Hamilton Gardens, in New Zealand, has unveiled its latest fantasy garden, with an unusual piece of equipment – a floating Huddleston-inspired airship, harking back to a time when steam ruled the world.
Visitors to the 54ha gardens, in the north island city of Hamilton, are torn between believing the airship travels above the gardens at night delivering plants and mulch, or if it remains tethered in one spot. It’s attracted so much attention that a helium supplier has reportedly approached the gardens offering a good deal on the gas.
The airship-sculpture is tethered beside a new concept garden. In one area, nine types of New Zealand landscape are represented in blocks like those on the legend of land use maps in old-school atlases.
Inspiration also comes from two Maaori whakataukii (proverbs) which are inscribed within the garden. One interpretation of the first suggests, that as the population grows, it’s at the expense of natural environments. The other whakataukii is inscribed on a majestic steel pipe, which over decades will gradually rust away; the message of this interpretation is “But in the end, nature is going to win”.
More gardens to open
The Concept Garden is the second of five gardens in the current development program. The Mansfield Garden will open in spring 2018, and the Picturesque Garden and Surrealist Garden with moving topiary giants is scheduled to open in 2019.
Hamilton Gardens was once the city’s rubbish dump and has since been transformed into a significant garden, contributing about $13.8 million to the economy and winning the 2014 Garden of the Year award from the International Garden Tourism Network.
Entry and parking at Hamilton Gardens is free and access is from Cobham Drive / SH1. The Gardens is located 1.5 hours from Auckland. Find out more