Sprawling along the banks of the Waikato, the Hamilton Gardens are
extensive. I turned up at around 6.30pm and asked at the information
desk which areas I should see if I only had an hour; they recommended the
"Paradise Gardens", in six different styles.
The Japanese Garden of Contemplation is
"An example of the 14th-16th Century Muromachi Period gardens designed
for quiet contemplation and study".
English Flower Garden
The English Flower Garden
"An example of the English 19th Century Arts and Crafts gardens
designed as a setting for plant collections and planned seasonal
The American Modernist Garden is "A late 20th Century garden for
outdoor living designed in the American West Coast tradition." I can only
assume this is unfinished - what's there barely qualifies as a garden,
anyway, it's a backyard pool surrounded by a lot of concrete.
The Chinese Scholar's Garden is
"An interpretation of the 10th-12th Century Sung Dynasty gardens that were
designed as natural worlds of imagination and surprise". An organised
wilderness, this was the garden that appealed most to me.
The Italian Renaissance Garden is "An interpretation of the
15th-16th Century Renaissance Gardens that sought to rationalise and
improve upon nature". Very stylised, this seemed almost the opposite of
the Chinese Garden. At one end of this garden is a balcony overlooking
the Waikato River. With almost no signs of human habitation visible on
its banks at this point, this makes an impressive outlook.
The Indian Char Bagh Garden is "An interpretation of a 16h-17th
Century symbolic four-quartered garden built for the Mughal aristocracy as
an escape from a harsh environment." It wasn't yet open when I visited --
in fact it was due to open the following day.
I'd just finished exploring these gardens at 8pm when they started
locking up. So I didn't get to visit the Fantasy Gardens ("Perfume" and
"Time") or the Productive Gardens ("Herb", "Kitchen", and "Permaculture").
The Hamilton Gardens
are well worth visiting, even if you're just passing through. For more
information, they have their
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