose of prunings away from your property as rotting branches can harbour and spread fungus diseases, such as silver leaf, that can kill your stone fruit trees.

Apply a fungicide spray of copper oxychloride or Bordeaux to stone and pip fruit trees.

Grafting- If you want to graft your pip or stone fruit trees, take scion wood, generally small twigs up to pencil thickness. Wrap them in plastic and store them in the fridge until late September- early October when they can be grafted onto the rootstock, or larger trees.

Citrus –

Most citrus are reaching maturity and ready for harvesting when little or no green is visible on the skin. Although Tangelos increase sweetness if left a bit longer.

It’s best not to leave the fruit on the tree too long, as the tree will take the moisture back out of the fruit leaving it tasting dry. Leaving the citrus fruit on too long also reduces flowering and results in a lighter crop next season.

Fejoa trees can be pruned to open them up.

Kiwi fruit needs to be pruned as soon as possible, because they can weep sap when pruned too late.


Berry fruits –

Raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, and loganberries. – Finish pruning and remove old spent canes and burn or dispose off site.

Goose berries and Blackcurrants- Finish pruning.

Strawberries, plant them soon and keep in mind the berries will need protection from birds and snails and slugs.


Green Houses/Glass houses

For August New Zealand Gardening Calendar remove any dead matter, weed and apply compost, and dig in if preferred. Plant tomatoes for an early season crop. Sow seeds in containers for transplanting outdoors later if you want a head start on the growing season. Apply snail and slug control measures.

Pot and Container Grown Plants

Remove dead leaves and dust with a damp cloth or spray. Re-pot in to a larger pot with fresh potting mix if they appear to be root bound.

Give them some slow release fertiliser, and kill any insects on them.


Ornamental Garden


Rose pruning must be finished for August New Zealand Gardening Calendar. Spray with a combination of copper oxychloride and spraying oil.

Mulch with compost, around root zone, but keep it off the crown.



For August New Zealand Gardening Calendar remove weeds and apply snail and slug control measures to educe any winter population build up.

Sow seeds of: alyssum, begonia, californian poppy, carnation, celosia, chrysanthemum, cosmos, dahlia, delphinium, dianthus, gypsophila, honesty, nemesia, marigold, pansy, petunia, phlox, portulaca, salvia, snapdragon, sunflower, verbena, viola, viscaria, and zinnia,.

Plant seedlings of: alyssum, aquilegia, canterbury bells, carnations, cornflower, cosmos, cineraria, delphinium, pansies, polyanthus, poppy, gypsophila, forget-me not, hollyhock, stock, and viola, .

Lift and divide and replant clumps of perennials.

Plant dahlia and begonia tubers.

Trees and Shrubs

For August New Zealand Gardening Calendar Prune existing trees and shrubs For August Gardening Calendar.

Plant any new trees and shrubs now before the growing season really gets going.



For August New Zealand Gardening Calendar mow when not too wet, or you get permanent mower wheels tracks around the area.


Compost For August New Zealand Gardening Calendar

For August New Zealand Gardening Calendar make new compost heaps by incorporating dead leaves, grass clippings, vegetable scraps with a sprinkling of lime and animal manure etc. Turn and mix existing compost heaps that haven’t decomposed sufficiently. Heaps that consist of predominantly unrecognisable matter are ready to be spread around planted areas as a mulch, or in preparation for digging in when soil conditions are dry enough.

Pest and predator control

Check and replenish any rodent baits you may have out. Making sure no dogs, or hedgehogs can get to it by securing the bait within a bait station. Rats often drag the bait to a location they feel is safe.

If you had an ant problem in the past, start putting out ant baits in places sheltered from the rain, to stop a build up, that can occur within or adjacent to your buildings.

new zealand gardening calendar

This is a welcome sight in any garden!

Consider planting some native trees to attract birds to your garden. Here’s a list to help you choose.

Go To Gardening NZ Home Page From August New Zealand Gardening Calendar.

Best gardens to visit in Auckland

Here’s a list of the best gardens to visit in Auckland.

Please note some of the best gardens to visit in Auckland are private, so an appointment may be necessary before visiting. There may also be a charge to visit these private Auckland gardens.

Auckland gardens open to visitors

Auckland Botanic Gardens are a “must visit” for gardening enthusiasts.

Auckland Botanic Gardens.

General information:
Open. Dawn – dusk, all year.
This is in the top 5 best gardens to visit in Auckland. They are publicly owned by the Auckland Regional Authority.
Over 65 hectares including 10 hectares of native forest – an important remnant in the Ak area.
It has a capacity for capacity for large group sizes. Recommended minimum visit time of 3 hours. Best to visit in Summer, Autumn, Spring.

Started in 1973 on gently sloping farmland. Development is continuing with new features being added. The area has a wide variety of plant collections, from temperate to sub-tropical regions in their own separate areas.
The native plant collections concentrate on plants naturally occurring in the northern parts of New Zealand, including an area with threatened and near extinct plants. The South African area is fascinating with protea, erica, bulbs and succulents.
There is also a substantial collection of succulents and cacti in the rock area, where a large Aloe barbarae (syn.bainsesii) is a feature.
Other collections in these Auckland gardens include the salvia, camellia, magnolia and rose families while the herb and the edible area are always popular with visitors.
Two notable collections are – palms, including the native nikau. While descendants of plants that once lived in the ancient southern continent of Gondwana, may be seen, including cycads and related sub-tropical plants that are becoming established in the nearby Gondwana Arboretum.
There are also: a coastal, alpine , cottage, edible, formal, Herb , and Rose gardens. Herbaceous borders, sculpture, water features, and wetland.

Facilities and Amenities:
It best to enter at the Hill Road entrance, where there following are available: A brochure/map at the Information Centre, bus/coach & car parking, Cafe near entrance, plant Sales, seating , toilets , tour guide(s) , wheelchair access. Children are welcome, and picnics are allowed.

102 Hill Road
South Ak.

Auckland Domain Wintergardens.

Auckland gardens to visit

The Auckland Domain Winter gardens are a year round attraction with shelter from the rain in the glass house.


General information:
Publicly owned by the Ak City Council.
Opening Hours: 1 April – 31 October Monday to Sunday (9am – 4.30pm) 1 November – 31 March Monday to Saturday (9am – 5.30pm) and Sunday (9am – 7.30pm)
Capacity for group sizes 20 plus.
Recommended visit of 1 hour or less.
Best to visit in Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring.

Description: One of the top 5 best gardens to visit in Auckland.
It was designed in the 1920s in the style of the famous English partnership of Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jeckyll.
Displays an interesting seasonal succession of in each of the two barrel vaulted Victorian style glass houses which face out on to an large paved courtyard and sunken pool water feature. One house has heating and exhibits tropical and heat loving plants. While the other displays temperate plants in season.
Pergolas festooned with showy climbers, link the two structures framing the formal design.
A collection of native New Zealand ferns grow in a sunken area at the side between the two glasshouses.

Facilities and amenities available:
Brochure/map , bus/coach & car parking, seating, toilets,Cafe nearby. Children welcome, picnics allowed, wheelchair access.

20 Park Road
Ak City Region


General information:
Privately owned
Larger than 10 acres, ( 4 hectares ).
Has a capacity for group sizes greater than 20.
Appointments are required.
Recommended 2 hours to visit.
Best to visit in Summer, Autumn, Spring.

Opening Hours All year by appointment mon- fri. Closed Sun.

One of the top 5 best gardens to visit in Auckland. More than 40 years from a bare site, this Auckland garden is close to maturity.
Situated in gently sloping land east of Ak city.
It is has sweeping lawns and informal, but detailed plantings with ponds and waterways.
A feature is a the use of colour in the ‘Lurid Border’, where ‘hot’ colours are used to great effect and else where old roses, clematis and perennials provide a romantic style.
The owner has successfully managed to have some plant providing horticultural interest every week of the year. The almost subtropical climate allows exotic plants such as Petrea, Alocasia, Bromeliads, Vireya Rhododendrons and Ficus dammaropsis from New Guinea to proliferate.
Trees and shrubs provide a backdrop for roses, perennials, bulbs and grasses while plants native of New Zealand are prominent.
A wild flower meadow is at its best in early summer.
Below the garden there is a large wetland area connecting the garden to the waters of the Hauraki Gulf.
Also herbaceous borders, a plant nursery, coastal, informal, pergola, rose, scented, water, and woodland, wetland, and water features.

Facilities and amenities:
A brochure/map, bus/coach, and car parking, seating ,toilets, tour guide(s), plant sales, picnics allowed.

125 Potts Rd
Whitford5 km North East of Whitford

Directions: From Whitford travel 2.5 k. turn left into Clifton Road, 1.5 k. veer left into Potts Road, Ayrlies Garden is 1.5 km on the right.

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail.

General information:
An easy one-hour trip from Ak City.
The Trail is open everyday.

Children must be supervised by one adult per two children.
Trail Passes include a trail map which lists the works on display.

Guide dogs are permitted, however no pets are allowed as there is livestock and abundant bird life.

Description :
The Brick Bay Sculpture Trail near Snell’s Beach, displays contemporary sculpture by established and emerging artists. Set in a rural background with Brick Bay Vineyard, native bush, pasture and a pond.
A 2km sculpture trail takes you around a large pond, through native bush with a changing exhibition of 25 to 30 works of sculpture carefully positioned. It can be easily traversed in less than an hour by most people. All sculptures are for sale so exhibits change as works are sold.
The structural centre piece of this attraction is the Glass House. It houses a tastefully decorated cafe with food and Brick Bay Wines available to enjoy while you savor the relaxing environment. It also contains a resource centre where you can browse through art publication and the Brick Bay Sculpture archive.
The plan is that the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail will attract visitors on their way to or from the other attractions already in the area such as the Matakana Village Farmers Market, and other sculpture projects, art galleries and vineyard tasting establishments.

Facilities and amenities:
Bus/coach, and car parking, seating ,toilets,cafe.

Location & contact:
Brick Bay Sculpture Trail
Arabella Lane (off Mahurangi East Road)
RD2 Warkworth
Take SH1 north from Auckland to Warkworth. Turn right at the second set of traffic lights, then take the second turn right Marked Sandspit/Snells Beach. After you see a ‘Welcome to Snells Beach’ sign, in front of a picturesque view out to sea. There is a brown sign on the left saying Brick Bay Winery and Sculpture Trail. Turn left into Arabella Lane.Then turn left at the sign saying ‘Brick Bay Wines and Sculpture Trail’.

Cornwall Park & One Tree Hill Domain.

General information:
Opening Hours All year – dawn to dusk.The park is open 7.00 am to dusk every day.
Closing times change according to the seasonal changes to daylight saving.
Check for updates.
Signs at the various gates in the park display the closing time.
Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill Domain is publicly owned and managed for the recreation and enjoyment of all visitors, with capacity for group sizes of 20 plus.
Recommended visit of 3 hours.
Best to visit in Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring.

Cornwall Park surrounds One Tree Hill a volcanic cone that was occupied by a Maori fortification (pa) in the early 1700’s and probably earlier than that, features of which can still be seen. It is accessible either from Greenlane Rd, Manukau Rd or Campbell Rd, in the suburbs of Auckland.
The Park contains many volcanic and archaeological features that can be seen today.
The Park’s donor, Sir John Logan Campbell, is buried on the summit alongside the obelisk.
The Park is known for its design that incorporates open grasslands grazed by sheep and cattle, specimen trees line many roads, magnificent mature trees which enhance the grassy slopes below the cone.
It also has a range of passive recreational facilities, with many interesting geological and archaeological features.The park’s donor, Sir John Logan Campbell, is buried on the summit beside the obelisk.

Facilities and amenities available:
Children welcome, wheelchair access, dogs welcome (on leash).
Lunches available and morning/afternoon refreshments available at the restaurant or kiosk between the Greenlane entrance and the One Tree Hill lookout.
Children’s play area near the Stardome at the Manukau road entrance.
The garden features an arboretum, bedding displays, glasshouse, cottage garden, fern garden, formal, Plant nursery, informal, native plants, and water feature.

Location & contact:
Auckland City.

Directions: Leave the motorway at Greenlane. Follow Greenlane Road to main entrance on left after two sets of traffic lights.

While at the One Tree Hill Domain consider visiting the Stardome Observatory and planetarium that is located in the One Tree Hill Domain near the Manukau Road entrance.
They have many public sessions during the day and evening. Entry charges apply.
For further information visit


General information:
Hours Winter Hours 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – 1st May-31st August
Summer Hours: 9:00 am -4:30 pm – 1st September-30th April
A publicly owned property with capacity for group sizes of 20 plus.
Recommended visit of 2 hours.
Best to visit in spring, summer, autumn.

Description: This is among the best gardens to visit in Auckland because it shows how a quarry can be re-rehabilitated.
It’s about five acres in size and is only a few minutes drive from downtown Ak.It is built in a abandoned scoria quarry, that had become overgrown. In 1964 a group of volunteers began to transform the site into a lush garden of splendor and interest. It features one of the largest collections of camellias in the Southern Hemisphere, also Hibiscus, Bromeliad, palms,conifers and deciduous trees – maples, magnolias and cherries.Azalea and Rhododendron including Vireya are also planted and some flowers can be found in most of the year.
Between the shrubs a range of low growing perennials cover the ground including, – winter roses, Hostas, ferns, Clivia and Huechera. Specimens of native trees and shrubs are located throughout. Also sculpture and water featuresare present.The landforms enhance the appeal of this oasis. Around the edge of the former quarry, in places the paths become steeper and climb to the highest point. Where views over the city and to the Hauraki Gulf can be enjoyed.

Facilities and amenities available:
Car/bus/coach parking is available on the adjacent road, seating, toilets, tour guide(s), picnics allowed, brochure/map available, children welcome, conference facilities, dogs welcome (on leash), plant sales, product sales, wheelchair access. Devonshire teas, with freshly-baked scones, strawberry jam and cream, plus a delectable variety of club sandwiches, paninis, delicious quiches, and home-made pies, plus an assortment of salads, cakes and pastries, including a selection of gluten-free foods are available all year at the on site cafe.

Location & contact:
24 Omana Avenue
Auckland City

Fernglen Native Plant Garden.

General information:
Opening Hours Dawn – dusk, all year round.
This best garden to visit in Auckland are publicly owned with a capacity for group sizes 20 plus.
Recommended visit of 2 hours.
Best to visit in spring, summer, autumn.

Fernglen, is located in the North Shore’s suburbs,and is about 4 hectares of native bush.
Purchased Frank Fisher in July 1888.The property was a mix of native bush and scrub land. Some scrub land was cleared for growing market crops and grazing, and the native bush area was inter planted with pohutukawa, rimu and kahikatea in the early 1920s.
Frank Fisher was a skilled propagator and passed on his knowledge to his son Bill.
Bill Fisher met Muriel and were married in 1952, and Muriel came to live at Fernglen.
The Fishers nurtured the bush, and added many species to it.Bill’s first love was ferns, while Muriels was alpines and hebes. She had an idea of creating a plant museum like Otari, so in the late 1950’s they began bringing scoria, rocks, and peat onto the property.
They exchanged information and plant material with other enthusiasts, obtaining many specimens from Otari, and swapped northern species for southern species. Many days were spent on expeditions to collect stock for their collection.
Muriel and Bill started a nursery at Fernglen that remained viable until 1987 when Bill died. Muriel then found the maintenance too much for her so, partially gifted the property to the former Birkenhead City Council in 1989 (now the North Shore City Council). It was opened to the public on 28 September 1991.
There are many superb specimens to be seen in the reserve such as a 300 year old rimu, a wonderful mass of the NZ begonia ( Elatostema) and Prince of Wales ferns (Leptopteris superba). There is also a number of alpines plants rarely seen, so far north – Aciphylla,Celmisia, NZ edelweiss, Ourisia, Raoulia and ten different species of the unusual grass tree, the Dracophyllum genus.The off shore island collections are interesting including plants rare in the wild such as Elengamita, Xeronema, Tecomanthe and Cordyline kaspar.

Facilities and amenities:
Car/bus/coach parking is available on the adjacent road. Brochure/map seating, toilets, available, children welcome.
There may be someone living in the house on site.

Location & contact:
36 Kauri Road
North Shore City.

Government House.

General information:
More than 5 hectares in size. This Auckland garden is publicly owned by the NZ Government.
With a capacity for group sizes of 20 plus.
Appointment required.
Recommended visit of 2 hours.
Best to visit in Spring, summer.
Opening Hours – By appointment.

Description: This is one of the best gardens to visit in Auckland because of it’s historic heritage.
The garden at Government House, is a national treasure that includes historic, native bush, fern, Woodland, formal, and informal plantings.
This planting has survived from an era when many large estates had landscaped grounds.
Most centrally located properties of this size, have either been subdivided, or become public parks.
Some of the trees date from the 1870s, making them among the oldest in the country.
The garden retains the original lava outcrops.
The house was built in 1921 by Sir Frank and Lady Mappin, who spent 45 years developing the garden into what can be seen today.
The Mappins generously gifted the house and grounds to the crown in 1966 for use as a vice-regal residence.
Maintenance and development of the property is under the direction of as management plan and a garden committee.
Management goals are to conserve its historical, botanical and design values.

Facilities and amenities:
Brochure/map, car parking on adjacent Road.
Toilets,tour guide(s), wheelchair access, picnics allowed.
It’s best to park on Savannah Road, which is off Omana Ave, off Mountain Road. Between Eden Garden and Government House Garden, where there is a car park. Then you can visit both Eden and Government gardens, within walking distance.

119 Mountain Road
Ak City.


General information: Highwic is one of three house museums owned and operated by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in Ak.
Highwic also offers a function venue with a capacity for group sizes fo 20 plus.
The 1.1 hectare property has a splendidly preserved ‘Carpenter Gothic’-style building.
Opening Hours Open Wednesday to Sunday (except Christmas Day & Good Friday) 10.30 am to 12.00 noon and 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm

Recommended visit of 1 hour or less.
Best to visit in spring, summer, & autumn.

The trees around Highwic date from the 1860’s and provide screening from outside providing an oasis from busy nearby activity. Many are nearly as old as the house, including pines under planted with clivias. Norfolk pines tower over the croquet lawn and front entrance.
Mature camellias border the pathway down the drive, with an ivy and South African bulb under planting.
The landscape design was created by Andrew Jackson Downing, an American architect and landscape designer.
The original Victorian garden beds are still visible in a hedged, circular area with narrow curving pathways. An Echevaria edged border outlines the former tennis court.There is also a rose collection.
Nearby is the Billiard room where groups can pre booked to enjoy morning or afternoon tea. A fern house features many varieties of indigenous ferns.

Facilities and amenities :
Brochure/map , bus/coach car parking, seating, toilets, tour guide(s) available, picnics allowed,children welcome,conference facilities, dogs welcome if on a leash, wheelchair access.

Location & contact:
40 Gillies Avenue
Ak City.
Highwic is a short walk up Mortimer Pass from bus stops outside the 227 shopping complex in Newmarket and a ten minute walk from the Newmarket train Station. Take a Link Bus from the CBD, or a train from Britomart to Newmarket.
Highwic has two entrances. The recommended vehicle entry is from Mortimer Pass which runs one way from Gillies Ave down to Broadway, Newmarket.
The Gillies Ave entrance is directly opposite the Gillies Ave motorway off ramp.

Joy Plants.

General information:
More than 5 hectares of private property with a capacity for group sizes of 20 plus.
Appointments required.
Recommended visit of 2 hours.

Opening Hours 9 am – 4.30 pm Mon – Fri. 9 a.m. – 12.00 on saturdays by appointment. Closed Sundays and all public holidays.
Large groups must book in advance for a garden tour.
Best to visit in spring, but there is something of interest to see in summer and autumn, and winter.

Description: This is one of the best gardens to visit in Auckland because it’s a working nursery where you can see what an  ethusastic familly can achieve. Joy Plants is an establishing working garden developing under an grove of native trees – totara, puriri and titoki. A large variety of, Sun and shade tolerant, rare and unusual plants,from all corners of the world thrive with the Hatch families’ attention. They have planted many rare native trees here to protect those endangered in the wild. As plant breeders they have specialized in many genera both native and exotic. Specialising in South African flora Their breeding program has resulted in an increasing colour range of Clivias, and Helelbores.
The property includes informal herbaceous borders, native bush, water features, water and Woodland gardens.
The way to Joy Plants Garden lies through the nursery, where many plants are available for sale.

Facilities and amenities:
Bus/Coach, car parking,seating, toilets, tour guide available, plant nursery.

Location & contact:
78 Jericho Road

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial.

General information:
Publicly owned and managed by Auckland City Council.
Bastion Point is open from 6.30am-9pm daily.
The car park is closed after dark.
Entrance fee- None
No dogs allowed.

Description: this is one of the best gardens to visit in Auckland because of it’s promiant location and panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf.
A memorial to the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand and the founder of the Welfare State, it offers panoramic views and is adjacent to the Ngati Whatua papakainga. It includes a memorial obelisk that is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a reflective pool with hedges and flower-beds, drinking fountain, and public toilets.The gardens are formal in style, with extensive plantings, and have fine views to Rangitoto Island.As well as some fine pohutukawa trees.

19 Hapimana Street (next to Bastion Point), Orakei, Auckland
The Michael Joseph Savage Memorial is located above the Tamaki Drive.
Take Hapimana Street, off Tamaki Drive between Orakei Wharf and Mission Bay.
Michael Joseph Savage Memorial can also be accessed via a walkway from the western end of Mission Bay.

Mincher garden.

General information:
A privately owned property of about 5 hectares, with capacity for group sizes of 20 plus.
Appointments required.
Recommended visit of 2 hours.
Best to visit in spring, summer, autumn.

Opening Hours All year by appointment
Lunches and morning/afternoon teas are available by prior arrangement for groups of ten or more people.

Description: This is one of the best gardens to visit in Auckland because of the range of features it has.
A Georgian style home is the centrepiece of this rural property, with the remnants of an old orchard. Behind the house is the formal area with twin herbaceous borders. On one side is a cottage garden and path that leads to a ‘kissing gate’, under weeping willows. Beyond there is four hectares of native walkways, large grassed areas. Also includes plantings of cherries, Rhododendron, Camellia and Acer, with a traditional walled kitchen garden, gardener’s cottage and Victorian like glasshouses.
A backdrop of Northland podocarp bush adds quality to Mincher. The stream is a feature throughout with platforms dotted along the northern boundary to allow viewing of the water and bush beyond.
Includes formal, informal, wetland, woodland, and water plantings.

Facilities and amenities:
Brochure/map , bus/coach and car parking, seating, toilets,tour guide(s), wheelchair access, plants and products for sale.

338 Coatesville-Riverhead Highway
Coatesville, Albany
20 km North of Auckland City.
Take SH 1 north, or from north take SH 1 south towards Ak, turn off at the Otea Valley Rd/Nth Harbour Stadium (SH29) exit.
Turn right at lights, go through Albany village , then 3km north of Albany near the top of the hill, turn left after petrol station, onto Highway 28. Mincher is 3.4 km along the Coatesville-Riverhead Highway on the right.

Nancy Steen Rose Garden.

General information:
Publicly owned and managed by the Ak City Council.
Open- Daily during daylight hours
Entrance fee- None.
The garden is at it’s best in early summer.

Adjacent to the Parnell Rose Garden, the Nancy Steen Rose Garden is a tribute to Mrs Nancy Steen who fostered the preservation and cultivation of heritage and species roses. The garden has Over 200 of the heritage and species roses she collected over her life, including some quite uncommon varieties.
Most classes of old rose varieties are present, giving those interested in old roses, a chance to see different varieties of heritage roses growing and to assess them.
The approach to the area is along a footpath edged with rengarenga lilies, (Arthropodium cirratum) that flower over the same period as the roses.
The garden has a formal style with a central path leading under a rose covered arch into a sheltered, circular seating area. This area are planted with roses and perennials in soft colours.The plantings includes many of Mrs Steen’s favourite shrubs and perennials that grew in her own garden. The mixing of roses with shrubs, perennials and bulbs creates a country garden style.

Gladstone Rd, Parnell, Auckland.

Parnell Rose garden.

General information:
Publicly owned and managed by the Auckland City Council.Open- Daily during daylight hours.
Entrance fee- None.
The rose bushes will be at their best from late spring to early autumn.

This one of the best gardens to visit in Auckland because of the collection of roses, which are at their best in November. It has a magnificent display of over 4500 mainly modern rose bushes.Laid out in formal beds within the Dove-Myer Robinson Park. The Rose Gardens are enhanced by many mature trees.The Dove-Myer Robinson Park has some wonderful old pohutukawa next to the Nancy Steen Rose Garden).

85 Gladstone Road,Parnell.

Totara Waters Subtropical.

General information:
A privately owned 2 acre property, with capacity for group sizes of 20 plus.
Recommended visit of 1 hour or less.
Best to visit in summer, autumn, winter, spring.

Morning/Afternoon Teas by arrangement.
B&B accommodation in separate fully self contained 1 bedroom flat.
Opening Hours 1st Friday & Saturday of month or by appointment.

Peter and Jocelyn Coyle specialise in growing bromeliads. This Auckland garden, has an informal design and is almost one hectare in size.It is located on the upper Waitemata Harbour, with displays of many rare and collectable plants.
Development of an almost bare site began in 1999 with truck loads of rocks and boulders were delivered from a local quarry. The large sub-tropical plant collection includes specimens from many different genera – Bromeliads , Cycads, Beaucanea, Yuccas, Aloe, Agave, Strelitzia, Dracaena, succulents, cacti and scores of palms. These are planted in beds and on sweeping lawns in a tropical island style. There is also a collection of bonsai, some grown from seed sown 40 years ago.
A feature at Totara Waters are ornaments – old chimney pots and large crucibles as well, sculpture and garden art.
A unique feature is the rusting wreck of HMNZS Hawera, that was abandoned in the early 1950s.

Facilities and amenities available:
Accommodation available in a private one bedroom fully furnished self contained unit with a queen size bed, Sky TV,continental breakfast, and private deck.
Brochure/map available, bus/coach and car parking, seating, toilets, tourguide(s), children welcome, wheelchair access, morning/afternoon teas by arrangement.
Crafts and plant sales.(Landscape & Retail). Including Bromeliads – Alcantarea – imperialis rubra, ‘Vinicolor’, ‘Imperialis Queen’.Neoregelias, ‘Hieroglyphica’, Platynema, ‘Varigata Hybrids’, ‘Red Chestnut’, ‘Dark Knight’, ‘Purple Knight’, ‘Tasman Series’, ‘Pacific Ruby’, ‘Kiwi Sunset’, ‘Kiwi Cream’, ‘Kiwi Dusk’, ‘Nova Queen’, ‘Afterglow’, ‘Philip Foster Red’.Tillandsia,Vrieseas -fosteriana rubra, Aechmea fasciata.

Location & contact:
89 Totara Road
West Auckland.

Twin Lakes garden.

General information:

Opening Hours 9.30am – 4.30pm, all year round.
No children or dogs allowed.
These Auckland gardens are privately owned property with capacity for group sizes of 20 plus.
Appointments required.
Recommended visit of 2 hours.
Best to visit in spring, summer & autumn.

Description: This is one of the best gardens to visit in Auckland, because it shows what private owners can achieve.
Twin Lakes is a large country property with a central feature of a two hectare lake and a prominent house and terraces with a small walkway that leads across to an attractive pavilion.The lakes create an impressive mirrored effect, enhanced by the numerous water birds.
Easy walking and wheelchair access is has been made with a wide grassed area around the main lake.
An array of trees, shrubs, perennials, and bog plants can be observed in mixed beds.
A special feature of this Auckland garden is a fascinating range of exotic birds both in cages and free flying, including Ostrich and Macaw.

Facilities and amenities:
Brochure/map , bus/coach car parking, seating, toilets, tour guide(s) available, picnics allowed,wheelchair access.Lunches and refreshments are available for groups of ten or more by prior arrangement.

83 Sunnyside Road
North Shore City.

From Auckland city drive over the Harbour Bridge north on the motorway to Albany.
Drive through Albany and up the hill (which is now SH17).
At the top of the hill, just past the BP petrol station, turn left into Coatesville-Riverhead Highway (SH28).
Drive 3km down this road to the Coatesville Store (on the right). Sunnyside Road is the next road on the right (about200 metres past the store).
Twin Lakes is number 83, which is on the left.

West Lynn Garden.

General information:
Open 10-4pm daily.
Bookings essential for groups of 10 or more.
The entry fee to this garden, includes visiting the butterfly house.

The garden was established by the Eden Garden Society in 1981 and developed in similar way as Eden Garden by hardworking volunteers.
These Auckland gardens were opened to the public in November 1983.In February 1992 the West Lynn Garden Society was formed and a committee of West Ak volunteers was elected. These Auckland gardens feature a butterfly house, from December through to April hundreds of Monarch buterflies can be seen, developing on swan plants, with lots of eggs, chrysalis and caterpillars.School parties, family groups and individuals are welcome to come and see the butterflies.
You can become a member or volunteer and assist in the continued growth.

Location & contact:
West Lynn Garden Society Inc.
73 Parker Avenue
New Lynn
Waitakere City

Wrights Watergardens.

General information:
A privately owned 5 acre property with capacity for group sizes 20 plus.
Recommended visit of 2 hours.
Best to visit in spring, summer,& autumn.

Opening Hours 10 am – 4.30 pm. 1st Sept – Mothers Day incl.

Description : Wrights Watergardens have been built around the Mauku Waterfall and stream that were an abandoned rock quarry. These Auckland gardens have many levels with pathways,bridges and ponds present many surprises. It is unusual due to a large rock face with abundant water.
More than eighty varieties of waterlilies and exotic lotus flower spread over the ponds during the summer. The plantings include Japanese Iris, Thalia, Pontederia and Hibiscus, bulbs, perennials, trees and annuals. The sun drenched north facing rock wall is ideal for cactus, succulents, Aloe and tropical plants. The shady south facing side provides a good micro climate for orchids, ferns, palms etc. The path at the bottom of the water fall takes you to the shade garden. On a hot day there is quite a contrast of conditions from the upper areas.With tree ferns, Bromeliad, Primula, Astilbe and other shade tolerant plants. Don’t miss the golden garden, the Balinese temple, the large wedding lawn or the summer house when you visit. Look for the eels and turtles.

Facilities and amenities:
Brochure/map available, bus/coach car parking, toilets, tour guide, morning/afternoon teas available,children welcome, dogs welcome if on leash (please pick up after them),picnics allowed,crafts, product & plant sales, wheelchair access.

Location & contact:
128 Mauku Road
50 km South of Auckland City.

On the southern motorway from or to Auckland, take the Drury off ramp onto highway 22. Drive towards Waiuku, approx six km to Glenbrook Road on the right. Once on Glenbrook Road take first left onto Ostrich Road. Follow Ostrich Rd into Patumahoe village. These Auckland gardens are on the right 1.28 km from village on Mauku Road. There are brown transit Wrights Watergarden signs from Highway 22 to find these Auckland gardens.

Go To Gardening NZ Home From best gardens to visit in Auckland.

Exotic Introduced Plants That Attract NZ Native Birds

Exotic Introduced Plants That Attract NZ Native Birds

NZ native birds create that special dimension to New Zealand gardens that are typically a combination of both New Zealand native plants and exotic introduced plants. It’s good to encourage more planting of New Zealand native plants, but we would be missing a wealth of useful and beautiful plants if we just planted native plants, so there is a compromise position that can be reached that incorporates both native and introduced plants that can create a glorious combination that most gardeners are striving for.

NZ native birds are attracted to the introduced plants listed below. These plants also attract many introduced birds that can be fascinating to watch.

Consider planting some of the introduced plants listed below or some of our native plants that attract New Zealand native birds listed here. If you want to attract NZ Native Birds to your garden.

Common NameBotanical Name Evergreen/DeciduousHeightNectar,Fruit &/Or Seed
Low growing
Aloe (various

Canna lilyCanna
to 1m
Cosmos annual
Cosmos bipinnatusCosmos annual

French marigold
Tagetes patula
annual 30cm
Kangaroo paw AnigozanthusE
Lavender (various)
Lavendula spicaE

Amaranthus caudatus
to 1m
Phygelius aequalis
Red hot poker (various)Kniphofia
Sunflower (giant)
annual 1m+
Trees & Shrubs
Banksia (various)
to 8m
Bastard jasmine
Cestrum purpureum
Bottlebush (various)Callistemon E
to 5m
Brazilian coral tree Erythrina crista-galliD
Camellia (various
Chinese lantern
Chinese hollyMahonia lomariifoliaE
Coral treeErythrina sykesii
Crab apple

Eucalyptus (various)Eucalyptus
to 15m
Firewheel tree
Stenocarpus sinuatusE
Grevillea (various)
Grevillea (various) to 3m
Irish strawberry
MulberryMorus nigra
Phoenix palm
Phoenix canariensisE
Shad bush
Amelanchier canadensis
Strawberry guava or cherry guavaPsidium cattleianum E
Taiwan cherry
Prunus campanulata
Tree lucerneCytisus proliferus E
Waratah (various)
TelopeaEto 4mWaratah (various) Telopea E to 4m N
Chilean bell flowerLapageria rosea
Limited space?

There’s a number of both introduced and native plants species that can be grown in containers or hanging baskets to attract NZ native birds.

The diet of common NZ native birds are:

Bellbird – nectar,fruit, insects

Fantail – insects

Kaka – nectar, fruit, insects

Kingfisher – insects, small rodents, lizards

Morepork – insects, small rodents, lizards, birds

Tui – nectar, fruit, insects

Silver/White/Waxeye – nectar, fruit, insects

Insect habitat

You can see from the list above many common NZ native birds eat insects, so consider creating habitats for insects by using natural mulches such as bark, compost, relocate leaves that pile up up unwanted places, a thin layer of lawn clippings ( around 25mm thick each time you mow, if you make a layer of lawn clipping too thick it can develop a putrid smell ).

Mulching has the added advantages of acting like a blanket so reducing weeding, and trapping moisture and warmth in the soil.

Consider bird saftey

If you have a bird bath try to have it away from cover where a cat may hide for a quick ambush attack.

Nesting & roosting

As well as growing suitable plants that attract and feed NZ native birds, they also need nesting and roosting trees nearby, so if you’ve got the space consider planting some of the larger trees.

Poisonous plants

Warning- Try to avoid planting Rhododendron near your nectar plants, especially if the flower colour is similar, because Rhododendron are deadly poisonous to Tui and other nectar feeding birds. The bird rescue service have to deal with Tui that have been poisoned by Rhododendron each year.

wood pigeon nz

A New Zealand native wood pigeon ( Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae ) eating the fruit of a Peruvian guava ( Psidium cattleianum ).

So see if you can create a wonderful garden teaming with NZ native birds for you and your loved ones to enjoy, with some of the plants listed above.

Happy gardening!

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NZ native birds

Exotic Introduced Plants That Attract NZ Native Birds

Here’s A list Of Exotic Introduced Plants That Attract NZ Native Birds, So You Can Enjoy The Thrill Of Seeing And Hearing NZ Native Birds

Native Plants That Attract New Zealand Native Birds

Native plants That Attract New Zealand Native Birds.

Have a look at this video that explains how to attract these beautiful Tui birds.

Below is a list of New Zealand native plants that provide food and/or habitat for New Zealand native birds.

We’ve also got a list of introduced plants that attract NZ native birds here.

The link above opens a new window so you can easily compare your options.

Native Plants That Attract New Zealand Native Birds

Botanical nameCommon name
Nectar,Fruit &/Or Seed
Low-growing plants
(to 500 mm approx)
Coprosma acerosa & brunnea
sand coprosmapale blue fruitF,S
Dianella nigra

NZ blueberryblue fruitF,S
Fuchsia procumbensfuchsiared fruit N,F,S
Hebe species
flowers various colours
Libertia ixioides or L.peregrinans
NZ irisorange seed pod
Muehlenbeckia axillariscreeping pohuehue
white fruit
Parahebe speciesparahebe white flower
Podocarpus nivalis
mountain totara
red fruit
Pratia angulatacreeping pratia
purple/red fruit
Shrubs (approx 500 mm to 1.5 m)
Alseuosmia macrophyllatoropapa
cream to red flower
Astelia nervosaasteliaorange fruit
Clianthus puniceus
kaka beak
red or white flower
Coprosma cheesmaniicoprosma
orange red fruit F,S
Corokia cotoneaster
red fruit
Hebe species
hebeflowers various colours S
Libertia grandiflora
NZ irisorange seed pod
Melicytus micranthus
nanakurapurple to white fruitF
Phormium cookianumdwarf mountain flax
yellow flower
Rhabdothamnus solandriimatata yellow to red flower
Trees and shrubs (approx 1.5m to 6m)
Aristotelia serrata
deep red fruit
Brachyglottis repandarangiora
yellow flower
Coprosma rhamnoides
coprosma crimson fruit
Coprosma robusta
karamuorange/red fruit
Coprosma grandifolia kanono
orange fruit
Coprosma repenstaupataorange/yellow fruit
Cordyline indivisamountain cabbage tree
cream flower
Corokia species
korokioorange to red fruit
Leptospermum scoparium
manukawhite/pink flower
Marcopiper excelsumkawakawa orange fruit
Myrsine australis
black fruit
Phormium tenaxNZ flaxyellow flower
Pittosporum crassifolium karo crimson flower N,F,S
Pomaderris apetala
yellow flower
Pomaderris kumerahokumerahouyellow flower
Pseudopanax laetus five fingerblack fruit
Sophora microphylla kowhaiyellow flowerN
Trees over 6 metres
Alectryon excelsus titokired fruit
Carpodetus serratus
putaputawetalilac flower
Cordyline australisti kouka (cabbage tree)cream flower

Griselinia littoralis
broadleafpurple fruitF,S
Fuchsia excorticatakotukutuku or koninired flower, black fruit
Knightia excelsarewarewared flower N
Melicytus ramiflorusmahoeviolet fruit F
Pennantia corymbosa kaikomako
black fruit
Pittosporum eugenioidestarata (lemonwood)yellow flower
Pittosporum tenuifolium
kohuhudark red flowers
Pseudopanax arboreusfive finger
black fruit
Schefflera digitata pate purple/black fruitF,S
Sophora tetrapterakowhaiyellow flower
Vitex lucenspuririred flower
Metrosideros carmineacarmine ratacrimson flower N
Passiflora tetrandakohiaorange fruitN,F,S
Tecomanthe speciosaThree Kings vine or akapukaea
cream flower

One of the most pleasant aspects of having a garden can be observing and enjoying the bird life that can inhabit your garden.

In order to provide the most attractive garden for birds it’s best to have the following components in your garden:

Food – This includes nectar, fruit and seed bearing plants, whether native or introduced. Also many birds eat insects, spiders and other invertebrates such as earthworms, beetles and moths. These invertebrates need a suitable habitat to thrive in which includes mulch, leaf litter, holes and cracks.

Feeding – In winter it’s possible to attract a number of tui’s to many suburban gardens by placing a bird feeder on a platform, preferably more than 1.5 metres from ground level and away from places where cats can easily hide and ambush feeding birds. I’ve used a plastic bird water dispensing container I bought from a pet shop for about $10. It did eventually attract ants to the tree it was in, but since it was well away from the house they weren’t a problem. I used a mix of one cup of raw sugar into 1 litre of boiling water in a saucepan then stirred till dissolved. Let it cool to luke warm then pour into the bird feeder and place it on the bird feeder platform. My platform was a piece of wood about 200mm x400mm nailed into a fork on a tree. I initially made a yellow flower shape out of electricians insulation tape, stuck to the sides of the bird feeder to attract the tui’s attention. Once they found it they would sit in the tree singing their heart out which attracted even more tui’s, until their was often over a dozen tui’s swooping around for their share of the sugar water. I found winter ( June, July, August ) the best time of year for sugar water feeding, when the Kowhai started flowering they lost interest in my sugar water.

Water – Such as a bird bath that is out in the open and above ground to give the birds time to fly before a cat can pounce on them.

Trees – The larger the better. Trees provide perching and nesting sites for birds.
Some people provide nesting boxes in their trees, which can look attractive as a garden feature, but I’ve yet to see a bird nest in them in a residential garden. Although I have seen nesting boxes used successfully on Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf by the Department of Conservation. I expect the positioning the nest box in the appropriate place on a tree, ( i.e. sheltered and concealed ) and nest box entrance hole size are important factors in attracting a bird to use these boxes.

Some of our New Zealand native birds have a magnificent song such as the Bell Bird and the Tui. Tui’s and Wood Pigeons are reasonably common visitors to many suburban gardens when you provide attractive food plants for them. New Zealand native birds have a good memory when they locate a food source and will return regularly to harvest fruit as they mature.
I’ve found both children and adults are often captivated by the sight of New Zealand native birds, so have a go at attracting New Zealand native birds, they add an extra feature to your garden.

New Zealand Tui Bird

Tui’s can be attracted to your garden with a bird feeder with sugar water in it.

Warning – If you have Parapara, commonly called ” Bid catcher tree ” Pisonia brunnonianum, there is a risk that birds will become ensnared in the sticky seed pods. As well as the seed pods can attach to your hair then you’ve got to cut them out! So I recommend cutting off the seed pods after flowering before they get to the sticky stage.

Happy gardening!

My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather. ~Terri Guillemets

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Community Gardens NZ

Community Gardens NZ

Community Gardens NZ.

Community gardening is where a single pieces of land is gardened collectively by a group of people.

The purpose and benefits of community gardens can be:
  • Provides fresh healthy food.
  • Creates a sense of community in local areas.
  • Can reduce the feeling of isolation and loneliness for local residents.
  • Gives people healthy exercise in fresh air.
  • Can improve the neighbourhood environment.
  • Can give participants a sense of connection to nature, that can be therapeutic and relaxing creating a sense of well being.
  • Can be used as an educational opportunity for children and adults to understand and appreciate nature and how food can be produced.
  • Can reduce the use of fossil fuel and associated CO2 emissions, by saving people from driving to the supermarket to buy food, and reducing the amount of food needed to be transported significant distances to markets.
  • Saves money for participants who don’t have to buy so much food.


The land is typically publicly owned by the local council. Although it may be privately owned land that is used. The management is often by a community organisation that elects members to perform the various management roles. Sometimes a security fence with access restricted to members of the collective is required to reduce theft and vandalism problems.

Types of gardens.

Most community gardens are aimed at food production. But there are also collectives that are aimed at habitat restoration with native plants for conservation and recreation purposes. Also some gardens are more for amenity recreational uses and can include art such as sculpture, garden furniture for seating, and childrens play areas. Some combine all of these features, so require careful planning to achieve these all these aims. There are also groups such as Green Guerrillas of New York who started out doing a more instant type of garden that may not be long lasting, but the organisation has developed and taken on larger long term projects.

Plot ownership.

Some models have the whole area worked on and harvested collectively by all participants. Other models have clearly divided plots within the total area of land that are managed by either an individual gardener or a family or small group of friends as agreed between then selves. Other community gardens have a combination of both individual plots, and an area that is shared for both upkeep and produce harvesting. There have been cases where the work load is unevenly spread between gardeners who are planting and maintaining, while some people are more keen on just harvesting the produce and eating the produce of other peoples labour. This can result in disputes and ill feelings between members of the collectives. This tends to lead an evolution from one large collective control and harvesting of one large plot to individual and small group control of smaller plots within the whole area of land.


There is no standard layout for the overall area. Although what tends to happen is it starts out with the whole area being cultivated and then progresses to using raised beds with paths between. This reduces the need to walk on the beds and compact the soil. The cultivation beds are typically about double the width of an average arm length. This allows a gardener to reach from one side to the centre of the bed without needing to stand on the soil. The height from the ground level also reduces bending over that can reduce back aches. These beds vary in length depending on materials used and space available. The orientation is best to be north south where possible so the morning sun shines on one side then afternoon on the other. East west orientation tends to result in shading of small plants by larger plants on the northern side, and plants leaning towards the sun.
Some collectives decide to grow both annual vegetables and tree crops. The trees are best grown in a separate area because it’s difficult to grow small annuals near large trees, because the trees take the light and moisture away from small shallow rooted plants.
The gardens tend to evolve over time. Often including storage and/or shelter structures, and green houses.


So if you’re considering starting a community garden one of the most important stages is the planning stage because you can avoid many future problems at this stage.

  1. Get together a core group of people who are prepared to participate.
  2. Determine where you could have a community garden.
  3. Approach the land owner and go through whatever process is necessary to secure your long term use of the land.
  4. Decide what you can all agree to have in the space.
  5. Create a plan on paper or computer to scale and work out where everything will fit in.
  6. Work out the priorities and break the work down into stages that can be done over a period of time.

Overall Group Organisation.

There are many models for organising community gardens, which are typically determined by the original group participants. These models include:

  • A group of enthusiasts who get together and work on the project in a fairly casual way.
  • Through to a more organised democratic way that involves more organising, but allows everyone to have a say, and have the majority rule, rather than just a few making decisions that can result in bad feelings and people leaving. This typically involves electing a board that may include a convenor who would typically be responsible for arranging when and where a meeting will take place and often chair the meetings. There can be a deputy convenor who will take over when the convenor is not available. It’s a good idea to have a secretary to record the minutes, particularly any decisions that are made. A treasurer is useful to handle and record any financial activity. Then members may fulfil other roles as they needed.
  • The organisation may decide to become a registered society, which may help make them apply for various types of funding from councils or other funding bodies.


Community garden organisation are usually open to a wide range of participants including, young through to senior citizens, inexperienced to experienced, and people of all socio economic and cultural backgrounds.

With the well organised groups there is usually an annual membership fee, that can be determined by the group if they have an annual general meeting, where this can be proposed and voted on. This money can then be used for a range of purposes including:

  • Buying plants, materials, tools etc.
  • Communication costs, website, stationary etc.

Some groups have a system where a garden bed can be rented for a specified amount and period of time.

community gardens nz

Here’s the websites of some examples:

Is situated on 1.7 hectares (4.5 acres) of council-owned land, as part of Hukanui Reserve, Ponsonby, Auckland. Kelmarna is a busy, small farm, largely tucked away behind rows of houses on Hukanui Crescent and Kelmarna Avenue.

Kelmarna is Certified Organic through OrganicFarmNZ, and they use regenerative organic methods to build the health of their soil, water, and biodiversity, while sequestering carbon into our soils and growing nutrient-dense food for the community.

Wilderland is owned by a Trust. One of the unique and challenging aspects of Wilderland is its collaborative management system. Everyone participating in the community has the opportunity to propose and facilitate changes to the project, as long as they align with the purposes and intent of the Trust Deed.

Another model is a Non Profit organisation such as Koanga Koanga institute whose “Vision is that through our research, living experience, and service, we are able to strengthen people’s ability to create regenerative environments and self-reliant cultures.” There website is:

Some useful references for more information are: Click the link it opens a new window.

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You May Also Be Interested In Community Supported Agriculture From Community Gardens NZ

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Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture In New Zealand

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) In New Zealand

Community Supported Agriculture is where a local community supports local food producers. The concept of CSA seems to originate in the USA more than 25 years ago. The model is that the local consumers can buy fresh seasonal produce directly from the grower.

The advantages for consumers can include:

  • Healthy food -Eating fresh organic food with a full flavour, vitamins and minerals.
  • Educational – You can visit the farm with your family and learn about food production etc.
  • Social – You can meet and get to know a range of interesting people associated with the farm.
  • Improve cooking skills – Many CSA farms have resources such as websites and newsletters to help with recipes etc.
  • Kids eat more veggies – It can become cool to eat the vege’s that the children have help harvest and prepare so they get a better diet.

Advantages for the farmer:

  • They receive payment in advance to fund seed and other input costs.
  • Can promote and market their venture in the off season during winter, when there’s less demands on the farmers time.
  • Have social interaction with friendly appreciative customers.


CSA Farm Models –

There are four basic CSA models used throughout the world that can be categorised into at least one of the following:

1. Farmer managed.

The grower owns, organises and markets the programme, makes all final management decisions and recruits subscribers.

2. Shareholder/subscriber managed.

The members manage and organise the scheme. They contract a farmer to produce specified crops and/or products.

3. Farmer Co-operative.

Multiple growers organise the growing of produce and delivery as well as recruiting and managing members.

4. Co-operative.

Growers and consumers jointly own and manage all aspects.

Here’s some links to websites that may interest you.

Organic Market Garden (OMG) is For The Love Of Bees model regenerative organic urban farm on the edge of the city centre of Tāmaki Makaurau.OMG operates on a CSA (community supported agriculture) model.

Urban farming and Community-scale composting in the heart of Newtown, Wellington

Here’s another CSA, Wairarapa Eco Farms
54 Te Ore Ore Bideford Road, Masterton. PO Box 19, Greytown. Who have a similar model with different details. Including a wider range of produce options and pick up locations in Welllington, Masterton, and Palmerston North.
For their details go to

Community Gardens

There are alternative models such as community gardens, where the land is generally publicly owned land that is managed by a group of locals. Typically they’re created on council land that is being under utilised.

Click below to see more info about

Community Gardens In NZ

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Gardening NZ

Gardening NZ, Gardening In New Zealand.

Gardening NZ.Com is here to provide New Zealand gardeners, with useful information on gardening in New Zealand related subjects.
Interestingly gardening is the the second most popular physical activity in New Zealand, according to Active NZ Survey in the 2007-8 year. It’s second to walking. The top ten physical activities in order are: Walking, gardening, swimming, equipment based exercise, cycling, fishing, jogging/running, dance, golf and tramping.


This Gardening NZ website is here to provide a useful guide to help a range of gardeners, from beginners through to gardeners interested in more specialised subjects. This will provide visitors with a useful and comprehensive resource to help create a greener and higher quality environment for humans and our native flora and fauna to enjoy. While being aware that introduced plant species, that in many cases have useful qualities such as pleasant flowers, or are hardy and quick growing, may have a propensity to become rampant invasive weeds, if allowed to escape the confines of cultivated gardens.

New Zealand’s growing conditions.

New Zealand’s climate and topography create a wide range of conditions, allowing a broad range of plants to be grown here. Our climate is considered to be sub-tropical in the far north, ranging to the far south, where it is considered to be cool temperate, with severe alpine conditions in the mountains. The mountain ranges that extend the length of New Zealand, create a barrier for the prevailing westerly winds, that divides the country into distinctly different climatic regions.
The rainfall ranges between 600 and 1600mm per year, with a considerable difference occurring between the West and East Coast of the South Island, where the annual rainfall on the west coast is between 4 to 10 metres, while in Canterbury there is between 0.5 to 0.75 metres per year. The two ares are only about 100km apart!
The soil in New Zealand also varies over a wide range of types including, clay, the finest particle size through silt loam, that have a predominantly medium size soils particles, to coarser particle sized sandy coastal and alluvial soils. There’s also the volcanic soils with large particle size, and peat based soils with a high organic content that tend to be acidic.
All these variants allow a wide range of plants and gardening specialties to be cultivated by New Zealand horticulturalists. Combined with the high educational standards, that our universities, polytechnics, and libraries provide, we have all the ingredients for some of the best gardens in the world.

Hamilton Gardens – Italian Renaissance garden

Hamilton Gardens – Italian Renaissance garden

I hope you find this website helpful and return to utilise it over time. If you want to, make a contribution, then contact us.

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy of GardeningNZ.Com
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Welcome to GardeningNZ.Com

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