Garden Photo of the Day

Jill’s New Zealand Garden

Creating a garden from nothing

long garden bed with topiaries and lots of flowering plants

Today we’re visiting with Jill Hammond.

I very much enjoy getting your daily photos of gardens from around the world, most of which seem to be in the Northern Hemisphere. I thought I would share some photos of my garden in New Zealand.

My husband and I have lived on 7.5 hectares (18.5 acres) in rural Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, for 28 years. We moved our 100-year-old villa onto our bare piece of land, and I set about developing our garden from scratch. There was not one single tree or plant present, and at first I was a wee bit overwhelmed with how to start. Just getting stuck in was the answer, and now we have a garden which is gradually maturing. I love being able to underplant some of the areas where I now have some shade, allowing me to grow hostas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, and other shade-loving plants, which for so long I have only been able to see in other people’s gardens.

Many of my plants have come from my mother’s garden as cuttings and divisions. Like so many gardeners, I love this sharing of plants and knowledge, and then passing them on to other lovely recipients.

We have mild winters with occasional frosts, mild springs and autumns, and hot, dry summers with frequent droughts. I water plants in the first season to get them going, but then let them fend for themselves following that, so I do plant to the conditions and don’t mollycoddle. Having said that, I do water my vegetable potager garden.

The last two years we have had unseasonally wet summers, and this has led to the partial demise of some of my Buxus (boxwood) hedging (which has been a large feature of my garden) due to boxwood blight. I have had to remove some areas of this, as I simply do not want to have to spray regularly to manage it. This year we are back to El Niño weather patterns, and so I am hopeful that the drier summer will allow my remaining Buxus hedging to recover and not look too patchy.

This year several parts of New Zealand suffered cyclones, involving massive flooding events, and many people lost homes, gardens, and businesses such as farms and orchards. We count ourselves incredibly grateful not to have lost our garden and home. As we are all learning to cope with climate change and the disruptive weather patterns we are seeing all over the world, I urge all fellow gardeners out there to take some time off from pulling weeds and mulching gardens, to take some photos of your garden so that you have these wonderful memories to look back on, should anything untoward happen.

several different trees in the gardenTrees on the property include a maturing red horse chestnut (Aesculus × carnea, Zones 5–8), Cornus controversa ‘Variagata’ (Zones 5–8), and a weeping beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’, Zones 4–8).

boxwood hedge trimmed into a geometric designOne of the many Buxus hedges, this one close to the pool area

long garden bed with topiaries and lots of flowering plantsMixed perennial/shrub border with Magnolia macrophylla (Zones 5–8) in the background and corkscrew topiaries, which I have had fun making over the years

another long garden bed with neat hedging and lots of shrubsThe burgundy spires in this mixed border are Berberis ‘Helmond Pillar’ (Zones 4–8).

garden bed with lots of pink flowersIn this bank garden looking onto the house, perennials are a major feature in spring and summer.

garden path leading to fruit trees growing over an arborTwo espaliered double-grafted pear trees grow over the arbor. ‘Beurre Bosc’, ‘Taylor Gold’, and ‘Doyenne du Comice’ are very productive.

potager garden with formal hedgingMore of the potager: rosemary, borage, chives, and a mandarin orange tree in the background

more trees in the gardenA blue spruce tree (Picea pungens, Zones 1–7)

Jill shared so many great photos of her garden that we’ll be back tomorrow to see more!


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 10/23/2023

    Jill: one word - WOW! I feel like I have been to the theatre and back again. Fantastic garden. Well done and thank you for sharing this treat with us. I cannot wait to see what tomorrow’s Pictures bring.

  2. blondie3 10/23/2023

    Your garden is fabulous, the boxwood hedge is amazing and I love the tall trees, Cyprus? What an amazing garden you have created out of flatland. No doubt you feel very at home…thank you for sharing. I love to see gardens people have created…

  3. user-7821942 10/23/2023

    Outstanding! Your love of gardening and the joy it must bring you are evident in your glorious photos. I have always wanted to travel to New Zealand and thank you for taking us along on a journey through your garden.

  4. janetsydoruk 10/23/2023

    Wow is right. It’s just fantastic. You are a master gardener. To think nothing was there to begin with. I love the Helmond pillers. Amazing garden. Thank you so much.

  5. [email protected] 10/23/2023

    Yes just a big WOW! For sure a different climate in your area of the world. You have done a wonderful job it looks gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

  6. User avater
    user-7007816 10/23/2023

    What a wonderful mix of formal and informal plantings. I love how you have integrated your gardens into the natural hilly topography. Well don.

  7. User avater
    simplesue 10/23/2023

    When you wrote in the introduction that you had boxwood hedges I just thought of what I've seen around my neighborhood in USA...and then WOW I see what imagination can do with a boxwood hedge...just spectacular trimming and shapes!
    YOU are amazing as is your entire garden!
    I'm so so so very impressed with your garden!

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/23/2023

    I absolutely love seeing gardens from other countries! BTW, do you get someone to come to your home & cut your Buxus hedges?

  9. btucker9675 10/23/2023

    This is an astonishingly beautiful garden and I thank you for sharing! I love that weeping beech tree.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest