- NZ Gardens Trust
- Established Garden
- NZ Native Garden
- Show Garden
Over the past twenty years, Wendy Palmer and her brother Ross, an acclaimed garden designer, have collaborated to create a truly unique and inspiring garden on this historic site. It’s a garden that is full of personality and surprises – a living testament to Ross and Wendy’s eye for art and design, their shared passion for plants and above all their sense of fun.
Exploring the one hectare garden at Welton House, you’ll step through a series of enchanting landscapes that reveal an extensive, and cleverly curated, collection of native and exotic plants.
Along the way you’ll find features you might expect in a garden of this stature and provenance – mature specimen trees and heritage roses, a productive vegetable garden, herb garden and orchard, a perennial border, native woodland ...alongside the unexpected - the epiphyte orchids tucked into branches of trees, a rescued collection of cacti and succulents, and the remarkable sculptured topiary hedges. Mirroring the shapes of the Richmond Ranges beyond, these irregular, organic forms seem to nestle into each other, and into the house itself, lining the paths like dozing mythical beasts.
Although this garden is very much a contemporary garden, it’s a garden that is steeped in history. Wendy is quick to acknowledge the debt they owe to those who have cared for and cultivated this site over the centuries. Prior to European settlement, these fertile river plains provided food and resources for some of Aotearoa’s earliest inhabitants, for over 700 years. Then in the 1870s, the house was built and the beginnings of the current garden were established here, on what was an ancient elevated dune.
Welton House Garden holds a five star rating from the New Zealand Gardens Trust and has achieved the status of Garden of National Significance.
In 2001 Wendy left her life in London, and successful career as a film industry executive, to settle in rural Marlborough – to be closer to family and give her then young daughter Maia a kiwi childhood.
In this idyllic setting Wendy has pursued a new career, growing Sauvignon Blanc grapes for the local wine industry, alongside indulging her passion for nature, history and gardening. Wendy is Chair of the New Zealand Gardens Trust, a role she has undertaken with dedication and flare since 2020.
Welton House is the third garden collaboration with her brother Ross, who completed a Diploma of Horticulture at Lincoln University followed by a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Garden Design at Greenwich University. He has since gone on to build an international reputation as a garden designer. Ross makes regular trips to Welton House, to progress and supervise the new projects he always has on the go, and to add to his growing collection of epiphytes.
I’m at my happiest when I’m amidst nature – it is my own grown-up playground. Nurturing and observing plants and then seeing them thrive gives me endless joy. Sharing this with visitors is a pleasure.
Big Border Is In Full Throttle
Check out my photos on Insta @weltonhousegarden
This is one of the most interesting and exciting gardens I’ve seen. Full of the bizarre, dripping with spark and interesting plants. It’s as creative as creative should be.- Fergus Garrett, Chief Executive and Head Gardener, Great Dixter Charitable Trust
Absolutely amazing. Wendy was an inspiration. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit. 5: 5- Nancy, Blenheim