RhodoDirect Garden


The Garden

When we shifted into Spring Cottage after our wedding in 1995 there was one very ugly yew tree for a garden. Neither of us was too worried about not getting into the garden, we were young and we didn't want to have a large garden. I went to work on a perennial garden. I liked the idea of the cottage garden and filled it with gypsophlia, delphiniums, roses and other gorgeous cottage garden plants.

Craig wanted a rhododendron garden like our neighbours but we didn't have a hillside, all that we had was a little slope beside the cottage, which Craig worked up ready to plant. It was our first venture into rhododendrons and we hit a steep learning curve. The little slope is a conifer garden today because of how dry it is, it makes an exceptionally great conifer garden, it was an up hill battle with the rhododendrons for us though. We planted trees and rhododendrons at the same time and crossed our fingers. For five years this kept us busy and then we decided to build a larger home on Spring Farm because our cottage had outgrown our little family of three.

Since we are fairly new to the landscaping realm we asked Ben McMaster to come and give us a hand. I asked Ben to create a feature from our lounge room window and he designed a formal pond. Ben also designed us a lovely pergola and recommended ornamental grape vine to grow over it. We put in lots of buxus beds and filled them with mass plantings of heuchara, mop tops and other formal plants.

We have found woodland gardens to be very manageable and have opted to minimise our use of perennials because of the work that they require to keep them looking good. We use buxus to create borders and have planted plenty of trees to provide shade for the 800+ rhododendrons that live here.

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The Gardener

Owners Marina and Craig Shearer decided to specialise in Rhododendrons in 2007 and RhodoDirect went online. Business has been great since that decision was made and RhodoDirect is now one of NZ's largest online specialist nurseries.
Craig is a carer of all things living. For 30 years he has been caring for sheep and cattle, rhododendrons came a little later.
Marina is most likely the person who will answer the phone when you call, and your emails when you write. With over 20 years in customer service, Marina is very passionate about serving people.


Garden Details

232 Rotherham Road, North Canterbury 7379.
Take the main road to Amberley, turn left at Waipara towards Hanmer Springs. Drive through Culverden, about 1km out of Culverden is a turn to the right sign posted 'Rotherham', 'Waiau', 'Kaikoura'. Turn right and as you go around the corner put on your trip meter, we are 17km down this road. The sign at the gate says "Rhodo Direct". We are the next property after the golf club - if you get to the Waiau Bridge you have gone too far.
0800 315 6555 027 591 6555
Contact Person
RhodoDirect garden is open by appointment throughout the year but is closed on Saturdays.
Garden Size
The farm is 57ha, with 2ha of rhododendron gardens and nursery.
$5 per person in October/November, Gold Coin Donation for other months of the year.
Brochure Available?
We have a Rhododendron Catalogue.
We have off street parking for buses coaches and cars.
Our toilet is not wheelchair friendly - however there is one in Waiau, which is a 2min drive from our property.
Food Available
We do offer catering for groups of 10 or more. We offer high tea in the cottage at $25 pp or a lovely boxed lunch for $15 pp.
By arrangement. We can cater for large groups.
By arrangement (please contact us to ask first) as it will depend on whether we already have a large group visiting on that day.
Wheelchair Access
The garden is flat but it is hard work pushing a wheelchair around the gardens.
Dogs Allowed
No!! as this is a working sheep/beef/dairy farm and non working farm dogs are not able to released from the car.
Children Allowed
Yes, but please supervise at all times.
We will be doing weddings in the future.
Plants/Other Sales
Marina’s core online business, RhodoDirect began as a garden centre that relied initially on gate sales. Marina made the decision to move her business further by going from a general garden centre to a specialist Rhododendron nursery and by opening an online shop.