Development of Wilson’s Mill Gardens began in 1987 and has since gained the inaugural Canterbury Horticulture Society's 'Garden of Excellence' award in 1999-2000 for horticultural and design excellence. Wilson’s Mill is one of the few formal landscape gardens in New Zealand.
This sixteen acre property has strong, defined and structured lines, with rows of trees framing vistas and forming axes. Exuberant plantings soften these lines and provide seasonal colour.
A colonnade of classical pillars is echoed by rows of columnar trees and clipped hedges such as hornbeam and low buxus. An avenue of cabbage trees leads from the entrance courtyard to the lake, where waterfowl swim among the lilies and fountain. Gunneras edge the banks beside a grape and rose pergola walk.
The westerly axis from the house and lake is extended by an avenue of Tasman poplars, divided by The Long Lawn, to the folly on a mound beyond. Two fastigiated oaks and a golden tree are the focal points of the northerly axis of Leyland cypress. Ginkgos lining the driveway turn golden in autumn, and the pin oak grove turns scarlet.
Clematis climbs through many of the maturing trees, under planted with rhododendrons and other shrubs. Spring highlights include a variety of flowering cherries, and then hundreds of roses take centre stage in summer.
A rose arbor is the central focal point of a formal circular peony garden edged with catmint and enclosed in cypress hedging.
There are many plantings and areas to enjoy at Wilson's Mill, and ideas and inspiration to take home.