One of the Wairarapa’s oldest homestead gardens, Brancepeth, will be a highlight for garden lovers taking part in this year’s Wairarapa Garden Tour.
Brancepeth, one of New Zealand’s most historic homesteads with a remarkable set of farm buildings dating back to the 1850s, is one of 13 gardens featured in the self-drive tour being held on November 11th and 12th 2017. The Tour doubles as a fundraiser for the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre which is 20 minutes’ drive north of Masterton, with all proceeds raised from the ticket sales directed into Pukaha’s Forest Restoration.
Event organiser Jennifer Taylor says gardens in this year’s Wairarapa Garden Tour are varied and full of interest that people will be amazed.
“There’s no doubt that visitors to the region will come away inspired after seeing a variety of gardens and landscaping styles – from parkland and formal gardens to cottage gardens and rambling country gardens. Many of these are located in and around Masterton and Opaki as well as four in the north of valley near Eketahuna,” says Jennifer.
“In addition the incredible Brancepeth homestead will open its gates to the public and be a huge highlight for garden lovers. It featured in our 2015 garden tour and was so popular we’ve got it back. As a special treat, owner Edward Beetham will take guided tours through the homestead for an additional cost.”
Brancepeth sits atop a ridge near Wainuioru, a 15 minute drive east of Masterton. The white timber homestead features a central tower with battlements and is surrounded by a unique set of buildings that reflect the lifestyle of the extensive sheep and cattle farms that once dominated the Wairarapa countryside. Brancepeth Station features a grand stable, library, school, store, and cookhouse and, at its height, had more than 300 staff. It is now listed by the Heritage New Zealand as a category 1 historic place, the highest listing.
Other gardens featured this year include Rahiwi, The Birches and Evesham. Rahiwi is a William Fielding (1875-1946) designed home set in a garden that mixes formality with the family-friendly. Visitors can admire wisteria, cherry trees, camellias and rhododendrons as well as a manicured large lawn, vegetable gardens and family play areas.
The Birches is a colourful cottage garden full of roses with beautiful colours and scents, chestnut trees, a fish pond, magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas, vegetable gardens and birches. It also has two elms which have been designated trees of significance by the local council.
Evesham is a large country garden adjacent to Rathkeale School in Opaki. It benefits from a backdrop of native bush and exotic plants which were part of Alfred Buxton’s 1925 planting for the Maunsell Family’s Rathkeale Homestead. A formal structure is softened by areas of woodland and dense shrubbery, by buxus and English beech hedging and by a large collection of many roses, acid loving plants and huge specimen trees.
There are also several other highlights in this year’s Wairarapa Garden Tour. They are:
• All ticket holders gain free entry into Pukaha Mount Bruce for the duration of the tour
• Sculptor Mark Dimmock will open his Eketahuna Gallery for the weekend.
The Rathkeale Country Fete is being held on Saturday 11th November meaning those on the Garden Tour can visit neighboring Evesham as well as enjoy the surrounds of Rathkeale College.
Ticketholders can also purchase a separate ticket through Eventfinda for the Brancepeth Homestead Tour for $12 p/p. These guided tours are being held at 11am and 2pm daily (limit to 40 people for each tour).
Ticketholders can also purchase a separate ticket through Eventfinda to do a Hanging Basket and Colour Bowl demonstration at Lansdowne Nursery in Masterton for $5 p/p. These are held at 11am and 2pm daily (limit of 50 people each tour).
Early Bird tickets for the Wairarapa Garden Tour are $40 and go on sale on www.eventfinda.co.nz on Tuesday, 1st August for four weeks. General Ticket Sales will be available from 1st October onwards, also through Eventfinda for $50 p/p. For more information please visit www.wairarapagardentour.co.nz