Starting in Christchurch with dinner at 7pm on the 16th November, this Travelling Masterclass ventures north along the extraordinary Kaikoura coastline, to Blenheim, Marlborough, and then returns to Christchurch 1pm on the 23rd November.

DAY 1 | Saturday 16th November

Our Travelling Masterclass commences with an evening meal at 7pm at Fiddle Sticks restaurant. Participants can check in to the Crowne Plaza Hotel (anytime from 3pm) in time for the tour’s offical opening activity, a short 15 minute walk from the Hotel.

Meals included: Fiddle Sticks, Christchurch

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Hotel


DAY 2 | Sunday 17th November

After check-out, we'll head into the rolling Canterbury hills en route to Blenheim, for our first garden visit of the tour.  And what a way to begin!  

Flaxmere (above) is a garden of extraordinary scale and vision that manages to create its own world within the vast Canterbury plains, while maintaining a strong connection to the wider landscape.  Our group will be greeted and guided by garden owner and creator Penny Zino, whose tireless energy over 50 years is on full display.  After lunch in the garden, we'll head north for Blenheim.

Gardens: Flaxmere      

Meals included: Lunch at Flaxmere

Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough, Blenheim

Free time: Evening

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DAY 3 | Monday 18th November

The day starts with a visit to Bhudevi (above), a modern geometric design within which hides an informal, sinuous water garden planted entirely with New Zealand natives.  

Moritake (below), our next visit, takes natives in an entirely new direction in the creation of a Japanese inspired garden.  It's one of the most successful ‘fusion’ gardens you’ll see!

And then to Upton Oaks - a garden full of surprises - in which strong axial design results in a garden that feels much bigger than it really is. The long vistas and immaculately hedged rooms are unforgettable, and sumptuously decorated with herbaceous planting.

We’ll then reflect on the day at one of Blenheim’s finest restaurants, specialising in locally sourced, and often foraged foods, Arbour.

Gardens: Bhudevi, Moritake & Upton Oaks  

Meals included: Dinner at Arbour

Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough


DAY 4 | Tuesday 19th November

Good design becomes even more critical in small spaces, so we start the day in the small city garden of Robin Robinson.  There's lots to learn from its success in putting every square centimetre to work!

From Blenheim we'll move on to Paripuma (below), a breathtakingly vast garden of emphatically European layout, but achieved using New Zealand native plants. The grand vista is an object lesson in scale and proportion, and the perfect spot for a glass of Marlborough’s finest. 

From Paripuma we head to the Awatere Valley and on to Barewood (below), one of the best English-style country gardens you’ll see anywhere! Generous, gracious lawns connected by magical avenues, as background to gorgeous colour themed plantings of roses, perennials and bulbs. Lunch on the lawn will precede a wander around with owner and creator, Carolyn Ferraby.

Gardens: Robin Robinson’s Garden, Paripuma & Barewood

Meals included: Lunch at Barewood

Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough, Blenheim

Freetime: Evening


DAY 5 | Wednesday 20th November

Today we farewell Blenheim and head south along the coast to Winterhome (below), a garden of formal, interconnecting vistas that leaves you gasping at the vision and sense of scale of its creator. The ocean views are spectacular, but the garden views are even better! 

We'll then lunch at Kekerengu's renowned 'The Store', before the spectacular drive back to the Christchurch.

Gardens: Winterhome

Meals included: Lunch at The Store, Kekerengu

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza, Christchurch

Freetime: Evening


DAY 6 | Thursday 21st November

Our first stop today is a tiny city garden in which gardener and writer Robyn Kilty (below) is very obviously having a lot of fun! Colours used in the garden appear on house doors and windows, so that the two are in perfect chromatic unity!

A lunch stop in scenic Akaroa is followed by our final garden visit of the day, Fisherman’s Bay (below). A garden very much of its site, and a site like no other! The views of the coastline are epic, and the garden makes a perfect foreground. Other, more enclosed parts of the garden play with showy perennials in both traditional herbaceous border form and naturalistic settings.

Gardens: Robyn Kilty’s Garden & Fisherman’s Bay Garden

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza, Christchurch

Freetime: Evening

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DAY 7 | Friday 22nd November

Frensham (below), our first garden of the day, is a one of extraordinary finesse.  Roses, peonies and perennials, along with choice flowering shrubs and trees, are set in a framework that explores every spatial opportunity, from wide, gracious lawns, to narrow woodland paths, to long, climber-laden pergolas. 

And then to the remarkable Trott’s garden (below).  Alan Trott's mind-blowing garden was recently handed over to a trust, but his incredible vision remains. It’s hard to believe that one person can achieve such a garden in a single lifetime! The herbaceous borders are outstanding, as are the knot gardens. And then there’s the woodland garden!

Our penultimate day of the tour will conclude with dinner in Christchurch where we’ll take the time to reminisce about a week we’ll never forget.

Gardens: Frensham Garden & Trott’s Garden

Meals included: Dinner in Christchurch

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza, Christchurch

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DAY 8 | Saturday 23rd November

We conclude the tour with a fitting finale in the outskirts of Christchurch - Broadfields New Zealand Landscape Garden. Created by David Hobb with the goal of creating a truly New Zealand garden, the design results in many vistas and rooms, and reveals the power of good design to showcase an astonishing diversity of foliage colour, foliage texture and form in the NZ flora. Then we'll head back into Christchurch by 1pm, and make our way to the airport, or to further travels!

Garden: Broadfield’s New Zealand Landscape Garden

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