The Tudors Have Arrived

Filled with mythical beasts and intricate knot gardens, Hamilton Gardens unveils its internationally-significant Tudor Garden on Thursday, 29 January 2015.

Peter Sergel, Hamilton Gardens Director, says this traditional garden – nestled alongside the Waikato River - reflects the fascination 16th century English aristocracy had with geometric patterns and symbolism.

“The style is also very distinctive because of the use of beasts and animals on poles, which were very common in fantasy gardens.”

The Garden adds another history-based chapter to the Hamilton Gardens award winning concept of the “story of gardens”. “There has been a lot of sponsorship for this garden and it wouldn’t have happened without that support. This includes the mythical beasts, to the Tudor pavilion that was sponsored by E.B Firth Charitable Trust,” Mr Sergel says.

Under construction for three years, the knot garden designs are based upon the drawings by Didymus Mountain – the pen-name of 16th century writer Thomas Hill.

Carved mythical beasts perch on green and white striped poles throughout the Garden and hold sculptural crests of some of the “rock stars” of Tudor times including privateer Sir Francis Drake, who was notorious for his many plunderous journeys sanctioned by Elizabeth I.

Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads destroyed many of the world’s original Tudor Gardens with neglect ruined those that remained.

There are only a handful of gardens worldwide that have fully recreated this form of fantasy garden.

The Garden is the third Fantasy Collection garden to open, and is the first of another four proposed gardens to be constructed in the next few years. It will be followed by the Concept Garden, Mansfield Garden, Picturesque Garden and Surrealist Garden.


  • A free children’s activity sheet – the Tudor Trail – will be available on the Hamilton Gardens’ website from Thursday.
  • Admission to the Tudor Garden is free.
  • There will be free tours of the Tudor Garden between Thursday, 29 January to Sunday, 1 February at 10am and 2pm daily. Meet at the Hamilton Gardens Information Centre.
  • In October 2014 Hamilton Gardens won International Garden of the Year as part of the 2014 Garden Tourism Awards held in France.


Hamilton Gardens is the Waikato’s most visited tourist attraction with more than one million visitors each year.

The Gardens has 21 themed gardens – including a Sung Dynasty Chinese Scholars Garden, an Italian Renaissance Garden and an Indian Char Bagh Garden – with more gardens being developed. Originally the site of a rubbish dump, the Gardens is now internationally recognised for its unique concept of telling the story of gardens, and civilisations including their arts, beliefs and life styles. Hamilton Gardens is also home to New Zealand’s only productive pre-European Maori garden, Te Parapara.



NAME: Ceana Priest
DESIGNATION: Marketing and Communications Executive, Hamilton Gardens
TEL (DIRECT): 07 838 6434
MOBILE: 027 808 2549

NAME: Jeff Neems
DESIGNATION: Communication Advisor, Hamilton City Council
TEL (DIRECT): 07 838 6509
MOBILE: 021 818 564