An iconic emblem of New Zealand is the silver fern. (Cyathea dealbata). The Dunn Gardens tour participants who visited New Zealand gardens in November saw it often as they traveled the country. As the name suggests it is notable for the dramatic silver showing it provides when the underside of the leaf is exposed. Because it is currently spring time in New Zealand the ferns are now putting forth their fronds. In the case of the silver fern they coil both shyly and dramatically. It is unsurprisingly that the Maori name for the fronds, koru, means new life, strength, growth, and peace.
Tour participants certainly gained new life and peace from their twelve-day trip around both islands. They viewed gardens that ranged from the gloriously artistic to the gloriously funky and the group was made welcome by their creators at each one. We were consistently late leaving each, the charms of the particular Eden too strong to give up in the allotted time frame.
One of the benefits of the tour was the chance to make and renew friendships with fellow gardeners across the oceans. One of the home gardens the Dunn Gardens Tour visited was Gordon Collier’s in Taupo. He visited Seattle in 1981 and had a memorable dinner with Ed Dunn. Gordon was delighted to make the connection with us and walk memory lane.
Be warned that you may get a longer answer than you bargain for if you ask any of the tour participants about their NZ garden experience. It may be safer to go look at some of the pictures we took over the life of the trip.
The Dunn Gardens would like to thank Jo Connor who orchestrated the NZ tour on our behalf. She was unflagging and provided us with unmatched experiences.