See & Do

our gardens

Our gardens are cared for year round by a small horticulture team. We have a private nursery where we grow from seed and cuttings into plants that we then plant out in the park when they are strong enough. Our flower garden beds are seasonal and changed out every six months.

Our nursery


We have a private nursery where we grow from seed and cuttings into plants that we’ll plant outside when they’re strong enough. We mostly collect seeds from the park and sometimes buy them in. Our cutting material is taken from the park and nursery. We use special trays that allow us to pop out the seedlings with the root balls completely intact, making planting easy for both us and the plant. On any given day, we have around 7000 trees and shrubs, and over 15,000 flowers and plants living and growing in our nursery.

Our garden beds


We have many garden beds, which are home to thousands of flowers and plants that change each year. Our horticulturists plant around 25,000 annuals (flowers that go from seed to bloom in one year) and 10,000 bulbs each year. Some years you’ll find tulips; other years, freesias, and you’ll always find daffodils in spring. Whatever you see is based on careful planning and design to ensure beauty, variety and a healthy ecosystem – it’s one of our favourite jobs. See the map below for the location of our garden beds.

The Grotto


The Grotto is a hidden gem of the park, a staff favourite and home to some of New Zealand’s rarest plants. Originally planted in 1938, the Grotto was a natural rock formation and then a quarry. It was landscaped in 1996 into a secret garden that you can walk end to end. If you spot the gate, you’re in the right place! You’ll find tree ferns, nīkau, karaka, miro and rare plants including Bartlett's rata and Three Kings kaikomako.

Campbell Crescent native gardens


Keep an eye on Campbell Crescent on Manukau Rd. We've recently planted around 5000 native plants and trees. The garden was designed as a biodiversity hotspot for our native birds, insects, lichens and lizards and a place for you to relax and enjoy New Zealand’s native beauty. You’ll find Pachystegia rufa, native hibiscus and many more plants.

A year-round job


We work throughout the year to care for our plants and gardens, and to ensure our soil is healthy, free from weeds. We have help — a tractor, two all-terrain-type vehicles, many hand tools (including rakes, trowels, spades and secateurs), three machines (weed-eater, blower and rotary hoe), and volunteers. We regularly turn over the soil in the beds to keep it light and fluffy, and to help with drainage. Although our soil is fertile, we add humic acid to neutralise toxins, improve soil pH levels and texture, stimulate root growth and draw in nutrients. We use natural fertilisers and only use chemical weed-killer when we have to, but never in our garden beds where we pull out every weed by hand. We hope to be spray-free one day.

Spring


Springtime in the gardens is all about new growth! It's the best time to sow seeds, plant your summer veggies, and think about which annual flowers you want to see in the summer. Take cuttings from your established plants and watch them grow. It’s a great to to tidy up and trim your hedges into shape before summer growth. Feed your bulbs now, and let the leaves die down once they've finished flowering.

Summer


Summertime is the time to think about helping your plants and flowers grow! Keep a close eye on watering and make sure your plants aren't getting parched. It’s time to give your plants extra love with fertiliser and nip off any dead flowers as soon as you see them to prolong flowering. You can take cuttings in summer, but just make extra sure they don't dry out. It's also time to lift your bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place

Autumn


Autumn is time for another round of planting! It's time to plant your bulbs for spring — daffodils and bluebells are our favourites but there are hundreds of varieties to try out — and get your winter veggies planted. It's also a good time to mulch your trees and shrubs to help them retain moisture.

Winter


Winter is a time to clean up and care for your plants. It’s a great time to fertilise your citrus trees and prune your hydrangeas and roses to prepare them for the coming seasons. Trim your hedges and clean up the autumn leaves that dropped and think about planting native trees and what to plant to encourage birds to your garden.