Back in 2004 designers Kim Jarrett, Lyonel Grant, Trish and Doug Waugh brought a slice of New Zealand botany to the Chelsea Flower Show. The garden titled ‘100% New Zealand- Ora Garden of Wellbeing’ was inspired by mythology and geology.
The exhibit won gold, and then in 2006 was reconstructed at the Taupo Museum back in New Zealand. Recently, (2008), the New Zealand Garden Trust selected Ora as one of its prestigious Gardens of National Significance. The design of the garden is a fascinating lesson in New Zealand culture and reflects the spirituality and mystery of the sacred mountain Ngongataha, which overlooks the geothermal city of Rotorua. Every feature of the garden has a meaning tied to the past or the present.
According to Maori legend, Mt Ngongataha is the home of the Patupaiarehe – a mythical tribe of forest guardians who love to play music and carve artworks. When the mountain is shrouded in mist, it is said that the Patupaiarehe are at work.
The Taupo museum had created an excellent interactive online version of the garden so if you want to make a visit but can’t get to NZ, you can learn about the unique features.
Grand Pacific is running an interesting tour that is 12 days of garden visits in NZ and includes the Ora Garden among an interesting and exciting collection of others.