Next time you are in Epsom, Auckland, or en route from the airport to the city take a detour and visit one of the loveliest and most tranquil inner city gardens around.
Eden Garden is one of Auckland's best kept secrets. Only a few minutes from busy Gillies Avenue, it is not signposted until you are within a block of the garden itself. Get your map out and go!
Eden Garden is the brainchild of Jack Clark who, with fifteen fellow enthusiasts, began work converting the wilderness and rubbish in the old quarry into a garden. The quarry itself is interesting as it is an old volcanic cone that was a source of building materials for colonists in the 19th century.
The garden we see today is mainly the work of volunteers over the past forty years. Eden Garden boasts the largest and most varied collection of camellias in New Zealand; a large number of vireya rhododendrons, rhododendrons and azaleas, a host of bromeliads, some magnificent hibiscus and a wide collection of New Zealand native plants, making this an important and interesting garden for the plants alone.
Eden Garden offers more than plant collections. The paths that wind between the beds full of blooming vireyas or camellias offer a tranquillity and a peace that is not often found in the central city. The layout is informal with wide sweeping paths that draw you on, and narrow winding side paths that bring you up close and personal with the plants. Native bird life abounds and the fantails will swoop and dance about you as you walk.
If you are interested in subtropicals then the Eden Garden is a good place to visit. Skilful landscaping with cycads, palms, bromeliads and vireyas demonstrate how to use these plants to create a garden rather than a collection. Extensive underplanting with a wide range of plants means that the garden is full and the plants are shown off to good effect.
The lower garden is easily accessible but, if you have the energy, then a walk 'to the top' at Wilkie's Lookout offers a superb view over Auckland. Planting on the climb up through the quarry changes from plants that enjoy a moist climate to those that cope with more arid conditions - agaves, South African proteas and leucadendrons predominate.
Eden Garden is very much a community asset. Everywhere volunteers are busy helping to maintain the borders, take admission charges and organising the horticultural shows held during the year. Scattered through the garden are memorials, living trees and garden seats, for many people who have had an association with the garden.
The cafe does a brisk trade and its garden setting makes it one of the loveliest around.
If you are looking for a peaceful haven in the heart of the city or if you have an interest in the special plant families that Eden Garden is home to, then you should make a note and visit this important and fascinating garden.
Hibiscus 'Crown of Warrington'
Garden Reviews Reviews and photographs of Gardens to Visit
Eden Garden, Auckland
Brilliant coloured vireyas
Wide sweeping paths draw you on
Skilful planting with cycads, palms and bromeliads
How you can help Membership Eden Garden Society Membership
Ask at the garden for forms or Tel +64 (09) 638 8395, Fax +64 (09) 638 7685
Volunteers Eden Garden has an enthusiastic band of volunteers manning the gatehouse, folding newsletters and working in the garden itself. Volunteer forms are available from the garden or contact Tel +64 (09) 638 8395, Fax +64 (09) 638 7685
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The information here is believed to be correct but changes do occur. There may be closures and changes to times of opening. Entrance fees may vary without notice. bestgardening.com cannot take any responsibility for any errors, changes or omissions. Visitors travelling a distance to visit a garden are advised to check opening times with the owners before setting out.