There are numerous flowering gardens within the Christchurch Botanic Gardens ranging in size, theme and design.

Annual bedding displays

Spectacular formal spring and summer bedding displays have been a feature of the Armstrong Lawn since the late 19th century. 

At that time such displays were at their height in landscape fashion during the Victorian era.

Annual plants complete their life cycle within one year. Biennials, herbaceous perennials and standardised shrubs are also used in the displays providing additional colour, height, form, texture and scent.

Summer 2024  
Abutilon ‘Ashford Red’
Alternanthera ‘Purple Prince’

‘Megawatt Bronze Leaf Pink’

‘BabyWing Bronze Leaf White’

‘Megawatt Green Leaf Red’

‘Dragon Wing Pink’


‘Can Can Scarlet’


‘New Look’

‘Fresh Look Mix’



‘Silver Dust’


'Sparkler Mixed


‘Premium Sun Pineapple Surprise’


'Cosmic Yellow'


‘Diablo Dwarf Mix’


'Sparkle White'



Limonium perezii



‘Starship Blue’

‘Starship Bronze Leaf Scarlet’

‘Starship Rose’

Lorapetalum cv.



‘Coco Orange’

'Whitegold Max'

‘Coco Gold’





‘Arabesque Red’

Rudbeckia  ‘Prairie Sun’

‘Victoria Blue’

‘Patio Deep Blue’


Salvia mexicana


Scabiosa ‘Imperial Mixed’



Azalea and Magnolia Garden

magnolia and azalea gardenNorth of the Water Garden and nestled beneath a canopy of mature oaks and silver birches is the Azalea Garden.

In addition to the azaleas and equally well established is the large and impressive collection of magnolias. The azaleas flower for around a month from mid-October. 

Sculptured magnolia flowers enhance the spring display in this garden.

Central Rose Garden

Central rose gardenThe Central Rose Garden is formal in design and ideally situated near the conservatories in a sunny, sheltered site away from large trees. This garden contains cultivars and hybrids of modern garden roses including bush, climbing, standard and miniature roses.

The original Rose Garden was established in 1909 and at that time was considered the largest and finest in Australasia. Rectangular in shape, the design was based on the rose garden owned by the Duchess of Sutherland in Herefordshire, England.


Fragrant Garden

Fragrant garden for vision impaired visitorsNestled comfortably on the southwest aspect of the conservatory complex, this area of the Gardens gets good protection from prevailing winds. It was established in 1990 as a sesquicentennial year project with significant financial support from women's organisations around Canterbury.

As a garden developed around the sense of smell, it is a special place for those with vision impairment. The layout reflects this and a series of wide paths, raised planters and structures for climbers offer safe, easy access while providing excellent conditions for a wide range of fragrant trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and bulbs.

Herb Garden

Herb gardenThe Herb Garden opened in 1987 and has an extensive collection of annual, biennial and perennial herbs grown for a variety of medicinal and culinary uses.

Originally located where the Visitor Centre is now situated, it has been moved to neighbour the demonstration garden behind the Curator's House. The chefs at the Curator's House restaurant use these herbs for their Spanish themed cuisine.

Herbaceous Border

Herbaceous BorderBelieved to be the longest herbaceous border in a public garden in the Southern Hemisphere, the Herbaceous Border was developed in the early 1920s.

The length and depth of the Border allows for colours to layer and merge together in interesting ways, showing the mass effect of herbaceous perennials suited to a Canterbury garden. A rich tapestry of colour, texture and sweet smells, the Border is carefully arranged with a selection of early, mid-season and late varieties to create the impressive display of contrasting shapes and heights. It is best seen from December through to February when the Border is in its peak. 

Heritage Rose Garden

Heritage Rose GardenThe Heritage Rose Garden near Christchurch Hospital has been a special part of the Gardens since the early 1950s. It was remodelled in 1999 to provide for a larger collection of plants, together with structures for rose supports and seating areas from which to enjoy the displays.

It contains an extensive collection of modern, old garden and wild roses underplanted with herbaceous perennials which provide a glorious display throughout November and December. These roses are noted for their plant form, scent and the multitude of colourful rosehips which are produced during autumn.

Temperate Asian Border

The Temperate Asian Collection is a long border which runs between the Archery Lawn and the Avon River. This collection features trees and shrubs from countries as diverse as China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Species selected are from temperate parts of the Asian continent that would thrive in the Christchurch climate. 

Many Asian species are celebrated for their beautiful spring flowering displays, such as camellia and rhododendron, or their brilliant autumn colour, for example dogwoods and maples. In autumn a number of unusual delights are display which capture our interest, especially for their fruit.

Water Garden

Water gardenThe Water Garden is ideally situated with a backdrop of mature trees and shrubs. These plantings provide the necessary shelter from wind, but are distant enough to prevent excessive shading and root competition.

With a wide range of species, varieties and cultivars, there are suitable bog garden plants for almost any garden situation.

Curator's Garden

Curator's House Vegetable and Herb GardenDesigned as a model garden by landscape architect Dennis Preston, the Curator's Garden demonstrates a number of techniques to best utilise a small garden space. A formal vegetable garden sits in raised beds, crops are rotated seasonally, flowers companion vegetables in the potager garden and fruit trees are trained to grow in creative directions.  

Garden and restaurant staff collaborate and work together to create a sustainable environment where visitors can be inspired by the possibilities of a small garden.