Flaxmere 5 Stars - New Zealand Garden Trust
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Flaxmere is part of Hurunui Gardens
Relax and be inspired by wonderful vistas that connect you with nature and the rhythm of life, in a garden for all seasons!

Garden History

Over 50 years ago on a North Canterbury sheep farm, the garden at Flaxmere was established, boldly designed to frame breath taking mountain vistas, and create sense of tranquillity with a series of ponds.

Situated near the Southern Alps, Flaxmere has developed into a stunning example of a garden that evolves with the seasons, splendid throughout the year.

This is a large country garden based on the principles of strong design, is completely in tune with the terraced riverbed country the garden is part of. Flaxmere's vistas have been described as 'art forms'.

Immense use of water creating a series of five ponds, gives a sense of enormous peace, and ensures wonderful bird life. Heavy old bridge timbers have been used and stone walls have been built over the years which add to the country style. This is a garden that has most things, formal, informal, extensive area of New Zealand native plants, woodlands, roses, rhododendrons and water.

Flaxmere has been made a Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Garden Trust, which is affiliated to the Royal Institute of Horticulture.

Visitors from around the world have been welcomed for many years.

Flaxmere Garden History

Art in a Garden

Art in a garden is an annual exhibition held every year towards the end of October & the beginning of November. The garden is leased exclusively for 4 days for the event now run by Laura Forbes.

The event celebrates the combination of New Zealand artworks in Flaxmere’s garden gallery, and restored 1890 barn gallery. Sculptures are placed within the ethereal vistas , and paintings ceramics glass & jewellery in the barn gallery. The aim is for the very best environment to enhance inspiration enjoyment & sales.

Art in a Garden has developed into a wonderful day out for not only those interested in the art but for families who wish their children become interested in the creative world. Live music and a streamside café add to the days with a relaxed and unhurried feel.

Tickets can be purchased online in the months leading up to the event at www.artinagarden.co.nz


Garden Tours

A garden that is breathtakingly bold in its design, Flaxmere reflects the change of seasons with each spelling its own magic.

Groups & FIT travellers are welcome. Bookings are essential. Morning & Afternoon tea, lunches as well as guided tours with Penny Zino are available upon request.


September - November

Thousands of daffodils and an abundance of flowering cherry trees, create the essence of spring. Masses of primula candelabra, rhododendrons, azaleas, tulips, blue bells, and clematis follow in October and November.


December - February

Roses everywhere herald the summer and combined with the water irises and lilies make the garden look its unforgettable best in early December.


March - May

Flaxmere was planted with autumn colour in mind. Mid April - mid May is a blaze of reds, oranges and yellows, providing a flamboyant flourish before winter sets in.


June - August

The bones of the garden become apparent, and it is Ikebana time. Set against the background of the snow covered Southern Alps it is Penny's favourite time. There is a peacefulness that belies a year's toil; and the garden is asleep.

A slice of New Zealand

Native Plantings at Flaxmere

New Zealand indigenous plantings at Flaxmere surround a large pond with a vista to Mt Te Koa.

This is a very different part of the garden which strikes a point of difference. It is an area that all overseas visitors are particularly interested in.

Native Plantings
Imagine your special day in this secluded, romantic, country retreat.
Flaxmere Garden History


Weddings at Flaxmere are a real joy.

You are spoilt for choice for a location within the garden, different areas offering wonderful opportunities to create your own exclusive garden wedding.

It is a photographer’s dream, vistas of countryside complete with rustic gates, an arched bridge, brick pathways, stone walls and flowers to suit the seasons.

This is a venue where you can use all your creative talents to make this day your own, amongst Idyllic surroundings with stunning mountainous backdrops.

Whether it be a small intimate wedding or a large gathering, Flaxmere can cater for all occasions.

Photography By: Tracy Alsop

There is something incredibly special about Flaxmere Garden, not only is it visually stunning, but Penny Zino was more than helpful and accommodating. Always welcoming & open to all our ideas, we could not have chosen a better venue.

Beks Raiwali - Chritschurch
Flaxmere Gardens is the perfect wedding venue. The garden itself is amazing with different themes, and on a summer’s day, there is no better place to be. There is a cottage to stay for preparing and guests are welcome to camp the night which is a big relief after a party. Whether it is by the pool, next to the pond or on the hilltop, Flaxmere is a venue that you and your guests will never forget.

Maurice Wills - Kyrgyzstan
We loved Flaxmere so much that both our daughters were married there: one in a storm and one on a perfect summer’s day. In both cases the location was unbelievably romantic and secluded. It is a truly wonderful place for photography, the bridal party can be filmed in a lush garden setting or a beautiful Canterbury farm scene. Penny Zino the owner and host of Flaxmere, was unfailingly organised, perceptive and felt like a family friend to us. Honestly it is perfection if you are looking for beauty, privacy and space for guests to gather. The marquee looked gorgeous in its surroundings, finishing off a perfect day.

Nicola L. - Christchurch

Flaxmere Cottage

A cottage is available for rent to those wishing to relax within the magical gardens of Flaxmere, or those wishing to have space to prepare for, and celebrate on that special day.

Flaxmere's Cottage is wonderfully set on the edge of a pond within the garden and presents:

  • 2 bedrooms, with room to sleep 4
  • Open plan kitchen dinning and livingroom
  • Wood burner
  • Private bathroom
  • Sunny veranda with outside table and chairs
  • Free wifi

Flaxmere is close to superb fishing on the Hurunui River and is only 1 hour from Christchurch International Airport.

We would love you to come and enjoy the absolute quietness of this beautiful part of the world to gain a sense of peace amongst the wonderful bird life.


Visitor Information

Well Renowned

Flaxmere has been selected by the NZ Garden Trust as a Garden of National Significance, and has been given a rating of five stars


Flaxmere Garden is just 10km from Harwarden.

It is a short detour enroute to Hanmer Springs from Christchurch, or a short detour enroute to Kaikoura via the Inland or Leader Roads.


Penny is available for guided tours on request.

Morning and afternoon tea, as well as lunch can also be provided with prior arrangement.

Useful Information


Cheltenham House


Country Stay Motels B&B, Waikari

Phone: (03) 314-4931

Drifters Inn, Hanmer Springs


Bentleys Country Stay

Phone: (03) 314-4144 or 0274 311222

Keretu Downs

Phone: (03) 314-4584


Judy and John McMillan, Glenlea Waikari.
Email: johnandjudy@xtra.co.nz
Phone: (03) 314-4149

Hanmer Holiday Homes


Heritage Hanmer Springs

Freephone: 0800 368 888

House in Waikari
to sleep 6

Phone: Kate Calder 03 3144260

Hurunui River Retreat

Phone: (03) 414-4554

Hurunui Village Cottages

Freephone: 0508 487 868
Email: info@hurunuivillage.com

Village Lake


Woodgrove Homestead
Luxury B&B, Hawarden

Phone: (03) 314-4407


Warm Cosy Modern Country
Woolshed Hurunui



Spa Lodge at Hanmer Springs


Marquee & Hire companies



Hyde Park Hire


Johnson & Couzins Hire


Peter May


Kiwitipi Rentals Ltd

Hayden Doel
Phone: (03) 349-5823 or 021 0283 1428
Email: hayden@kiwitipi.co.nz


Country Feasts


Lizzies Cuisine


Verve Catering


Victoria Food Service


White Tie Catering



Film & Live stream


Grant Mangin

Phone: 027 435 9422
Email: enquires@liveview.co.nz

This beautiful garden is a joy to visit, designed with a balance of formal and romantic elements, and superbly planted with a glorious array of native and exotic plants. It combines expectation with surprise, each area entices you to explore the next, and all the time you are aware of the magnificent scenery beyond the garden. Penny Zino is a warm and welcoming hostess, a great communicator and a gardener who loves to share her garden and extensive gardening knowledge acquired over many years. I took a group from Renaissance Tours (Sydney) as part of a tour of New Zealand gardens in 2013 and Flaxmere was voted a highlight by everyone.

Fiona Ogilvie - garden writer, The Land NSW


Open by appointment only. Bookings are essential.

Flaxmere is situated off Lake Sumner Rd. Just follow the signs from Hawarden.

If travelling from the south, Turn off at Waikari and follow this route.

If travelling from the north, Turn off the highway at Hawarden Hurunui Rd and follow this route.


Contact Penny Zino
Phone: +64 (3) 3144504
Fax: +64 (3) 3144493


128 Westenras Road,
Hawarden 7385,
North Canterbury