Travel Theme : Gardens

Ah Ailsa, a lady after my heart who loves gardens and getting her hands into the dirt. I can empathize with her feelings for the beauty of nature. When travelling the highlight of any visit is when I find a beautiful garden to wander around.

So it was with pleasure that I embrace Ailsa’s garden theme this week. The photos of gardens Ailsa has chosen to show on her blog “Where’s my backpack” are exquisite and very varied examples of some of her favourite gardens from around the world, do click here to immerse yourself in more gardens.


We lived and worked in New Plymouth in the 1980’s and so part of our New Zealand visit was to revisit our very good friends Ray and Kay who were our neighbours back then. New Plymouth is a hidden gem in New Zealand and off the tourist trail. With a backdrop of Mount Taranaki rising, in symmetrical splendour,  from the fertile dairy country of its lower slopes(often claimed to be one of the most symmetrical volcanoes in the world and the Tasman Sea beating and swelling along the western shore  to create wave breaks surf board riders dream of, this is a place of natural beauty.

Also known as Mount Egmont

Also known as Mount Egmont

This is also a mineral rich area and in the fertile volcanic soils gardens thrive.

It was to “Tupare” one of these beautiful gardens that Ray and Kay took us. One that we had not visited when we lived here. It also had a personal connection for Kay as in the 1950’s her uncle was the head gardener when it was a privately owned property and she remembered, as a girl, spending time in the garden.

In 1932 Sir Russell and Lady Matthews started to create a garden from a gorse covered wilderness on the edge of the Waiwhakaiho River. After a lifetime of artistic creation and love, the couple relinquished their 3.6 hectare garden and gracious Tudor-style home to ensure the protection of Tupare as part of New Zealand’s heritage.

Under the management of the Taranaki Regional Council, Tupare continues to develop as one of the country’s most beautiful and distinctive gardens. Tupare, which means ‘garland of flowers’, has a number of special features, including the glade, glasshouse, old orchard and cliff cascade.

The entrance set the scene for the delights to come.

The entrance sets the scene for the delights to come.


Entering the garden it enfolds us into a magical landscape, a garden that has been designed with love. The path zig zags down the side of a steep embankment and we are surrounded with a deep border of hydrangea, the variety and colours are stunning, I have never seen so many.

Information boards tell the story.

Information boards tell the story.


The carefully planned path makes walking down the steep slope easy

The carefully planned and terraced path makes walking down the steep slope easy


Kay admires a pure white hydranga

Kay admires a pure white hydrangea

Steps take us into another garden room

Steps take us into another garden room

We wander through intimate garden rooms and past a pond where large goldfish swim lazily around.

Tupare house and gardens pc sx40 038_4000x3000

Tupare house and gardens pc sx40 042_4000x3000



A herbaceous border spills it's cloud of yellow daisies over the path

A herbaceous border spills its cloud of yellow daisies over the path

The sweet smell of these lilies hangs in the air

The sweet smell of these lilies hangs in the air


Tupare house and gardens pc sx40 028_4000x3000

In contrast the lawns down to the river flat area keep an idyllic pastoral feeling with simple plantings of specimen trees.

Ray and Kay wait patiently for us as we stop to take photo after photo. Pure heaven for the senses.

Ray and Kay wait patiently for us as we stop to take photo after photo. Pure heaven for the senses.

There is even a hint of the beauty of autumn

There is even a hint of the beauty of autumn that is just around the corner.

Then as we round another corner we catch a glimpse through the trees of  Tupare the English style home.

Built in the English Tudor style and designed by Chapman-Taylor

Built in the English Tudor style and designed by Chapman-Taylor

Tupare house and gardens pc sx40 083_4000x3000

Tupare house and gardens pc sx40 067_4000x3000

Tupare house and gardens pc sx40 072_4000x3000

We circle the house taking photos from all angles and peer through the windows at the beautiful, solid period furniture inside. Unfortunately the house is closed. It opens at 11am for conducted tours and as it is now 2pm we have, sadly, missed out.

Now we find out how beneficial it is to know a local. Kay wanders around while we take photos. Finding one of the “friends of Tupare” having a cuppa in the small office under the house she tells her of her uncle and that she last visited the house in the 1950’s. Excitedly Kay calls us over, this lovely lady is going to give us a quick, personal, guided tour of the inside of this grand old house.

How lucky are we…

The house is magnificent, it has an atmosphere of love and feels lived in, not just a museum of period pieces. We follow our guide around, reverently touching the solid wood and admiring the beautiful views of the garden through the windows. I could picture the family going about their day-to-day lives. I could live here…

We hurriedly take as many photos as the time allows and I invite you to come with me on a tour around this charming country home.

Tupare house and gardens pc sx40 126_4000x3000

Thank you Ray and Kay for introducing us to this amazing house and garden.

We wend our way back up the hill, tired but satisfied by a day spent sharing this magical place with our friends.







Categories: gardens, New Plymouth, New Zealand, photos, travel theme, Tupare garden | Tags: , , , , | 42 Comments

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42 thoughts on “Travel Theme : Gardens

  1. What a splendid garden. I’m fascinated by the house, though. It is very lovely, but it’s interesting how colonists tried so earnestly to recreate their old home in their new homeland – living in two worlds at once – one real and one imagined. Lovely photos as ever, Pauline.


    • That is an interesting thought Tish and yes many of the pioneers built rather English style homes. In some cases, especially here in Australia, they were not suitable for the climate. Even now with the trend to glass and hi-rise apartments they have to use aircon all the time. The old style Queenslander with wide verandas are a thing of the past.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Thursday Doors : Tupare New Zealand… | Memories are made of this

  3. As an Aussie I have to say that I eat humble pie at the immense beauty of Mount Taranaki and the beautiful garden you have shown us. Until this post, I had never heard of New Plymouth, and at first I thought this was a post about somewhere in England. The house is amazing, and you could lift it and drop it in the Cotswolds.


    • Thank you for your comment Christopher. New Plymouth is off the beaten track in New Zealand, sort of a bulge tacked on to the west coast, not visited by many tourists, but it is certainly worth finding, especially if you like tramping in wild unspoilt mountain terrain and visiting gardens and surfing. It is a mecca in the NZ surfing community


  4. Beautiful lillies!! Great post 🙂


  5. What a wonderful place – and an interesting array of hydrangea colors!


  6. how beautiful! looks like hobbits live there!


  7. Greetings from Egypt! I believe yours is my favorite link of all from Ailsa’s website – what a wonderful job you did, putting all these pictures out here to share with us, they are all incredibly beautiful! My youngest sister married an Aussie, too, they live in Melbourne. Best wishes to you and I look forward to exploring more of your blog!


    • That is a lovely comment Aisha thank you for dropping by enjoy your trip around my blog world. I’m looking forward to a trip to your Egypt blog. That is the beauty of blogging, I love meeting people from all over the globe through blogging


  8. Absolutely stunning and I love hydrangea – wow! 😀


  9. So many lovely shots – love the hydrangeas!


  10. Totally lovely those hydrangea flowerheads, Pauline 🙂


  11. The hydrangeas are stunning- my favourite flower.


    • G’day Francesca thank you for visiting my world and leaving a comment. I have a real soft spot for hydrangeas too


  12. heavenly!


  13. This post just kept getting better and better – as I scrolled each photo it was so delightful. 🙂 ~y.


  14. This is just gorgeous! Garden, house everything. I just love it! Such charm and comfort~


  15. Wow, we could be in England here – the plants and even the house are much the same. But not that splendid volcanoe 🙂 Many thanks PP for the tour around this lovely garden and home.
    Jude xx


  16. Gorgeous ! ! ! So grateful to know there are people supportive of creating and caring for such spots. Loved every bit of your tour – thank you!


    • I also am grateful Del that the National Trust and Regional Councils think it important to spend money on these projects and of course the volunteers who spend their time lovingly caring for these beautiful places deserve recognition


  17. Very nice gardens and excellent shots…


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