The Garden

Homebush is a unique tourist destination west of Christchurch New Zealand offering a country experience of our nations history and culture. 

The extensive garden was first planted out in the early 1850's and has been developed by the Deans family over the last 160 years. The magnificent trees were planted very early and provide a frame for the sweeping lawns. Many of the trees are registered in the local ordinances and are recorded in books of nationally and internationally significant trees. The avenue of atlantic cedars up the driveway were planted in 1913.
In the 1920's and 30's James Deans planted over a thousand different species of rhododendrons under the trees in the style of Bodnant in Northern Wales. They make a spectacular show in spring.
The circular orchard is an interesting and rare feature of the garden. It was planted out in holly in the early 1850's as a sheltered vegetable garden and tree nursery. Now it has old roses and different varieties of fruit trees and bushes. 

For more details or accommodation recommendations - email cfechney@xtra.co.nz



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The Gardener

Am I a gardener? I think that this garden turned me into a gardener rather than me creating the garden. When we came to live at Homebush in 1981 I had four small children, a very large house to look after and no money. For the first years I concentrated on the children, then on the house. By this time the garden was in desperate need of resuscitation and so was I and so we created a partnership, the garden and me. It was something akin to the garden of Heligan then. I wanted to bare it back to its bones to see what the original design was and the vision that lay there somewhere, buried. For twelve years we sawed and hacked and pushed back and back until we began to get a glimpse of the original design. The answer to the question is no, I am not a gardener but I have been given the stewardship of this beautiful garden which has been in the family for 160 years. I have been assisted by experts and professionals who have pointed me in the right direction. I have had to learn about trees and plants, about landscaping and about planting. And about hard work. I always saw myself as a creator rather then a maintainer, but the pleasure has come with knowing my roses and rhodies as old friends. Was it all worth it? A resounding yes because now this is the most beautiful garden in the world!



Garden Details

Homebush is located 56 kms or 45 minutes west of Christchurch.

From Christchurch State Highway 73 takes the visitor along the main west road through the small Canterbury towns of West Melton, Kirwee and Darfield. At the end of Darfield turn left onto State Highway 72/77, the Inland Scenic Route. Homebush is 8 kms from Darfield and is well sign-posted.

From Arthurs Pass Take State High 73 until pass through Waddington. Take the first road on the right, Deans Road turning right on to Homebush Road. Homebush is sign posted on the right approx 1km.

Enjoy the countryside and views of the Southern Alps.
louise.deans@xtra.co.nz cfechney@xtra.co.nz
03 3182 785 or 03 3181 669 Cell phone: 027 2709055
Contact Person
Louise Deans or Chris Fechney.
We take group bookings by arrangement. It is essential to book before you come.
Garden Size
It is a working farm of 1350 acres with 250 acres planted in trees.
Eight acres of rambling garden and massive trees. Allow 1-2 hours for your visit.
$15 per person. Children free.
Brochure Available?
Yes we are happy to mail that out to you.
Off street parking for buses coaches and cars
Cafe/Resaurant Available
The Swingletree Cafe has great character with high beams and polished kauri floor and brick walls and antique tables and chairs. The caterers, “Country Feasts”, provide absolutely scrumptious morning or afternoon tea and lunch for guests.
There are many areas around the grounds to sit and enjoy.
Yes we are happy for you to bring your own picnic.
Wheelchair Access
Yes we are wheelchair friendly.
Dogs Allowed
No dogs thank you, please leave them in the car.
Children Allowed
Yes but adults please supervise.
No, however we are happy to recommend accommodation in the area.
Plants/Other Sales
In the old Stables workshop is the shop which stocks authentic and natural New Zealand made goods including merino possum garments and accessories, mohair rugs, woollen scarves, hand creams and woodware. Many items are hand-made with New Zealand yarns which are also available to purchase.
There are gifts to take home with you. A postal service is available.
Please go to gift shop page for more information.
Guided Tours
The tour includes a garden walk through magnificent trees, rhododendrons and roses, a talk about the Deans family who were the first settlers on the Canterbury plains and a sheep sharing demonstration.

Sheep shearing and a working farm dog display are available on request.
We can even provide a vintage car display!
Other Facilities
The museum is housed in different areas of the beautiful brick stables building. There is plenty to interest everyone since the displays cover the full spectrum of country life from early horsedrawn machinery, early petrol-driven engines, light industrial, military, sporting and domestic artifacts. Of special interest is the 4 tonne Ruston motor which was used in the coalmine in the hills and the 1905 Originals All Blacks memorabilia of Bob Deans who lived and worked at Homebush. 

Also of great interest is the unique water turbine, still in working order, with a patent date of 1859 made in Dayton Ohio and installed at Homebush in 1879.