greenhouse interior lv openingLocated in the Auckland Domain in the center of the city, the Winter Garden is offers two huge greenhouses filled with plants and a giant fernery. One of the greenhouses is devoted to tropical plants, the other to plants of temperate zones. The finery has a fine collection of plants native to New Zealand and the surrounding areas.

The Auckland Domain is a large park and worth a visit on its own with walking trails, shade trees, duck ponds and places to enjoy the scenery.
water scene


The entrance to the Winter Garden is marked by a large brick wall.

brick entrance IMG_4340

Herbaceous borders greet the visitor.

Exterior green house with border IMG_4341

The greenhouse featuring plants of temperate zones is called the Cool House and was build in 1921. It has a lovely old world charm and is packed with plants all artfully arranged.

greenhouse interior 2 IMG_4345

I expected to see flowers and foliage, of course, but was delighted to find lots of vegetables included; plants bearing mature eggplants were especially well done.

eggplant white IMG_4347

The eggplants were paired with blooming annuals and perennials to make great combinations like these purple ones with pink petunias and purple leafed foliage plants.

eggpl purple  pk petunias IMG_4349


Here’s a combination that contrasted texture while creating a color echo.

eggplant pale purple_IMG_4353

Eggplants were not the only vegetable to be used decoratively. Ornamental peppers played a role too.

celosia red or peppers IMG_4350

Two different kinds of peppers formed this display with purple leafed, and variagated trailers and pink geraniums in the background.

peppers yel n or IMG_4362

Other eye-catching combinations included amaranthus and impatients,

Amaranthus IMG_4358


begonias IMG_4355


A collection of orchids made up a large display.

orchids en mass_IMG_4352

This one being one of the most unusual.

orchid blue_IMG_4363

A large courtyard connected the Cool House to the Tropical House with the Fernery going off on one side.

courtyard _IMG_4367

A curved pergola ran around the side.

pergola _IMG_4368

A large clump of pitcher plants grew in one moist area.

pitcher plants IMG_4370

A pool of lotuses and water lilies greeted us at the entrance into the Tropical House.

water lily pool IMG_4399

In the pond we could see the new Victoria water lily leaves coming to the surface to unfurl.

waterlily lv tight IMG_4405

Above the pool hung the exotic looking tropical pitcher plants.

hanging vine _IMG_4411

The beds in the Tropical House were filled with all kinds of unique plants including Jack fruit, the largest tree-borne fruit.

jack fruit tree IMG_4409

More familiar, and much beloved, was the chenille plant,

chenile plant_IMG_4410

And this giant staghorn fern.

saghorn fern_IMG_4413


A collection of tropical orchids enhanced a small area.

orchid collection 2_IMG_4404

Our big disappointment was the hole left by the titan arum, a plant with a flower that produces a rotting-flesh stench to attract pollinators. The sign and an empty pot were all that remained as the plant was probably dormant.

putrid plant sign IMG_4401

Entrance to the Fernery is through a gateway in the curved pergola in the courtyard between the two greenhouses.

Entrance to fernery_IMG_4372

A path leads you through the lush vegetation.

Fernery path_IMG_4376


The focus is on ferns native to New Zealand but some of these can be found in other parts of the world as well.

Mainden hair fern

Some ferns, however, are indigenous to New Zealand.


In one area is a stand of tree ferns.

tree ferns_IMG_4381

A Nikau tree, the most southerly growing palm, reaches up to the sky. Its leaves were used by the Maori for huts and baskets.

Nikau tree IMG_4386


A bamboo orchid, indigenous to New Zealand grows as an epiphyte on a bark mounting.

Bamboo archid_IMG_4391



Moss covers the rocks that edge the paths and here and there small ornaments rest on tripods.


After a good walk through the greenhouses and fernery you can stroll over and enjoy refreshments and the rose garden of the Winter Garden Pavilion.


By Karen