Larnach Castle in Spring

Garden Seasons

The garden's plantings have been designed to complement the building and add a unique Southern Hemisphere feel to the grounds. 

Margaret Barker has a huge passion for Gondwana plants. Her vision for a South Seas garden stems from a long-term interest in New Zealand native plants and their relationships to their cousins in other southern countries. 

There is nothing like first-hand research, knowledge and understanding gained by visiting these plants in their native habitats. Margaret has braved the roaring forties and furious fifties in a Russian polar explorer vessel to visit the Auckland and Campbell Islands, and flown to the windswept Chatham Islands.

She has also climbed Mt Gower in the pristine Lord Howe Islands, Cradle Mountain in Tasmania and the Andes in Chile and Argentina, where she camped amongst Monkey-Puzzle trees.
The gardens of Larnach Castle have something to catch your interest year round.


Spring flowers - a fiery display of Azaleas in front of the Ballroom.  Rhododendrons sprinkled amidst the garden. The Laburnum Arch flowers in November - a golden tunnel to delight.


The Rock Garden - lost for a time - shows its tiny treasures to the world once again right through Spring, Summer and Autumn.  In January giant lilies (Cardiocrinums) turn the Rainforest Garden into a scented and visual delight.  The Serpentine Herbaceous Walk with its rose-strewn trelliswork is like a basket overflowing with colour.

At this time the gardens are popular for weddings with such a wonderful setting for photographs.


The Heather Garden blooms complementing the Autumn foliage and bringing a Scottish mood to the Castle.  The Autumn Crocus (Colchicums) line the Great Arch and hide amongst the Azaleas.


In Winter you will find a few brave flowers putting on their best faces. However it is a time to appreciate the sheer majesty and structure of the garden while it lies bare.  Snowdrops signal Winter’s end and the cycle starts again.
Qualmark Endorsed Visitor Activity
New Zealand Gardens Trust
Landmarks New Zealand
Tiaki - Care for New Zealand

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