The borders surrounding Hinemihi now contain a collection of plants native to New Zealand and include the tree fern Dicksonia fibrosa, named after the nurseryman James Dickson. Also known as golden tree fern or woolly tree fern because of the fibrous nature of its trunk, it has Maori names of Wheki Ponga and Kuripaka. The fern can grow up to six metres high and form a canopy two metres wide. When the fronds are young they are coiled into a spiral. The Maori name for this shape is a koru and can be seen in many Maori designs, including the carvings on Hinemihi.
The parterre garden
A parterre is a type of formal garden. Typically they consist of planting beds containing floral displays within clipped hedges, symmetrically divided by gravel pathways. Parterres evolved from knot gardens which were popular in the Tudor period. Throughout the 17th century Baroque parterres became ever more elaborate, the peak of which is considered to be Versailles.
Garden designers George London and Henry Wise developed an English style of parterre influenced by European baroque gardens. Their work could be seen in Knyff’s landscape painting of 1708. At that time the area of the garden that now houses the parterre was a bowling lawn. The rest of the garden consisted of a formal layout. Over the years the bowling lawn became a lawn and then a formal bed.