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Coromandel’s golden green
The California landscape architect says when she and her partner, Larry Knorr, came to New Zealand for a holiday, they did not intend to become the proud owners of an iconic Kiwi garden.
“We came here on a Thursday afternoon... I was sitting in the car reading the paper, all gardened out for the day, but I looked just a few steps into the garden and I said, ‘Oh Larry, come look, it’s gorgeous, and it’s for sale’,” she says.
“We returned Friday morning to see the garden (fully) for the first time, put in an offer on Monday and the owners accepted it on Tuesday... it was one of those things, we just fell in love with the place!”
Once a rocky cow paddock, Waitati Gardens on Coromandel Town’s Buffalo Road was initially transformed by Kate and Graeme Jacobsen in 1994.Today, the garden is visited by keen gardeners as it flourishes under Mary Pat’s expert, creative care. However Kate and Grahame are not far away even now..
“They live next door! They’re here all the time and they’ve become our best friends,” says Mary Pat.
Strolling through the gardens, visitors are treated to a rich tapestry of colours as the winding paths reveal treasures beautifully integrated into the natural landscape of the Coromandel bush.
Named a Garden of Distinction on the National Garden Register by Canterbury Horticultural Society, Waitati was also recently named a New Zealand Gardens Trust Garden of Significance.
“It was a significant garden before but now it’s achieved national significance. It’s an incredible honour; I was so pleased I was screaming!”
Sadly Mary Pat and Larry are now looking to move on. However, the couple is seeking new owners who will embrace their passion for this piece of paradise.
“We have had the gardens on the market for a while and we are hoping to find buyers who will love and care for it as we have,” Mary Pat says.
“New Zealand is a wonderful place to live; I just fell in love with the place and especially the people.”
Waitati Gardens is open to the public from September until May from dawn ‘til dusk and from June to August by appointment.
Admission: adults $7; children under 12, free of charge. Group tours are welcome; discounts apply.
Click here for more information; or here, to view more photos of this iconic Kiwi garden.