Longbush Cottage Gardens

Price per person,
$15 self-guided

Open by appointment only.

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About the visit

Get ready to embark on a journey of natural beauty and tranquillity. As you explore the garden at your own pace, you will be surrounded by a stunning array of native New Zealand plants and vibrant blooms.

Take in the fragrant scents, marvel at the intricate designs of the gardens, and immerse yourself in the peaceful ambience. This self-guided experience allows you the freedom to wander along winding paths, discover hidden nooks, and capture breathtaking photographs of the picturesque landscape.

Price per person, $15 self-guided

*Cash on the gate or internet banking

About the visit

Get ready to embark on a journey of natural beauty and tranquillity. As you explore the garden at your own pace, you will be surrounded by a stunning array of native New Zealand plants and vibrant blooms.

Take in the fragrant scents, marvel at the intricate designs of the gardens, and immerse yourself in the peaceful ambience. This self-guided experience allows you the freedom to wander along winding paths, discover hidden nooks, and capture breathtaking photographs of the picturesque landscape.

A visit to the gardens

Immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of Longbush Cottage, where a modern cottage garden awaits. The garden is a masterpiece divided into vibrant garden rooms, each boasting its unique colour scheme and planting theme. Spread over a sprawling hectare of land, these garden rooms radiate from the 1890s cottage, creating a captivating landscape.

Embark on a self-guided tour that allows you to explore at your own pace and discover the beauty of each distinct space. To begin your journey, I recommend starting in the white garden, which serves as the entrance and the first area created coincidentally. From there, you’ll venture along Totora Avenue, the heart of the garden, offering a peaceful green oasis after the exuberant planting in other parts of the garden.

Next, you’ll encounter the Lipstick Garden, a playful homage to my time at YSL Cosmetics in Harrods, London. This garden features a vibrant clash of lipstick colours, adding a touch of whimsy. Continuing your tour, you’ll enter the Flower Jungle, where lush foliage meets striking bold colours within a formal grid of beds. The New Zealand Garden awaits next, showcasing a long border filled with native plants and a rockery made from our local limestone. This garden is bordered by the Mere, a pond with an island of native plants that has become a thriving habitat for various species.

Your journey then leads to the Orchard, a delightful space adorned with fruit and ornamental trees, underplanted with creeping red fescue grass that boasts beautiful seed heads in spring. At the end of Totora Avenue, you’ll find the Menhir, a standing stone inspired by neolithic stones found in Europe, embedded with fascinating fossils from our local limestone quarry.

Follow the mown path through the long grass to the Hot Garden, an area designed around a St Andrews cross, showcasing a vibrant mix of plants with fiery flowers and foliage. Next, you’ll enter the Grass Borders, consisting of four beds filled with ornamental grasses and complementary plants, including two ponds adorned with water lilies and frogs. The Pinot Noir Garden awaits, where rich burgundy and plum flowers and foliage transport you into the experience of sipping Wairarapa Pinot Noir.

Continue your journey to the Iris Borders, featuring a stunning array of varieties that put on a fabulous show in spring, with some varieties blooming again in autumn. The cottage garden wraps around the back of the cottage, a delightful space filled with roses in pastel pinks and purples and three large raised beds brimming with aromatic herbs. The cutting garden is a dedicated space for growing flowers for picking and trialling new plants. The Chinese Silky Bantams even have their own garden, planted with resilient vegetation that can withstand their pecking and scratching.

The Shade Garden is tucked away at the back of the property, a tranquil retreat bounded by Griselinia hedges and adorned with abundant green foliage and delicate white flowers, perfect for escaping the summer heat. The Vegetable Garden consists of large raised beds that produce bountiful homegrown produce once the chooks are deterred from feasting. The nursery is where most of the plants for the garden are sourced, offering a selection of my personal favourites for visitors to purchase. Don’t forget to explore the potting shed, the engine room of the garden.

Before concluding your tour, don’t miss the peony borders and the succulent-filled pot wall alongside the cottage. Throughout the year, this garden is designed to offer areas of interest that peak at different times. Early spring showcases vibrant tulips, followed by the stunning display of irises. Hundreds of roses steal the spotlight in summer, joined by an array of perennials that carry the show into late summer when dahlias fill the garden. Autumn brings the beauty of late-season perennials while the grasses truly shine.

The garden takes a winter break to prepare for spring, but you can still enjoy moments of enchantment through my Instagram and Facebook feeds during the colder months.