Gardens of Innovation created for
The Wellington Botanic Garden

The Wellington Botanic Garden has held a competition each year for the innovative design & use of plants. Our designs have won on two occassions, and installed at the main entrance gates of the Gardens for a year.


Koru Parterre - winning design 2010/11


The koru is one of the most widely used symbols in Maori art and culture, and it has become a national icon in its many different forms. It resembles an unfurling fern frond and generally symbolises new life, growth and strength.

Garden designer Rachael Matthews
Koru Parterre garden of innovation
Koru inspired by Gordon Walters
Koru parterre in NZ native plants
NZ native black Manuka
Lophomyrtus Little Star
Succulent detailing
Kowhaiwhai inspired spiral
Silver Fern at the centre
Koru Parterre - 3 gardens of koru
Koru symbolises strength & growth
Wellington Botanic Garden
Pakura Spiral
Black Mondo & Brown Flax
Installed Wellington Botanic Garden
Pakura Spiral
Inspiration from taonga at Te Papa

Three forms of the koru are planted in a contemporary and local take on European parterres, which are flat, patterned gardens usually planted in hedges.


On the left: “Pakura Spiral”, is based on a traditional carved pattern of two interlocking spiral koru, planted here in double rows of black mondo grass and a centre line of Flax Phormium "Surfer Bronze".


In the middle: “Koru Reworked” is inspired by painter Gordon Walter’s contemporary interpretations of the koru. The unfurling koru are planted in black manuka Leptospermum "Wiri Kerry" and red myrtle Lophomyrtus "Little Star".


On the right: “Ponga/Silver Fern” is based on kowhaiwhai, which are traditional rafter and barge board paintings. The koru spiral is planted in native green Corokia "Pip Squeak", with a silver fern Cyathea dealbata at its centre symbolising growth and strength.


Inspiration for this design came from the national collections of koru at Mana Whenua, Te Papa Tongarewa - The Museum of New Zealand, Wellington.


Ruby Necklace - winning design 2006/07


Ruby Necklace was a fanciful design to compliment Wellington's annual festival of the World of Wearable Arts. Imagine a necklace of giant Coprosma rubies dripping with diamonds and draped around the neck of the Garden's Grand Dame Norfolk Pine.


Ruby Necklace garden of jewels
Wellington Botanic Gardens
Necklace of ruby red jewels
Wire domes of ruby clematis montana
Red coprosma topiary domes
Inspired by World of Wearable Arts

“Ruby Necklace, the winning design layout for the Botanic Garden’s Innovative Garden competition ... proved a great success with its emphasis on red coprosma “rubies” set in circles of variegated agapanthus against a background of bright green foliage dripping with tiny white diamonds,” reported Bethney McLennan, gardening features writer for The Dominion Post and a judge of the garden design competition.

Read about:
Garden of Innovation
Read about:
The Jewels in our Ground
Planting design
& advice
Balls & domes
NZ native topiary
Wide range of:
hedges - just ask
Strappy plants:
Flax & Mondo Grass
Gone to Seed
gold medal vege
City of Sails
gold for Auckland
Show More

© 2004 -2021 Wellington Nurseries Limited trading as HEDGE Garden Design & Nursery

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Pinterest - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle