Broadfield Garden, New Zealand: In-A-Gadda-Da-Canterbury

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Broadfield Garden, New Zealand: In-A-Gadda-Da-Canterbury

The seemingly endless, straight road out of Christchurch to Rolleston cuts through the flat and often undifferentiated Canterbury Plain of farms punctuated by houses and sheds.

But along Selwyn Road, an offshoot from State Highway 1, amidst the fields and paddocks is a property hidden from view by a high green wall of hedging.

And behind it lies an unexpected and quite magical 3.5 hectare garden with its own internal hedges to create something akin to walled gardens.

garden2This is Broadfield Garden and it has been the 30 year project of and has been awarded the prestigious Garden of International Significance accolade.

Understandably it is a venue for weddings, special function and tours but it is also a place worth discovering on a private amble around as whimsical sculptures, a beech forest area, kauri and a long canal reveal themselves.

With a formal rose garden and cricket oval, the heritage garden harks back to “the Old Country” as earlier generations called it but with totara hedges and an abundance of native trees and shrubs, Broadfield Garden bridges hemispheres and worlds in its 20 distinct garden plots.

The brains (and brawn) behind this personal project is David Hobbs who established the gardens in 1993 and in the decades since has tended, mended and expanded his vision to what we see today: grand splashes of colour depending on the season, intimate spaces and unexpectedly wide open areas.

garden3Whether it be frost on a winter lawn, bluebells, the sudden emergence of daffodils in dense clumps or the call of native birds, Broadfield Garden is one of those welcome havens for quiet and contemplation as much as it can be for family celebrations.

Flaxes, perennials, herbaceous borders, tussocks and water features attract the eye everywhere.

But for Hobbs his time here is almost up.

On the day we dropped by – a clear but quiet weekday in February -- he was up a ladder trimming branches while overseeing the small staff on duty.

garden1But after three decades of such work on what was originally intended as a retirement project, Hobbs has put the gardens on the market.

Any interest, we asked.

Plenty, there was a large group through the other day looking at it he said.

“But they were all over 80,” he laughed.

And looking around at the work done and the maintenance required you'd quickly agree, Broadfield Garden may be enjoyed and appreciated by an older demographic but on a day-to-day basis it is a project for the young and enthusiastic.


For more information on Broadfield Garden check out their Facebook page here

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