Culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and perfumed heaven, dive into the world of the Herb Garden.

Ever wondered where your favourite flavours come from? Step into the Hamilton Gardens Herb Garden and discover a fascinating world of fragrant plants used for cooking, healing, and even beauty.

A garden of plants used for centuries in medicine, cuisine, perfumes, and cosmetics. Our Herb Garden particularly showcases the herbs that were important to early European settlers to Aotearoa/New Zealand. It is laid out in a traditional design of four symmetrical beds framed with box hedging. A garden for the senses.



Free entry

Best viewed: Sep – Feb (Spring, Summer)

9.00am - 5.00pm, last entry 4.30pm

Easily accessible

Colourful blooms

An adult and a child walking through the Herb Garden at Hamilton Gardens A view through the middle of the Herb Garden at Hamilton Gardens A wide angle view of the Herb Garden at Hamilton Gardens

What you'll find in the Herb Garden

  • Discover plants used for traditional medicinal applications
  • Experience the fragrance of perfumed herbs like mint and lemongrass.

Background of the Herb Garden

Nestled amidst the diverse landscapes of Hamilton Gardens lies the Herb Garden, a treasure trove of fragrant and flavourful plants. This meticulously designed space is a feast for the senses.

The Herb Garden's layout reflects the influence of Gertrude Jekyll, a renowned 20th-century garden designer. She championed the use of bold, formal frameworks, incorporating paving and evergreens to complement the unique character of herbs, often described as "untidy and vigorous." This approach ensures the garden remains visually appealing throughout the year, although at its best during the spring and summer months.

Herbs have played a significant role in human history for centuries. In medieval times, the term "herb" encompassed all plants, cultivated or wild, believed to possess medicinal properties. From the humble stinging nettle with its diverse uses to various herbs employed for food, flavouring, and even dyes, these versatile plants were essential components of everyday life.

The 18th century witnessed a shift in terminology, with plants primarily used for culinary purposes being categorised as "vegetables," while the term "herb" came to describe other practical plants. While the medicinal use of herbs has largely shifted to modern medicine, their culinary value remains undeniable, adding depth and flavour to our dishes.

The Hamilton Gardens Herb Garden is divided into four distinct sections, each showcasing a specific aspect of herb usage:

  • Culinary: Discover essential herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme, adding a burst of flavour to your culinary creations.
  • Medicinal: Explore plants traditionally used for healing purposes, such as chamomile and lavender, offering a glimpse into historical practices.
  • Cosmetic: Delve into the world of herbs used for beauty, like calendula and rose.
  • Perfume: Learn about fragrant herbs like mint and lemongrass, employed in creating captivating perfumes, showcasing the versatility of these botanical wonders.

Hamilton Garden’s Herb Garden is a place to learn more about the herbs we use in our everyday lives.

Experience the magical world of the Herb Garden.

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