Quilts and Gardens in Taranaki

This Spring it has seemed like every weekend yet another Quilt Show was held in a nearby town, competing with the weekend jobs for my attention. The Quilt Shows won, of course.

Hikurangi Garden, Taranaki, NZ

The Taranaki Garden Festival coincided with the Taranaki Quilt Show this year, so I really had to down tools and wander off to see the sights. First the gardens….

I loved the use of ponga logs used as frames to hold Clematis, and covered by climbing native Metrosideros vines and Asplenium ferns.

My Mum and I share a love of large country gardens, and will happily spend days driving around Taranaki, ticking off each garden as we visit. She even goes so far as to write notes next to each garden in the catalogue, then save the catalogue to compare to the following years offerings.

Hikurangi was full of old established trees, plenty of Rhododendrons and Maples.

This year we were fortunate to visit a large garden that is currently being offered for sale, and so likely never to be seen again in the festival.


The garden, Hikurangi, comprises hectares of rhododendrons, candelabra primulas, perennials and native bush. I especially liked the tree fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) with its orange-brown peeling bark and tiny fuchsia flowers.

Fuchsia excorticata

The owner has reached the stage where her age is forcing her to relinquish the farm and garden, and retire to town. Unfortunately the farm is to be sold in two lots, so the garden will be split in two, unless someone very keen takes it on. Mum bought a ticket and tried to win Lotto so we could buy the farm, but alas…

Part of the lake at Hikurangi, dug by the owners late husband.

Gardens are ephemeral things, as was demonstrated by another we visited. Here the trees were full of dead branches, draped in lichen and moss. The canopy so thick, the understory had died. I admitted to being a little nervous walking under the canopy in the strong winds, the branches were creaking so heavily. The Lions Club had come in and “pruned” with their chainsaws, but I’m afraid they haven’t the finesse of a trained arborist.

Despite the decay, the garden was one of the most beautiful we visited, and I can recommend Ostlers Garden, if you visit Stratford and the festival next year.

My Mum’s favourite in the show was Night and Day Zee by Jacqui Hale

In contrast our quilts can live longer than we do, and I do like the way they require little maintenance once made. Wouldn’t it be annoying if we had to do the equivalent of weekly weeding to keep our quilts looking good?

Best in Show: Wildflowers by Jeanette Ansley

The Show was full of inspirational quilts, with Marilyn Reid’s Cathedral Window Quilt apparently taking many years of hand quilting to complete. I greatly admire quilters who stick with projects for such a long period.

Cathedral Square by Marilyn Reid

It was a great week, but I am glad to be back home. My garden is calling, and I have seedlings popping up I must protect from slugs, snails and inclement weather. And maybe it’s even time to plant out some tomatoes.

Have a great week.



2 thoughts on “Quilts and Gardens in Taranaki

  1. What fortuitous timing of both those events. I loved garden tours too. Mum enjoyed her trip down to see the gardens, just a pity it rained most of the time.


  2. Yes, it is very wet there at the moment. I’m glad she enjoyed her time in the gardens. We forgot umbrellas, but a lot of the gardens had big trees, so we surveyed the gardens from underneath the canopy. Have a good week.


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